World War II was over. Field Service drivers were for the most part back in the United States. For some the return was easy, for others difficult, and still others never quite made the necessary readjustments and were unable to pick up their old lives or to start new careers.
For many, however, there was a bond holding them to the organization with which they had been associated under such special circumstances. For some of these it took the form of wanting to perpetuate the friendships and personal associations through a kind of club or other social organization. This had been done before. Between the two World Wars, drivers had kept in touch with each other and with the Field Service as an organization, chiefly through newsletters and meetings.
Others felt the need for a program. Between the World Wars the Field Service had conducted a program of international fellowships called the French Fellowships, and this program would function again, but under a separate establishment.
A reunion of drivers was arranged for September of 1946 in New York City. On the morning of September 28, about 250 members gathered at a meeting to decide the future of the American Field Service. (More than 600 had actually come for the festivities, including a party at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel). At the meeting three decisions were reached: to continue AFS as a permanent organization, to establish a clubhouse for its members, and to start an exchange of scholarships with foreign countries. In retrospect this seems a masterly decision, with something for everybody. Such was the beginning of the new AFS International Scholarships (AFSIS). A charter and by-laws (1) for the American Field Service, Inc. were drawn up, solicitation of funds began, a new office was established at 30 East 51st Street, and a much reduced staff took over the new venture--a staff consisting of Steve Galatti, Dot Field, Bill Hooton, Antoinette Irving, Lilian S. Gordon, Lucy De Maine, and Joan Belmont.
There is no better way to describe the events preceding the initiation of the AFSIS program than to quote the following memorandum in its entirety:
I am not going to attempt to give you a word for word report of the meeting held at the Pierre Hotel on Saturday, September 28, 1946, for the reason that it would be too lengthy and I doubt that you would be interested in each and every word. I'll just tell you what happened, and the resolutions that were proposed and adopted are all together, which is the easiest way of presenting them.
There were over two hundred AFSers present and Mr. Galatti presided. He gave a brief resume of the way the AFS functioned after the first World War. At that time, there was a large sum of money in the Treasury and several members of the Service, including A. Piatt Andrew, its founder, applied to the Courts and had this money turned over to The American Field Service Fellowships in French Universities. Inasmuch as the Field Service served only the French in World War I, the funds on hand had to be used for France. These fellowships continued from 1919 through 1939, when World War II broke out. During the war, there were, of course, no scholarships awarded, but they have now started again and six French students are studying under them in this country. Also three AFS men--Mac Long, Charlie Johnson and Waring Hopkins--have left for France to study in the University of Paris under this Exchange Student system. However, the cessation of hostilities in the second World War left the AFS with no money in the Treasury because of a different system of operating under various Governmental Agencies and the National War Fund. During the early days of the War, as you know, we raised our own funds from the public, but in 1944, the AFS became one of the member agencies of the National War Fund, and we could no longer raise our own money. Each month a budget of our needs was submitted to the NWF and it, in turn, allotted the money required. They have now allowed us the sum of $30,000 to wind up the affairs of our war days. This money, however, cannot be used for any other purpose.
Shortly after the war ended, Mr. Galatti appealed to some friends of the AFS and collected the sum of $10,959.28, which was to be used as a fund to help some of the AFSers who wanted to continue their education, but who had no means of doing this without some financial aid. To this time, this small fund has helped some 28 AFSers and the amount disbursed is $8,655.93, leaving a balance of $2,303.35. However, the money can be used for no other purpose than the one for which it was collected, and it will be used in this way until it is exhausted.
If the AFS is to continue to function, it should have a peace time project, and Mr. Galatti stated that it was his feeling that the Exchange of Students under a scholarship system should be the first project of the AFS. These fellowships would not be only between the United States and France, but they would be between all countries. The State Department has approved of this project and if the members of the AFS are in favor of it, it can be started. Mr. Galatti pointed out that this project need be only one of other projects that the AFS might be able to undertake through the post-war years, but it would give a very real reason for peace time activities. He further pointed out that it would keep the AFS in business and that if we were in business, and doing a job, other fields would open, as they did during the war. In 1940, the AFS was operating in France. France fell and most War Relief Agencies helping this country closed their doors. The AFS did not. It raised money for the American Eagle Club of London, which was in no way the work of the AFS, but by doing this job, we stayed in business and were ready to operate when the British asked for our services in the Middle East. If once the doors are closed and the staff disorganized, it is impossible to start up again should an emergency arise. The early days of 1940 proved this. We went into this war with no money in the treasury and no organization and in the beginning the going was very hard. The Exchange of Students would hold us together as an organization.
Some time ago, Mr. Galatti wrote to the AFSers of World War I, and asked each of them to contribute the sum of $100, which could be used as an Endowment Fund. From these men, we have received the sum of $13,252.27. This money is technically "free money" and can be used to help the AFS get started on its new project. However, at the moment, these funds are in a holding account and cannot be used until the Articles of Incorporation are approved. No new money can be solicited until this procedure has been complied with. So, you can see that the most important thing at the moment is for the AFS to be incorporated in order to get started. Funds must be available to keep the office running and to pay the postage, printing, and other expenses which occur in the operation of any business. Just for example take the Newsletter---we cannot keep this going with the funds allotted to us by the National War Fund. This is a postwar activity and must come out of the funds of the Incorporated American Field Service.
There was a long discussion on the floor of the meeting as it was felt that the Articles of Incorporation should be sent to every member---both new and old---of the AFS and that each member should be given thirty days to look them over and acknowledge them. The present membership is some 3,500 widely scattered AFSers. A good many of them are in Europe, England, India and other far points. To send the Articles of Incorporation and wait for the replies of these AFSers would take months. In the meantime, the AFS would have to close its doors and hope that when everyone had replied, it could gather up the staff and start. The Articles of Incorporation are nothing more than a few people signifying their intention to incorporate. The By-Laws of an organization are what runs it and it is the By-Laws that should be acknowledged. So that all of you will have a clear picture of what this is all about, you will find attached a copy of the Articles of Incorporation and a copy of the proposed By-Laws. When reading both of these documents, you must keep in mind that everything done at this time is done on a temporary basis, merely to help the AFS get started on its first project---Exchange of Scholarships---and that either or both of these documents can be amended or changed.
Everyone at the meeting was in favor of the AFS having a permanent Clubhouse in New York City. As you know, we have been asking the members of the AFS in World War II to give the sum of $25.00 toward this project. To date, we have collected the sum of $10,290.15. Those funds will be held until such time as a house is secured and work can be started. They cannot be used for any other purpose and every effort will be made to get this project under way as quickly as possible. We are, of course, hoping we can secure the building on 51st Street, which has a great deal of sentimental value for the AFS and could be converted into a very fine dub. However, we will not know about this for awhile but will keep you posted. In order to have a Club, you must comply with all the laws of the City of New York, and there again you cannot go ahead with this project until the Articles of Incorporation have been finally approved by the Court and the Secretary of State of New York.
The meeting on Saturday was adjourned about 1:00 pm., and everyone went off to the luncheons.
