Waldo Peirce sketching on the side of an ambulance, circa 1915-1916
Waldo Peirce sketching on the side of an ambulance, circa 1915-1916. Courtesy of the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs (AFS Archives.) This image cannot be reproduced outside the guidelines of United States Fair Use (17 U.S.C., Section 107) without advance permission from the AFS Archives.

In 1915, Harvard graduate Waldo Peirce volunteered as an ambulance driver with the American Field Service in France. After the war, Peirce went on to become an acclaimed artist with artwork in distinguished museums and private collections. Peirce painted a portrait of his lifelong friend Ernest Hemingway, which would appear on the cover of Time magazine in 1937. In a letter, Hemingway wrote about Peirce and his children: “he is only really happy when trying to paint with one setting fire to his beard and the other rubbing mashed potato into his canvasses. That represents fatherhood.” While he was never an ambulance driver with AFS, Hemingway did sign up as an ambulance driver with the Red Cross in Italy during World War I.

The image of Peirce shown above, as well as more information about his life, can be found in the “Rediscovering the Lost Generation” article on pages 11-13 of the Fall 2016 issue of the AFS Janus magazine.

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