This photograph depicts recovering French officers with American doctors and nurses in one of the rooms at the American Ambulance Hospital at Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. The American Ambulance Hospital was established as the military branch of the American Hospital in Paris a century ago in August 1914, soon after the outbreak of World War I. The American Ambulance Hospital adapted the Lycée Pasteur, an unfinished school, to accommodate the wounded soldiers arriving from the front. Classrooms, such as the one depicted here, and other spaces of the school were transformed into hospital wards and offices. A classroom could hold eight beds a piece, and the gymnasium was turned into two big wards containing about 35 beds each.
The American Ambulance Hospital had a great reputation among the French. According to a patient who convalesced at the Hospital, many wounded soldiers would pray to be sent to “l’Américaine” (the American Ambulance Hospital) for recovery. The high quality service provided at the Hospital can also be associated with the large number of volunteers who worked there. American men and women answered the call to service by working as ambulance drivers, doctors, and nurses. One of the volunteers, A. Piatt Andrew, eventually organized a group of ambulance drivers from the Hospital into what became known as the American Ambulance Field Service.
For more information on the American Ambulance Hospital, check out the Item of the Month from November 2012 (below). Experiences at the Hospital are also recorded in the letters of volunteer Regis Post in the Regis Post Correspondence Collection here, and additional images of the Hospital can be viewed online here.