And now to bring you up to date on what has happened since the meeting of September 28th.
On October 3rd, 1946, at 5:00 p.m. in the American Field Service House, 30 East 51st Street, the temporary Executive Committee of the AFS met. At this meeting the following members were present:
|Clarence Mitchell |
|Chauncey Ives |
Mr. Galatti acted as Chairman of the meeting.
Mr. Mitchell, the attorney for the AFS, presented the proposed Articles of Incorporation which he had drawn up for approval. These were read aloud section by section and the meeting was then thrown open to a general discussion of each item. Each member of the Committee present carefully went over each article, and the copy attached hereto is the way the Articles of Incorporation were finally approved by the Committee.
A long discussion then ensued about sending them out to the membership of the AFS for approval. It was the consensus of opinion that Clarence Mitchell present the Articles of Incorporation to the Court for approval, and for subsequent filing with the Secretary of New York.
The By-Laws were then presented as drawn. After the reading of this document, the meeting was thrown open to a general discussion and as there were many proposed changes, it was decided that Counsel should have the proposed changes made for presentation at a future meeting.
This meeting was adjourned at 7:30 pm.
On November 20, 1946, at 5:00 p.m., at the American Field Service House, 30 East 51st Street, the temporary Executive Committee of the American Field Service met. At this meeting the following members were present:
C. Mathews Dick
William H. Wallace
|John Harmon |
|Don Coster |
Mr. Preston Lockwood, although not a member of the Committee but an old AFSer and an attorney, was present in the place of Clarence Mitchell, who was ill.
Stephen Galatti acted as Chairman.
Before the business meeting started, the tickets were drawn on the whiskey which was donated to the AFS. All the stubs were put into a hat and each member of the Committee shuffled the tickets thoroughly. Mr. Wallace then held the hat above John Harmon's head and, reaching up, John drew a ticket. The scotch was won by Allen Sykes on ticket #197. The same procedure was followed with the tickets on the rye and this was won by Charles LaFlamme on ticket #144. The agenda of the meeting was then passed to each member present, and is herewith listed.
1. REPORT FILING OF CHARTER
Mr. Galatti gave the report about the approval of the Charter by the Court, it having been presented to the Supreme Court of the State of New York and signed on November 15, 1945, by Justice Aaron J. Levy.
2. ADOPTION OF BY-LAWS
The revised proposed By-Laws were read section by section by Mr. Galatti. Each one was carefully discussed by an the members present and suggested changes were made. It was then agreed that the proposed By-Laws as so amended be accepted as presented and sent to the membership of the AFS.
3. ELECTION OF OFFICERS (as called for in By-Laws)
The election of permanent officers of the American Field Service will not take place until the general election of the AFS. However, to function in the meantime, the names of the following members were proposed to act as temporary officers:
|For President and Director General - |
For Vice President -
For Treasurer -
For Secretary -
Frederick W. Hoeing
Gurnee H. Barrett
Chauncey B. Ives
These nominations were seconded and the above members of the AFS will act in the capacity to which they have been nominated until the first general election of the AFS.
4. APPOINTMENT OF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The following members were appointed to the Executive Committee:
|Stephen Galatti |
William H. Wallace
John J. Harmon
William J. Hooton
|Kenneth Austin |
Clarence V.S. Mitchell
Donald Q. Coster
Frederick W. Hoeing
Chauncey B. Ives
The meeting was then adjourned at 7:40 pm.
Following the meeting of November 20, 1946, letters were sent soliciting funds to initiate the Exchange Student Program. Let Bill Hooton take up the story:
We decided that this younger group could be a very intriguing idea And with the prep schools of the country giving full scholarships, at that time amounting to $1,500 up to $2,500, we said all right, fine, we'll collect those and we will then work with the Institute of International Education, get their representatives abroad to start sending their students applications, interviewing abroad, and sending them to us, and then we'd decide whom we would take and whom we wouldn't take. So that was the proposal that was put to the membership in 1946, and it was accepted, obviously. Everybody always accepts everything Steve said. So that if he said yes, this is what we're going to do, everybody said oh, if Steve wants to do that we'll do that. He finds money for it and so on.
We started really going all out, because by March, it seemed to me, we had to commit ourselves, and we had no money. We had no more money raised than what we had had from that initial flow of letters. Not over $10,000. I mean, we were paying our expenses, and we still had over $10,000. I think that was it. But when we came down to the terrible first decision---I'll never forget this---of whether we could make the commitment, take students for that fall, the fall of '47, or not, that decision had to be made in the spring. We didn't have that money. We had enough money to operate on, and that was what Steve had asked for from the membership, operating funds to keep going until a project of scholarships was underway.
And I knew that for forty students it was going to cost us in the neighborhood of $40,000, and we had to commit for it---for transportation, for spending money, for clothing allowance, for medical, for expenses to the Institute, for our work and so on---it was going to be $40,000. That included their travel. I think we figured $350 round trip.
Well, the Board---the good old-timers like Enos Curtin and so on, the very conservative members of the Board, were aghast at the idea, and I remember sitting in that back room, haggling over this, and Steve saying, "Well, if we don't do it, we might as well close up. We're going to have to get the money. I have to get the commitment to let me go out and make people give me the money." And I agreed with that. And so they finally swung around, and said, "All right, Steve, if you think you can do it, go ahead." So we committed ourselves for the number of students that we wanted to take for the first year to fit the places that the Preparatory Schools Association(2) was able to open up for us. So then we started trying to raise money. When it came to summer, we had pretty much the money either in pledges or in cash, or we knew where we were going to get it during the year.
In 1947-48, the new AFSIS program brought its first students to the United States. Records show that these fifty students came from ten countries: Czechoslovakia, Estonia, France, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Syria. Twenty-two of these students were on the college or graduate level; twenty-eight were preparatory school students. Most of the preparatory school students were placed on the East Coast.
Since the schools involved were boarding schools and the students lived in the dormitories, homes had to be found for the guests during school vacations. Many generous people were quick to offer their hospitality.
The First Bus Trip
At the end of their school year the students went on a 24-day 6000 mile bus trip that provided them with a larger view of the United States. Through the good offices of Elinor and Carl F. Zeigler, the Greyhound Bus Lines had donated the bus and the services of the driver for the tour, which took the students from New York to the Rocky Mountains, then south through Texas to New Orleans, and thence back to New York by way of Washington,
"I said that I thought they had seen too much of the East", said Bill Hooton. "They had not seen the middle West, they had not driven into the South, and they had not seen any of those places. And we had something like fourteen days for this trip; so we started planning how we could get them to all of these places. Dot [Field] was absolutely marvelous with this. She began to make contacts; Steve started making contacts with all the Field Service men of the First and Second Wars who lived in all the places where we were going. We all got involved in it. And I said I would like to have them stop in my little farming town in Indiana--called New Carlyle.
"I had gone out before and raised money from the mothers of WWII, a really dedicated group of mothers. It was real mid-America farm country. So I had gone to them and had given a speech and they had raised enough money to pay part of the scholarships. remember going out on the train at my own expense doing this, and so when this came up, I said we can have a picnic at my farm. My mother can run that, with help from everybody else. Let's ask all these women to do an old-fashioned pot-luck country picnic for all these kids, and everybody's invited.
