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1914–1917 Conflict in Europe—America’s Business

George Wharton Edwards. The Belfry; Bergues. Vanished Towers and Chimes of Flanders, 1916. Greenwich Historical Society, William E. Finch, Jr. Archives, Gift of Edmund Hecklau.



Bonds Through Art and Culture

The cross-cultural ties between the United States and France were strong in artistic and literary circles. Charitable groups formed, raising funds for civilian relief and disseminating firsthand reports of the suffering and losses caused by the War. Organizations, such as the Greenwich College Women's Club and the Greenwich Chapter of Alliance Française, also moved quickly to support relief efforts and educate about the situation in France and Belgium.

George Wharton Edwards.
Bain News Service.


Surviving the ancient wars and revolutions in this, “the Cockpit of Europe,” the great examples of architecture of the early days of France remained for our delight. The corroding fingers of time, it is true, were much more merciful to them, but certainly the destroyers of old never ventured to commit the crimes upon them now charged against the legions of the present invader. These fair towns of Picardy and Champagne are sacked, pillaged and burned even as were the beautiful Flemish towns of Ypres, Malines, Termonde, Dixmude, and Dinant on the Meuse…
—Foreword to Vanished Halls and Cathedrals of France
   George Wharton Edwards, Greenwich, Conn., May 1917


George Wharton Edwards, who had studied in Paris and Antwerp before coming to Greenwich in 1912, was well known for writing and illustrating travel books. During the War, he drew on his early drawings and created volumes commemorating the French and Belgian art and architecture that had been destroyed. In 1915 he was among those who donated rare books for sale at the Authors Club in New York to benefit Belgian refugees.