Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Who Knew? The Massachusetts Historical Society Had a Great WWI Photo Exhibit

Here's another great exhibit that we missed when it was active last year, but the Massachusetts Historical Society kept the material accessible online.  As a member of the American Red Cross in France during World War I, Massachusetts-born Margaret Hall worked at a canteen at a railroad junction in the town of Châlons. On her return home she compiled a typescript narrative from the letters and diary passages that she wrote while overseas. Her words offer a firsthand account of life on the Western Front in the last months of the war. She also copiously illustrated the text with her own photographs, which depict soldiers, canteens, and the extensive destruction and ruin following the war.

The Society's website allows users to browse and search all 246 photographs taken by Margaret Hall and 29 additional illustrative items from her volume, part of the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. 
Here is a sample of five of Margaret's photographs from the collection.

U.S. 42nd "Rainbow" Division at Chalons

Soldier Visiting Destroyed Village of Craonne, Immortalized in Song

Initial Monument at Bayonet Trench, Verdun Battlefield

Massive Column of German Prisoners of War

Lone German Prisoner of War Approaches Port Chaussée, Verdun


  1. There is also a companion book. Extremely well documented. Letters and Photographs from the Battle Country - The World War I Memoir of Margaret Hall. Edited by Margaret Higgonet.

  2. Just ordered a copy of the book