"So my poor mother almost died, but she did it. And there were something like two or three hundred people there, all over the farm, on the lawns and so on. And the young people had a marvelous time. I put them all in the houses around the village. This changed the outlook of that whole little town, because they'd been very isolationalist, very anti-European, very nervous about foreigners, and this opened it up.
"It was what we were trying to achieve---to build as broad an experience as possible. That whole bus trip was just unbelievable. We brought them all into New York and then they had to leave at something like 4:00 in the morning, and I got up at breakfast and came down. Bobby (3) was there, and Dot (4) was there, Peaches (5) was there---we were all up and we all cooked breakfast and we fed them before they started out. Oh, and Dot went on that trip. She was one of the chaperones. She was the head chaperone. And then we had four or five other younger people, college people, who were the chaperones. Poor Dot came back at the end of that two weeks somewhat beat...but I can't think of a better person to have done it. I flew out and was there for the picnic at the farm, met them there and then came back in. But that was the beginning of the bus-trip idea, and the whole idea of transportation by bus."
The Second Year
In 1948-49, forty of the eighty-three students from twenty-one countries were on the preparatory school level.
That winter AFS bought the building at 113 East 30th Street for approximately $30,000. It was to be used as The Field Service clubhouse and offices for the AFSIS program. There are varying recollections of this building, but all who knew it agree that it was pretty "grubby." Bill Hooton remembers being delegated to find a place and starting "in the '60s and ,70s on Madison and Fifth" and working downtown until a house within the budget was found.
It was cramped and in bad condition. The staff and volunteers cleaned up, knocked down partitions, and painted and put the house in useable shape. It consisted of an English basement and four floors. At first, the basement was used for the offices, but as the program and the staff grew, the offices were expanded to occupy the first floor as well. The second floor was a bar and clubroom and the third and fourth floors were dormitories.
As a club, the venture was something less than a spectacular success. One man long associated with AFS remembers that the club lasted two or three years and then was closed. There was not enough interest in the Metropolitan area to sustain the cost, and the bar and club attracted, for the most part, limited clientele. On the other hand, the dormitories provided living space for some important staff, notably George Rock, who managed the club and at the same time wrote his The History of the American Field Service: 1920-1955. AFS students coming and going through New York also stayed in the dorms.
As the program grew and more staff and more volunteers were needed, the AFS offices in the 30th Street house became more and more crowded. One gets the impression, in talking to those who worked there, of cramped space, of clutter and of some confusion, but at the same time a feeling of tremendous vitality and movement. You have only to name those who worked there, and the quality of the work that must have been done becomes unmistakable---Steve Galatti, Sachiye Mizuki, George Edgell, Bob Applewhite, Bill Hooton, and others who came in and out as "volunteers" in response to Steve's requests for assistance and the exigencies of AFS affairs.
Ward Chamberlin helped with selection of students for the program year of '48-'49. He had taken a tour of the prep schools with Dot Field in the first year of the program to check on the progress of the students placed there for '47-'48.
"My first real experience with the program---except perhaps attending Board meetings---was when I got out of Law school in the fall of '48. I graduated from Columbia Law School in October of 1948 and I wasn't going to start working until January. And Steve said to me, 'We've got these kids around these prep schools on the East Coast. You ought to take a swing around these schools, and Dot will go with you. And you go around and make a visit. And some of them might not get along so well, and you can make some places for other ones. '
"And so Dot and I took off in a little Ford convertible that I had at that time, and we had a wonderful time. We went as far north as Exeter, which is where I went to school, and as far south as Philadelphia. And we went to Hotchkiss and Taft and some of the girls' schools. And we'd go in and see the headmaster or headmistress and talk about the AFS student and so forth.
"I remember at Exeter when I got there---this was the fall of '48---that was the first student they had. And I went in to see my old friend Wells Kerr, who was the Dean there, and he said things weren't working out since this fellow was kind of a dud. And I never would do this now, but I remember going around to see this Norwegian boy and telling him 'Look I don't give a damn about you, but I care about this program, and you're going to behave yourself and you're going to make a record. Because if you don't, nobody's going to follow you here. And we're not going to have any more business about whether you like it or not; it doesn't make a damn bit of difference.' Well, you know, you're not supposed to talk to kids like that now. I said, 'You're going to shape up, and shape up fast. Otherwise we 're going to send you right back to Norway. We're not going to have this program jeopardized just because you have some difference of opinion with the teachers or the students or whoever it was.' Well, this fellow shaped up right away, and they thought I was some kind of a miracle man.
'Wells Kerr called me up about a month later---he's a wonderful man---and he said, 'I don't know what you did to that fellow, but he's been a new man ever since.' And they went crazy about this program.
"I didn't care for eating in those school cafeterias much.. So when we went to a new school, we'd plan not to be there for lunch. But we'd often carry a little wine and bread and cheese and have that somewhere nearby before arriving at school. And then we'd arrive in the afternoon and do our thing with the headmaster and the student and whoever we had to see, and then we'd spend the night there and go on. We did that for about fifteen days. We had a lot of fun."
For the regular staff, working at 30th Street was a demanding job, requiring versatility, willingness to work overtime, and devotion to the aims of the program. But, at the same time, it was a "fun" job. What they did was not only a job, but it was also enjoyment and pleasure.
"The great thing, I think" said Blaikie Worth, "Was simply that people could look around and see the other guys and realize they were part of a whole, and that somebody was taking a personal interest in them. That was the genius of Steve Galatti, making them feel a genuine personal interest. And when he would go to meetings in Europe he would bring us back all these little slips, and these funny little bits of paper bags or something, and he'd say to these kids who'd come to the meetings, 'Who do you know in the office? Who's your correspondent?' And they'd say, 'Oh, Sachiye or Blaikie' or whoever it was... and then he'd have the students write little 'Hello, from Hans or whoever' and he wanted us, of course, to write back and keep this network going. It was a genius thing of his. It was something so wise, seeing that it was through the personal connections that people were going to keep on working, and also his amazing ability to ask and ask and ask people to do and give and contribute. He'd say, 'Put up eighteen people. Call her up tonight, and ask her to contribute again', or whatever it might be, and he would say, 'Well, of course, it's an opportunity for her.' He did see, I think, rightly too, that there were quite a number of groups in U.S. life, particularly at that time, who really were in need of projects, and many civic groups that were competing for worldwide projects.
"We had plenty to learn. But Steve always liked that. He didn't want people coming in here who thought they knew anything or were trained in some way. He really preferred to hire, partly because they were cheap and partly because he could form them, girls right out of college. There was none of this nonsense of paying the women the same as the men then.
"There were people working here who were ready to give just about all. Then there were people like me who wanted other things in their lives too. We had to fight to keep a little personal life. We would just sometimes have problems about that, and we tried to be understanding about it, but he naturally just wanted all. So if you came in Sunday morning or something, he would be delighted; if you didn't want to come in, it was your weekend to be in somebody's wedding or something, that wasn't good.
