The Fascinating Story of the American Hospital of Paris

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The Fascinating Story of the American Hospital of Paris
Located in the western suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, the American Hospital of Paris was founded in 1906 and is the only civilian hospital in Europe which receives neither government subsidies from France nor from the USA, depending solely on international donations, and remains to this day a nonprofit organization. It was in 1904 that a certain Dr. A.J. Magnin, with American friend Harry Anton van Bergen, had the ambitious aim to create an association – the American Hospital Association of Paris – in order to offer American expatriates access to American-trained doctors in an American hospital. Three years later, one year after Dr Magnin, Mr Van Bergen and seven other respected members of the American community had signed the founding act for the American Hospital of Paris, the chairman of the Board of Governers, John H. Harjes, signed the deed to a property in Neuilly-sur-Seine. American Hospital of Paris in 2011. (C) CC BY-SA 3.0 In October 1909, the U.S. Ambassador to France Henry White, and the future president of the Republic Gaston Doumergue, inaugurated the new, 24-bed hospital. (The hospital now boasts 187 surgical, medical and obstetric beds.) By 1913, the United States Congress had officially recognized the hospital, granting it federal status, which allowed the hospital to accept bequests and donations. Montage for WWI. (C) Public Domain It was, however, during the terrible events of WWI – The Great War – when the American Hospital cemented its place in the hearts of French citizens. At the beginning of the war in 1914, the USA was still a neutral country, but despite its neutrality, this large military hospital was offered to the French authorities alongside thousands of volunteers. An unprecedented flow of American donations followed. (It was estimated that nearly a billion dollars in today’s conversion rates was raised to finance the conversion of Lycée Pasteur, the ambulance fleet, field hospitals and humanitarian aid.) French infantry charge, 1914. (C) Public Domain
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Lead photo credit : American Hospital of Paris. (C) Public Domain

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After some dreary years in the Civil Service, Marilyn realized her dream of living in Paris. She arrived in Paris in December 1967 and left in July 1969. From there she lived in Mallorca, London, Oman, and Dubai, where she moved with her husband and young son and worked for Gulf News, Khaleej Times and freelanced for Emirates Woman magazine. During this time she was also a ground stewardess for Middle East Airlines. For the past 18 years they've lived on the Isle of Wight.

Comments

  • David Mulligan
    2021-07-28 11:14:38
    David Mulligan
    I never knew that there was such a rich, fascinating history to this hospital in Paris. Thank you for writing the article.

    REPLY

    • Marilyn Brouwer
      2021-07-29 02:48:21
      Marilyn Brouwer
      Thanks David, I confess I found the story of Waldron Sumner intensely moving. If only he had survived a few more days.. Thank you again for your kind comment.

      REPLY

  • Barbara Roush
    2021-05-07 06:24:01
    Barbara Roush
    Sumner Jackson should have a street in Paris named after him!

    REPLY

    •  Marilyn Brouwer
      2021-05-09 09:04:47
      Marilyn Brouwer
      I have to agree Barbara. I found his story very emotional to read about and the price he had to pay for his bravery unbearably sad. Thank you for commenting.

      REPLY