Utah Department of Administrative Services

Division of Archives & Records Service

Series 20732

Governor Lee French Merci Train gifts

Dates: 1949.

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These records are housed in the Utah State Archives' permanent storage room.

Historical Note

An agency history is available.

Scope and Content

This series contains items from the French Merci Train presented to the State of Utah from the people of France in 1949. Among the gifts preserved in the series are a number of books, (all in French and mostly relating to France, French history, and World War I), artwork, various medals, and cloth stars, hand embroidered with French and American place names.

In 1947 a train, dubbed the "Friendship Train" traveled across the United States collecting supplies to be sent to the aid of war-devastated Europe. The Merci Train was a gesture of gratitude from the people of France to the people of the United States for this aid given in time of need. The Merci Train or Gratitude Train consisted of 49 boxcars, one for each of the 48 states and one to be divided between the District of Columbia and the Territory of Hawaii. The gifts that filled the boxcars included a wide variety of items donated by the people of France. The Salt Lake Tribune noted that among the items in the Utah boxcar were "native costumes from all sections of France, as well as many finely costumed dolls, a book of paintings on silk, wooden shoes, vases and crystal, books, lingerie, wine, historic souvenirs, lace and many 'thank you' gifts made by the children of France". Items from the boxcar were apparently distributed throughout Utah and some items were displayed in the State Capitol. The ultimate fate of most of the items is unknown. The boxcar itself stood on display in Memory Grove in Salt Lake City for many years. A couple of placards included in the series suggest that the items in this series were on display at some point, possibly in the Capitol. The items ultimately became associated with Governor Lee's office because Governor Lee officially accepted the gifts on behalf of the State in a ceremony on February 22, 1949 and appointed a committee to oversee the distribution of the gifts. The series is most important as documentation of the contents of the Merci Train.

Arrangement

None.

This series has no systematic arrangement, except that the books and artwork are stored separately from the rest of the artifacts.

Research Note

Because the items in this series have value primarily as artifacts rather than as documents, the series has not been microfilmed. Although Governor Lee accepted the Merci Train boxcar for the State of Utah and appointed a committee to distribute the gifts from the train, his papers contain only a few documents relating to the train. The whereabouts of records for the Utah Merci Train committees is unknown.

Related Records

Correspondence from the Governor Lee, Series 211, contains the bulk of Governor Lee's correspondence, including documents relating to the French Merci Train.

Newspaper clippings from the Governor Lee, Series 214, includes newspaper accounts of the 1956 gubernatorial campaign, along with articles about issues facing state government at the time.

Press releases from the Governor Lee, Series 215, contains statements issued to the press by Governor Lee's office, as well as correspondence between Lee and members of the news media.

Proclamations from the Governor Lee, Series 216, contains official proclamations issued by Governor Lee.

Speeches from the Governor Lee, Series 217, includes the text Governor Lee's speeches, correspondence in reaction to his speeches, and resource material for writing speeches.

Miscellaneous committee reports from the Governor Lee, Series 13852, includes committee reports submitted to Governor Lee.

Extradition case files from the Governor Lee, Series 23594, contains files on two extradition cases handled by Governor Lee.

Access Restrictions

This series is classified as Public.

Preferred Citation

Cite the Utah State Archives and Records Service, the creating agency name, the series title, and the series number.

Processing Note

This series was kept because of the intrinsic value of the items it contains. It was processed by Alan Barnett in December 2003.

Indexing Terms

  • Legislation--Utah.
  • Legislation--Utah.
  • Governors--Utah.
  • Utah--Politics and government.

Container List

BOX ITEM DESCRIPTION
1 1 [Art print by E. L. Cousyn under glass]
1 2 La France De Louis XIV par Peirre Gaxotte
1 3 Le Forces De L'industry par Louis Bourdeau
1 4 Les Plus Belles Cathedrales De France, L'abbe J.-J. Bourasse
1 5 En Normandie: De La Dives Au Mont-Saint-Michel
1 6 Images Bretonnes
1 7 Fais ce que Dois, Charles Simond
1 8 Le Huetième Arrondissement: Souvenirs D'hier et D'aujourd'hui
1 9 Richesses De Vaucluse
1 10 La Vierge Et L'enfant Dans L'art Frantais, Maurice Vloberg
1 11 Le Miroir, 7 Janvier 1917 - 30 Dècembre 1917
2 1 "Interpretation of the Emblem of the United States" [colored wood block print by R. Louis and A. Herry]
2 2 Cent Beaux Aspects Du Réseau P. L. M. [A Hundred Fine Views Around the Line P. L. M.]
2 3 Jeanne D'Arc par Gabriel Hanotaux
3 1 Le Visage de la France
3 2 L'ami Fritz par Erckmann-Chatrian
4 1 Amiens 1914-1918, Albert Chatelle
4 2 Le Musée D'Art: Histoire Générale de l'Art au Nine Siécle
5 1 [Hand-beaded hat]
5 2 [Commemorative silver medal in a case, "Reconaissance De L'Association Des Mutiles Des Yeux De France & Des Colonies"]
5 3 [Commemorative silver standing medallion, "Napoleon I"]
5 4 [Leaf-shaped brass clip]
5 5 [World War I ribbon and medal, "Republique Francaise, 1914,1917"]
5 6 [18 Cloth stars embroidered with French and American place names, "Akron", "Alsace" (2 stars), "BARR", "Chicago", "Colmar" (2 stars), "Echery", "Lièpvre" (2 stars), "Lille", "Little" (?), "Maine", "New York", "Origon" (?), "Paris", "Rombach", "St Croix a/M"]