"Stephen Galatti then worked downtown at a brokerage firm, and came up at about 3 p.m. Dot Field had been here since the war, when she volunteered, and George Edgell, who'd been here since about '48, and Sachiye since about '48.
"Now Sachiye did give all, she really did. And was extraordinary in her efficiency and honesty---I have great admiration for her. But the ones I personally was closest to were Dot, who is one of the great people, and George Edgell, a remarkable person. It seemed almost a magic combination of elements. You had this Stephen Galatti character, who had the overall vision of how the thing could begin, the drive and the willingness to push people and make this very unlikely thing get off the ground and go, and was willing to call up anybody he knew and ask them for money. The combination with Dot, from whom he learned many things, who had a tremendous warmth---she was the obvious mother figure, but she was more than that, although she was supremely that---students weeping on her shoulder. I remember one time Dot was always subject to being seasick and was lying in her bunk the students continued to file in and weep on her shoulder while she lay in her bunk. She had a wonderful ability to speak honestly to anybody, and have them understand her genuine willingness to help.
"Dot taught the rest of us a little of that---as much as we were up to, which was never anything like her. We learned how not to be frightened of emotions and how to talk to people objectively and yet with sympathy. We learned how to express something of this in our letters.
"To me, this was an extraordinary combination---Stephen Galatti, Dot Field, and George Edgell, who had remarkable intellectual power. Sachiye was invaluable, also, as the person who saw that the wheels went round. George, who was fascinated, for instance, with languages, would dive in and find out all about the school systems in Nigeria or whatever, and get it down on paper and get it right. He could talk to officials, he was an intellectual and was terrific, of course, with many of the students who needed somebody to talk to about ideas and books and opera..
"And we, of course, needed another male figure in here, too. George was articulate, witty, and a superb human being. It was good to have someone here who could provide that sort of thing. And, as I say, could amass factual material. When these people would come along, we didn't know their underlying assumptions about life, their cultural makeup at all, really. But we learned, and thanks to having him around we learned a little quicker than we might have otherwise. And we were very lucky too---in the kind of people who were initially attracted to AFS all over the world. There were some terrific people among them.
"That crummy old building on 30th Street. One time I remember these men came down, and one of them began poking the ceiling, and Harriet said, 'I wouldn't do that if I were you'--meaning that it would all collapse. We discovered that they were the fire inspectors or something like that.
"It was a rathole. The students would picture it as a palace, a skyscraper, you know, and we'd get them from their ship and bring them over, and then the poor things would sit in the parking lot if there wasn't room inside, this funny little brownstone building.
"We would keep them there overnight or so, and often we kept them in our apartments or wherever. And then we would send them onward and try to give them all a briefing.
"The essence of it is, we were living on a shoestring, because the whole thing was done on a shoestring. Well, this was quite a change for some of the students, as I said. They thought of America in those days as a palace; everything will be grand. But it was so far from grand. Their faces fell often. But it was great for fund-raising, you see. That's what this smart Greek Mr. Galatti understood, to have these people come in and say, 'Gee, you're sure not spending money on the office are you?' And it was so hot in the summer. I remember Ann sitting in there with her feet in a bucket of water. And it had this grubby little upstairs where there were beds where some of the ambulance drivers used to stay occasionally. And we used to rent it out for New Years' parties. We would try to make money any way we could, you see. It really was a miserable little place.
"And then we rented a floor two doors down the street. We just kept needing more and more space. It was really crowded and really crummy and visibly no money was going into office stuff. It was all going for expansion, bringing more students. Dot and I were always arranging beds for the students. Many of them in that era went to boarding school, and we'd be writing to these people, saying would you possibly... saying is there any chance you would like to have a nice Finnish boy and perhaps also a nice Austrian boy. They're arriving next week you know. And here's the information about them, and is there any chance you can keep them a month until school starts. And then we'd agonize until we got the reply. And I remember going out on 3rd Avenue---this would be right after Christmas---and picking up people's discarded Christmas trees, and dragging them back and decorating them. I mean, we really didn't spend money. I read all the mail and I used to see that the budget would half the time be in the red. I mean, it was a very shaky thing. There were people who didn't think they could continue on the Board because they just felt it might not go and they might have to feel personally responsible in a way they couldn't afford. It was very shaky, and then boom, it sort of took off "
Elaine Koehl was one of those who started with AFS first as a host parent and then became more and more caught up in the central operations of the program.
"I was chapter president for four or five years," she said, "and Blaikie and Steve Galatti used to call me up constantly to put up some of the prep school kids for vacations, because they concentrated on prep school kids then. Or take some who were changing families. And because I was so close to New York you know, just a thirty-minute commute, I became somebody to fall back on. They called me constantly to take children who were being changed and put them up overnight. I didn't always take them in my own home, but always put them up on two hours' notice. And of course, the more you did that with Steve Galatti, the more he called you. I used to say, 'Haven't you got somebody else on your list?' and he'd say, 'Yeah, but why call them if you...'
"I took the children around to speak to Rotary, to the League of Women Voters, to the Junior League, to any organization, and I wrote letters trying to get them to contribute---not to generally contribute, but to contribute either to Doves High School or Irvings or the Hastings School, to bring a student the next year.
"The following winter I was in a meeting down on 3ath Street. They used to have meetings on the third floor. Steve made sort of a Boardroom up there. Really, basically, it was for drivers. But when we had the AFS chapter people in, we'd meet there.
"And the Boss [Mr. Galatti] said to me, very casually at this meeting, 'When are you going to start working here full time? We need you here more than in Westchester.' And I was so flattered that I actually came to work a couple of months later, full time, 9 to 5, for free. I worked first for Alice Gerlach, and then as a division head, and then as a coordinator for all the applications, and then as assistant to George Edgell--eight years in total.
"And then because I was one of the sort of mother-figures everybody, all the young girls called me 'Momma Koehl'---I was a middle-aged woman at that point---he often sent me out, you know, in the dead of night or in a blizzard--I got snowed into Rochester so many times I've forgotten how many times, to change families, when he didn't want to send the real young girls. Well, my husband didn't think that was such a very hot idea, but you had to do it when Steve made you do it.
"In the last three years that I worked there, Steve finally came to me and said that he did appreciate it and he was going to pay my commutation ticket from now on. So he paid $19. He would have me buy my commutation ticket from Dobbs Ferry for the month and then he would refund me the $19. Of course I never asked him for it. That was his idea If I worked for General Motors, that would be the same as my having gotten a $5,000 raise, in his eyes. Very funny.
"In those old days down in that building--I have to tell you a joke that to me absolutely epitomized the fun we had and how we used to work and under what conditions and the camaraderie that we had, and a lot of people didn't get paid at all. The young girls, I guess, got paid something. Nobody like me, who had somebody to support them, of course, got paid anything. One morning, on a terribly, terribly cold morning, I came in and came down the stairs. I was taking my coat off and sitting down at my desk and Apple's [Bob Applewhite] desk was just two desks away.] And as I sat down, I saw this gigantic cockroach in my 'IN' basket on top of all my piled work. And I screamed. I'd never seen anything like that; so I screamed, 'Apple, there's a cockroach in my IN basket. ' And he said, Put it in your OUT basket and get to work. '
"The four years I was there each of us had forty-five students to whom we wrote 'kiddy' letters, as we called them. The Boss always used to say, 'Don't call them kiddy letters--these are young adults.' But we always said kiddy letters anyway. And years and years after that I kept the AFS rosters and the sheets we kept of when we'd written and when they'd written---'cause we had to turn in reports on that, you see. And we kept up with many of those kids. I still get Christmas cards from them--this is from years ago.
"Another aspect of working then that was a marvelous fun benefit thing was the chaperoning that everybody loved to do of course. Going on the bus trips and on the overseas trips. I got some of the most glamorous chaperone jobs, taking kids home to South Africa, to New Zealand, to Greece three different times, to Europe several times. The Boss, when he got ready to assign the chaperone jobs and everybody was quaking and hoping and waiting, would always say to me, 'You are allowed to take the co-chaperone of your choice on your trip.'
"Because he knew I wouldn't go without Al. So I always took my husband, you see. And again, the Boss picked me for these jobs because I was mature, though actually those young girls were every bit as capable, probably more capable. Anyway the Boss picked me for these jobs because he didn't have to pay anything for the layovers for Al and me the way he did for the girls. You know, he'd have to put them up.
"We once stayed in South Africa for six and a half weeks at our own expense. Because that's when the Lufthansa charter went to Johannesburg and came back. So when he called me in, of course, he said, 'How would you like to spend a good portion of the summer in South Africa?' Well, we'd never been there and we could perfectly well afford it, and it seemed, like a great idea. So--that's how I got all the cushy jobs that had long layovers."
Though these were lean years, the program was growing. In the summer of '49, the High School in Elkhart, Indiana, which had heard of the AFS program through that year's bus trip, requested two students for the following school year. The student body raised the necessary funds, and the two students lived as members of families in the community. Other high schools heard of Elkhart's successful experience and joined the program in 1949-1950.
At this crucial point, the United States Department of State asked AFSIS to outline a teen-age program for Germany. Under the terms of the agreement, 111 German students were brought to the United States in 1950-1951. Of the 108 other AFS students year, 82 were in secondary schools. The size of the program had thus been doubled in one year. (Only 26 of the total number were in colleges, and the following year the college program was discontinued).
The importance of the State Department's sponsorship of the German program cannot be overestimated.
"The High Commissioner's Office in Germany was looking at the problems of a generation of German kids who had been conditioned in certain ways that seemed risky for their future positive contribution to the world, and there was a feeling that if some portion of the leadership of that youth group could see another side of the world, it might be a constructive factor in the whole reconditioning of Germany.
"To AFSIS it was a tremendous shot in the arm, because everyone came at cost basically, and for the first time we had a large source of support for our overhead here.
"Steve would raise money, enough money to get the kids here, (he'd use every penny he had to get kids here), and that left no money to rent space, to pay people. Almost no one, if anyone, on the staff was paid at that time. And amenities were at an absolutely unbelievable minimum. This was part of Steve's dedication and drive--to put every penny into another student.
"It's hard to realize the significance of that State Department grant in giving us a little leeway to being able to do some things, shall I say, properly."(6)
The sudden increase in the size of AFSIS in 1950-51 due to the sponsorship of 111 German students attracted the attention of high school principals and superintendents. Their endorsement of the program and the active participation of the school faculty and student body in family-finding, selection of Americans Abroad candidates, and fund-raising accelerated the growth of the program and facilitated its functioning.
The AFS office in New York was now well organized and responsibilities were assigned to individuals. Mr. Galatti was fortunate to have extremely capable people to whom he could delegate, insofar as he ever delegated, the various program functions.
George Edgell was in charge of the final selection and the placement of students coming to the United States; Sachiye Mizuki was responsible for the selection of Summer Program students and for the production of the AFS newsheet Our Little World, and Dorothy Field managed hospitality and student correspondence and had oversight of general concerns of student welfare.
The minutes of Board and Executive Committee Meetings in those days make interesting reading and reveal the growth of European interest in the AFS's Programs and the increasing complexity of the problems that come with growth.
In the June, 1953, meeting it was reported that 234 students were coming from Europe and that the European countries would be host to 253 Summer Program students from the United States, as compared with 107 the year before, representing 22 private and 154 public secondary-schools.
Plans called for 7 bus trips in the summer of 1953. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had agreed to greet the students in Washington. On July 22 all 234 students would meet in the Garden City (L.I.) High School before starting their trip back to Europe. U.N. Ambassador Lodge would speak to them.
The cost per student in the 1952-1953 program was $657. For 1953-1954 this was the estimated program budget:
|Grant from U.S. Government|| |
|Sponsoring U.S. Committees|| |
|Unrestricted donations|| |
| || |
|111 German & 4 Austrian students|| |
|131 Community sponsored students|| |
|23 Boarding school students|| |
|Bus trip for 115 Germans & Austrians|| |
| || |
(Ellis Slater remarked, "It looks like the AFS programs could reach 500 students, but that would be about the limit that we as an organization could handle.")
Volunteers were working hard in United States communities, however, to prove Mr. Slater wrong; Mrs. Thomas Vennum in Minneapolis, Mrs. Hugh Kelleher and Mr. Richard L. Tevis in San Francisco, Mr. Harry I. Dunn and Mr. Louis Howell in Los Angeles, Mr. Bartlett Wicks in Salt Lake City, Mrs. Albert Koehl in Westchester Co., NY, to name but a few.
Mrs. Vennum would report to the Executive Committee in the Fall of the year (November 1953) that she had been able to place 14 students in the Minneapolis area in one week's time and a total of 25 in all during her campaign to find host families. Mrs. Vennum described a procedure that was to become accepted practice for many communities---a visit to the Superintendent of Schools and with his blessing a visit to all high school principals, and then a newspaper publicity campaign soliciting host families. Mrs. Vennum announced that her goal for the State of Minnesota for the following year was 100 students---a goal she was destined to reach.
"I was introduced in April, 1953, to Steve Galatti by his friend and my friend Don Coster, who was an ambulance driver and a trustee. I came away from a luncheon meeting and he promised to get us started in Minneapolis. I had no concept at that point of in how large a way it would be, but I came home and decided it was such a good idea that I tried to do a lot more than the two students that I think Steve thought I was going to try to do.
"I then got in touch with the Minneapolis Star. the executive editor, who was a marvelous internationalist and a marvelous person and he was at our house for dinner and we talked long and late and decided there was no earthly reason why it couldn't just go all over the place and he in fact was one of the ones, perhaps the one, that encouraged me the most to figure that we could get the 100 in the State. And we just took off from there.
"The Star entered pictures of the students whose applications I had on hand and put their first names under the pictures and said that these students from abroad want to study here. And then the article told about the American kids and scholarships and suggested people contact me, either schools or individual that wanted to have the students. So I was in touch with both the principals and people that wanted to have kids. Actually it was a big promotional deal and I think that even Steve felt that if we had made a few errors it was worth it. So it jumped from 25 to 101; just slightly over 400 in the whole country and 101 of them were in Minnesota
"I tried to pick towns where if possible them were some intellectual groups, like university towns or the larger cities like Duluth, Rochester and so on. My method chiefly was to contact in each of the towns that I'd selected, the newspaper editor, who was always a great help to have on your side, and the principal of the school, and then asked those two if they could recommend some individual in the town who was interested in foreign affairs and international work This was a pretty good formula; it worked out very well quite a few times. This was the second year, so that when the 101 were placed all over the state there was a nucleus of semi-committees in these towns. By the third year, not only did we have the small committees in each town, but I also divided Minnesota into sections of north and Eastern Minnesota where two women in the news were also keeping an eye on every other town nearby and trying to spread it too."
By October, 1954, there were 57 Regional Chairmen:
|W. James Atkins||Madison, WI|
|John R. Baylor||Lincoln, NE|
|Maurice W. Binford||Portland, OR|
|Mrs. Roger Burrell||Akron, OH|
|Cecil J. Clark||Chattanooga, TN|
|John K Conant||Wilmington, DE|
|Mrs. Paul C. Cromwell||Knoxville, TN|
|Holbrook R. Davis||Montreal, Canada|
|Beman Gates Dawes||Cincinnati, OH|
|Thomas N. DePew||St. Louis, MO|
|Walter de la Plante||Buffalo, NY|
|Harry I. Dunn||Los Angeles, CA|
|Robert D. Ferguson||Pittsburgh, PA|
|Leon Fougnies||Libertyville, IL|
|James A. Giddings||Brockway, PA|
|Mrs. George Goldstein||Syracuse, NY|
|Mrs. Edwin D. Graves||Washington, D.C.|
|Mrs. Horace Gray||Santa Barbara, CA|
|Charles H. Griesa||Kansas City, MO|
|Sterling Grumman||Darien, CT|
|Raymond Harper||Princeton, NJ|
|Mrs. W.B. Hildebrand||Menasha, WI|
|Axel Hornos||Portchester, NY|
|Robert L. Howard||Tulsa, OK|
|Arthur Howe, Jr.||New Haven, CT|
|L. Gordon Ingraham||Colorado Springs, MO|
|Earl T. Johnston||Oklahoma City, OK|
|John I. Kautz||Indianapolis, IN|
|Mrs. Albert Koehl||Ardsley-on-Hudson, NY|
|Lewis N. Lukens, Jr||Philadelphia, PA|
|Verne Marshall||Cedar Rapids, IA|
|Mrs. George R Maser||Kansas City, KA|
|John E. Minty||Muskegon, MI|
|Mrs. W.B. Moore||Anniston, AL|
|John D. Pemberton||Rochester, IN|
|Charles E. Perkins, Jr||Santa Barbara, CA|
|George K Peterson||Sheboygan, WI|
|Mrs. Gilbert Rankin||Manitowoc, WI|
|Leighton Rollins||Santa Barbara, CA|
|Barclay Robinson||Hartford, CT|
|Ernest R. Schoen||Atlanta, GA|
|John L. Scott||Seattle, WA|
|Seldon Senter||Shreveport, IN|
|Arthur M. Smith||Dearborn, MI|
|Harvard C. Smith||Kenosha, WI|
|Jack B. Smith||Birmingham, AL|
|Kathryn Starbuck||Saratoga Springs, NY|
|Isandy Sullivan||Dobbs Ferry, NY|
|Mrs. John R. Suydam||Boston, MA|
|Gertrude Sweetman||Two Rivers, WI|
|Richard L. Tevis||San Francisco, CA|
|Bradlee Van Brunt||Milwaukee, WI|
|Mrs. Thomas Vennum||Minneapolis, MN|
|Mrs. Leona Ward||Greenbay, WI|
|Bartlett Wicks||Salt Lake City, UT|
|John M. Wilkerson||Hays, KS|
|Carl F. Zeigler||Chicago, IL|
Because of the growth of the programs, the Executive Committee felt that a study should be made of the administration of the program, and to that end appointed a committee of three to report back.
Ward Chamberlin, Chairman
Following are excerpts from the report of this committee:
International Scholarship Program Since the War
The following table illustrates the development of the Program since 1947:
High School Students Year College Students Prep School Students AFS Financed Gov't Financed 1947-48 22 28 1948-49 40 40 1949-50 28 48 1950-51 36 55 10 118 1951-52 12 56 16 120 1952-53 3 45 47 140 1953-54 3 37 113 115
A number of changes of emphasis are thus clearly discernible:
(a) It began as a college and private preparatory school program with colleges and schools for the most part granting board and tuition.
(b) By 1949-50 emphasis on teen-age students had begun although at this time prep schools were involved.
(c) In 1950-51 the United States Government asked the AFS to operate a program of bringing to this country teen-age German students, placing them in high schools and having them live with American families. This undertaking set the pattern of the development of the program since that time. In evolving its International Scholarship program the AFS had discovered from experience that the teen-age foreign student profited greatly from a year in this country and that by concentrating on this age level, it would be fulfilling its desire to "promote better international cooperation." From this point on the college program was dropped --- except for two special cases --- as the above table shows.
(d) The AFS undertook the government program because they realized that it was perhaps the best way to implement a substantial increase over the prep school program, that such a program would have a wide appeal and that by developing community participation in financing as well as in providing hospitality the AFS's own program would be on a sound basis when the government program ended. Thus, by assiduous efforts, each year the AFS increased the number of high school students whose expenses were paid from non-governmental sources; in the current year the number of AFS financed high school students substantially equal to the number of government-financed students.
Administration of Scholarship Program
With the exception of the New York office, the program is run entirely with volunteer, non-paid personnel. One experiment in employing a man to raise funds in the Chicago area several years ago was a failure and now all fund raising as well as supervision of the program outside of the New York office is done by non-paid personnel.
All policy decisions as well as any important decision concerning an individual student are made by the New York office. In addition, that office maintains a personal relationship with each student. This relationship is begun when the student arrives in this country and is fostered throughout the year by visits of New York office personnel and by letters depending upon where the student is located.
Outside of New York the work of the program is done by representatives and for purposes of this report they shall be classified as "major representatives" and "minor representatives." Major representatives are those responsible in a given area for a group of more than three AFS students. Both kinds of representatives usually have a two-fold responsibility: (1) placing the students in schools, arranging families for them and supervising them during the year; and (2) raising money to enable their community to sponsor students.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to generalize upon the activities of the major representatives because each one conceives of and does his job in a different way. The main reason for this stems from the development of this system of administration. In some cases these major representatives are AFS men who were interested in the program and wanted to help. In other cases they are people who came in contact with the program with no prior knowledge of the Field Service. Each does his job in his own way and has a special relationship with the New York office. The major representatives are as follows:
Name . Area No. of Students (1953-54) Mr. Ferguson Pittsburgh, Pa. 13 Mrs. Goldstein Syracuse, N.Y. 23 Mr. Marshall Cedar Rapids, Iowa 10 Teenage Diplomats Rochester, N.Y. 18 Mr. Binford Portland, Ore. 8 Mr. Conant Wilmington, Del. 9 Mr. Van Brunt Milwaukee, Wisc. 15 Mrs. Vennum Minneapolis, Minn. 25
These major representatives account for approximately 120 students. In raising money, placing students and handling all of the many details arise problems which arise during a year, they take a tremendous load from the New York office. Their effectiveness, of course, varies. Each has his strong point--aspects of the program he is particularly good at--relationship with the students or perhaps fund raising. And some are correspondingly not so good at one or more of their functions.
The remaining number of students (about 140) who are not covered by major representatives are dealt with through a representative in the high school or community in which they are located. This minor representative may be the Student Council of the high school, the Principal, someone in the community interested in the program; or an AFS man living there. Again the relationship of each of these representatives with the New York office varies. In these cases, however, there is much more direct communication between the student and the New York office than in cases where a major representative is present and takes care of all minor problems. Since AFS students are spread over about 30 states, the job of directing all of these minor representatives from the New York office is indeed imposing.
Analysis of Administrative Organization
The administration of this program is not systematized. Like Topsy it just grew. Looking back over the way it developed, it is hard to see how it could have been otherwise. This program has always been on a hand-to-mouth basis financially and has never been permitted the luxury of being able to plan ahead for more than the current year. Therefore, non-paid volunteer help has been an absolute necessity. The drawbacks of such a system are obvious:
(1) Contact and direction from New York is not as complete as it should be. The volunteer has a tendency to go off in his own direction, or not to do things in the way experience has proven best.
(2) The system is dependent on a personal relationship between the representative and the New York office. If this breaks down or if there is a serious disagreement which cannot be resolved, the program in that area is jeopardized.
(3) It places a tremendous burden on the staff in New York---not only to establish a pleasant working relationship with the major representatives and to retain their interest, but also to keep up with a volume of correspondence with minor representatives scattered throughout the country.
The advantages are not so easily stated, but, in this kind of work which is so dependent on the belief in its value of those who administer it, may well override the drawbacks:
(1) The enthusiasm and belief of these representatives in the program which is communicated not only to the students but to others who may help.
(2) In many cases the time and personal effort spent on the program and the feeling they have for it is greater in these volunteer representatives than one could hope to evoke in any other kind of administrative organization.
(3) The money-saving to the program in having non-paid representatives.
Effectiveness of Administration
This sub-committee feels that on balance the program is being very well run. No serious instance of a breakdown has been discovered.
In large part this is due to the determination of the New York office to make the system work, to be flexible in its relationships with representatives and to spare no effort to insure that each student makes the most of his year in this country.
No matter how well the system has worked in the past, the question remains of whether it is adequate to meet an expanding program.
The State Department has recently stated that, due to lack of appropriations, it will be able to finance only about 55 students in 1954-55---less than half of this year's total. However, it seems likely that AFS-financed students will increase at least this number and perhaps more for the coming academic year. Thus in 1954-55 a program at least as large as the current one must be anticipated.
The increasing interest of many people and communities in teen-age foreign students and their belief that the AFS program is doing an effective job in increasing the understanding of and friendship for the United States in other countries makes it incumbent on the organization to be prepared to expand when and where the opportunity arises. Prognosis of the future under any circumstances is of limited value, but 1955-56 would appear to be a critical year for the program. By that time government aid may have ceased---at least we must be prepared for that eventuality. The program will be relatively well known. Its effectiveness can be demonstrated to those who are interested. Thus in that year there may well be an opportunity to bound forward in the number of students we can place in communities. This sub-committee believes that, although the present system is functioning adequately now, it might well not be equal to the task imposed by an expanded program, and that, therefore, steps should be taken to strengthen the administrative set up before the expansion is a fact.
This sub-committee on the basis of its findings recommends as follows:
(1) That the present system of administration of the Scholarship Program dependent as it is largely on volunteer, non-paid workers be continued.
(2) That an attempt be made during the next year to systematize the relationship of the New York office with the major representatives and to have them undertake more and more of the responsibility for the program in their area referring, of course, policy decisions and serious individual problems to the New York office.
(3) That, in States or areas where there are a number of students close enough geographically to form a unit but where at present there is no major representative, representatives be found who will take more of the burden of detail work from the New York office and who will help in the fund-raising in that area.
(4) That, in the future, if the likelihood increases that the program will expand quickly beyond its present scope, this be reported to the Executive Committee so that the administrative set up can be reviewed again at that time for it is the opinion of this subcommittee that, although the present system is adequate for the present program and there is no workable alternative, it may well not be adequate to cope with a 50 percent increase in the program, for example.
(5) That at present no steps be taken to hire paid employees to run regional or district offices.
The tentative budget for 1954-55 reflects not only program growth but also increased sophistication in financial program specifics:
|332 Community student participation contributions @ $650 each|| |
|20 Community student participation contributions @ S300 each|| |
|U.S. Government grant|| |
|Indirect Expenses including overhead and administration|| |
|Ocean Travel|| |
|Health Insurance Premiums and Medical Expenses||
|12 Bus Trips|| |
|Travel in U.S. enroute|| |
|Student Spending Money|| |
|Meetings (Midway, Departure, Misc.)|| |
|Allowance for Contingencies (10%)|| |
The First Midway (8)
The meeting of the students on their way home in 1954 after the bus trip took place in Dobbs Ferry, NY. Elaine Koehl had made the arrangements:
"I was still on the Board of Education. Steve asked me if I would talk the school into letting us have the school for five days in August for all the children at the end of the bus trip to come to and be housed and fed before they went off to Europe.
"They were sailing from Montreal. Blaikie and Sachiye say that they remember those kids and all their baggage standing all over the N.Y. Central tracks at the Dobbs Ferry Station waiting for the train to come in that was to take them to Montreal and thinking they're all going to be killed.
"Steve asked me, of course, because I was on the Board and he thought I'd have some clout in getting the school. And it was close to New York and convenient for the staff who could commute from their homes back and forth. I was able to get the school for
five days as a headquarters, and then I borrowed a lot of school buses from other schools that had AFSers in them to help us with the various local trips for the kids. I got the Rotary Club to give a big barbecue one night, to feed them all and the Lions' Club to feed them all another night. And then, the great coup, and I can't remember whether Apple managed this or whether I did, because I can't remember the phone call---was getting 425 folding cots from Civil Defense, from the Red Cross. And they delivered them, and we set them up in the gym of the school and lined them all up. And the AFS rented sheets from a linen rental; it was August, so we didn't bother with any blankets. I persuaded a friend of mine, Hugh Leighton, who owned and ran Leighton's Restaurant on the Saw Mill River Parkway, just about a mile or so away, to cater breakfasts and lunches at the school cafeteria. And he did that, he brought over all the stuff in trucks from his restaurant, at some very, very nominal charge. Their dinners were done by the community; Leighton gave a farewell dinner for them at his restaurant before they left.
"The most dramatic and outstanding memory we all have of the whole gathering was that the cots were absolutely useless--left over from 1939 or 1940. And at least 35 or 50 of them each night would collapse and slam to the floor with terrible noise in this huge gym, and the students would be slammed to the floor in the middle of the night while they were asleep, waking everybody up about hourly, and really banging: up some of the kids. It sounds hilarious, but I don't really think it was. Sachiye and Blaikie and the boss and all the staff members commuted to their homes in New York City each night, and struggled back to the suburbs each morning "
It is worthy of note that for the first time a returnee was brought from Europe to the U.S. to chaperone the group home. This was Helga von Hoffmann from Germany. The practice of bringing returnees to chaperone home-going students became a permanent part of the end-of-stay procedure. Some of the returnees served also as bus trip chaperones. There was an obvious advantage in beginning reorientation in preparation for the return to homeland and family with the help of a returnee who had previously gone through the process.
A few milestones were reached in 1955, as recorded in Board and Ex' Committee minutes:
(1) AFS becomes self-insured. To cover medical, health, and accident expenses of AFS Students in the U.S., $35 per student was deposited in a special account.
(2) President Dwight D. Eisenhower addresses the AFSers on July 12 in Washington.
(3) Ward Chamberlin reports that the American Field Service Fellowship for French Universities Inc. has voted to change the purposes of that Corporation to permit aid to AFS Inc. (There is $270,000 in the treasury of The Fellowship.)
(4) Beginning salary for new office staff at AFS has reached $65 per week.
(5) The name of Alice Gerlach first appears in the minutes. Alice reports that Summer Program numbers had reached 686 students to 16 countries of Europe.
The Americans Abroad Summer Program had been initiated by returnees in 1950. The Returnees had formed a committee which placed 9 American students in French families during their summer vacation. It seems worth recording who these pioneers were:
|Franklin Davenport||Newton Centre, MA||David Moore||Islip, NY|
|Florence Friedman||Kingston, NY||Charles Morgan||Philadelphia, PA|
|Robert Heifetz||Pasadena, CA||Diana Taylor||Santa Fe, NM|
|Martha Humphreys||Mystic, CT||Joanne Taylor||Claymont, DE|
|Peter Maytham||Westport, CT|
The following summer of 1951 found 24 American high school students spending their summer vacations in Austria, Belgium, England, Finland, France, Greece and the Netherlands. The spread of the AFSIS program in the United States is clearly shown by the names of the states from which these students came: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
During the following several years there was rapid growth in the program as returnees in other countries took an ever increasingly active part in selecting students to send to the United States and in finding families to receive the Summer Program students.
It will be remembered that it was during 195051 that 122 students from Germany had been brought to the United States, 111 of them under the joint sponsorship of AFS and the U.S. Department of State. On their return home, these young German students had organized and their first goal was to return the hospitality they had enjoyed in the U.S. The effectiveness of their efforts can be seen in the fact that in the summer of 1952 they placed 54 American high school students in German families. The summer program in Germany continued to be a highly successful effort. By 1955, 841 American teenagers had spent the summer in German families. During these same years AFS in the United States had received 564 young people from Germany.
By the end of the summer of 1955, 16 European countries had received 1365 Summer Program students. All of this was due to the initiative of AFS returnees, with an assist from their parents and from other adults, including a number of former AFS ambulanciers resident in Europe.
George Rock, in "The First Years of the Teen-Age Programs (1946-1955)," Chapter XVIII of his The History of the American Field Service, notes other important developments in returnee activities:
"The participants in each program went through the greater part of their experience as single individuals, and probably no two had exactly similar experiences in either Europe or the United States. Yet the basic similarities of these experiences could not become evident to the students unless they were brought together and given a chance to discuss their months in the United States or Europe. So individuals scattered over large areas are brought together as groups whenever possible during the course of the two programs...
"The days between the end of the bus trips (12 buses in 1955) and the students' return to their homes, the boat trips, the Paris gatherings for the summer exchanges, and the Christmas parties also served to mix up nationalities and to create a feeling of belonging to a group. That there was a need for this even among the returnees was shown by their inauguration of the Summer Camps. The first of these was held at Le Touquet Paris Plage in 1950. After that, the two-week get togethers (sometimes aided by grants from the government of the host country) were held successfully at Titisee (Germany), Terschelling (The Netherlands), Essen (Germany), Sallanches (France), and Solemoa (Norway). Up to a hundred AFSers and their friends attend part or all of these camps. As Jean Lou Piguet wrote after an early one: 'These camps are the best link we have to keep all of us AFS returnees together, no matter what year we are and what country we come from... '
"The Summer Camps, as well as most of the work on the Summer Program, were handled by Returnee Student Committees. As the student passed beyond being a teenager, the richness of the AFSIS experience took on an increasing power. In 1955 the more than 1, 600 returnees were taking charge of an ever-growing amount. In Germany and New Zealand the returnees were doing the job of selecting applicants for the regular winter program; in Finland, Italy, and Spain they formed an essential part of the selection apparatus; and other countries were taking on more and more responsibility. The problems as well as the accomplishments of the returnee committees were discussed at annual three-day conferences of the committees' chairmen. Their vitality and interest can be gauged by excerpts from George Edgell's report on the Vienna Conference (19-22 January 1956), which was also attended by Mr. Galatti and Miss Mizuki:
'Each country sent two delegates, totaling 28 in all, with additional observers among the Austrian returnees living in or near Vienna. The occasion had been very well organized by the Austrian Returnee Committee, Harald Lang, Chairman. Delegates were housed in a youth hostel in Vienna which also provided an auditorium for the discussions. In addition, sightseeing was arranged and the delegates were received by the Lord Mayor of Vienna...
'The organization of returnee committees proved to have tightened and solidified markedly. Finland, for instance, has formed an Executive Committee made up of those who have taken the most responsibility for returnee activities, added to from each year's new homecoming group, from which each year the Finnish Chairman is selected. This is one of the older students, who must have served on the committee for two or three years before being elected. Italy also has formed a new and well organized committee machinery. Examples of these were taken back home by other delegates as suggestions for improving their own organization.
'Most noticeable of all was the increased direction and purpose delegates showed in comparison with conferences in previous years. The atmosphere was more businesslike though no less enthusiastic. The beginnings of a solid, permanent, and effective organization in these countries was very evident.
'Mr. Gerald Schwab, the Cultural Attaché of the American Embassy in Vienna, stated that his meeting was one of the best he has ever attended and that he was very impressed by the standard and interest displayed by all the participants.' "
So AFSIS had come of age. The basis of successful and perpetual program operation had been established--the U.S. Chapter and the returnee committee. The two-way exchange of students was an on-going arrangement, made possible by the involvement of increasing numbers of volunteers. One of the most important elements was, of course, the continuing participation of those who passed from one category of volunteer to another: Americans Abroad parent to host parent, Winter Program student to returnee to selection committee member or family finder or host brother/sister. Eventually, as the returnees both in the United States and other countries attained greater age, they themselves would become host parents, and the cycle would be repeated as their own children were selected to go on the program.
Part Two: The Second Decade
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