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‘La Grande Moucherolle 8 Juin 1919’. Binkley (in uniform at right) and rest of the party resting.

In June Binkley’s diary entries start to become longer and more detailed. He took opportunities to observe French institutions: a day in the gallery at the Chambre des députés, and one observing a police court. He attended a feminist meeting in Lyon where women’s suffrage was discussed.

He had several trips away from Lyon. At the beginning of the month he was still in the south, at Nîmes, but he quickly returned to Lyon (regretting that an old man monopolized the conversation in his compartment “while a pretty girl languishe[d]”.) In the second week he and MM. Chaney, Fest and Champignon took a hiking trip to Vif and climbed La Grande Moucherolle. He claims they were the first to reach the summit that year.

But the most important trip was to Paris in the middle of June for a reunion of Stanford students and alumni. The banquet was addressed by Herbert Hoover, who gave a “serious and pessimistic speech on [the] present condition of affairs”. Hoover had gained international prominence during the war for his management of American relief efforts in Europe, and was now head of the new American Relief Administration. He was also developing his idea for a library collection on the war, which became the Hoover War Library at Stanford. He had engaged Ephraim D. Adams, professor of history at Stanford, to lead collecting activities in Paris.

Adams invited Binkley to lunch a couple of days after the banquet and offered him a job with the American Relief Administration, assisting in the collection of wartime publications in Paris. Binkley’s French was now good enough that he could act as interpreter. Binkley accepted on the spot. This was a pivotal moment in his career: he was drawn into majoring in history instead of law, into research on contemporary history (the war and the peace conference), into working with ephemeral publications, and into the job as Reference Librarian at the Hoover War Library which he held while writing his disseration on the peace conference in the mid-1920s. At the Hoover he developed his focus on documentation as a source for history, confronted the problem of deterioration of wood-pulp paper, and carried out his first experiments in microphotography for documentary reproduction – all themes that would define his scholarly activities for the rest of his short life. If Binkley had not lunched with Adams before catching the train back to Lyon on June 19, his career must have taken a very different course.

Back in Lyon he made arrangements to move out. He was still under military discipline, but new orders (prompted by Adams’ and Hoover’s request for his transfer to the American Relief Administration) come through. On June 28th he notes the time of the German signing of the treaty at Versailles, goes downtown to see the torchlit parade (noting that enhusiasm was not as high as on Armistice Day), and ends his entry: “War is over”.

Only one opera (or perhaps a play): The Marriage of Figaro, in Paris, bringing his total to 38 performances for the year. In Lyon there are more mentions of concerts than in previous months.

Diary: June, 1919

  • Wander thru town with sketch book -- see Arena -- Maison Caree, and park, which is good -- sketch in park -- lunch at Foyer -- "cow fight" in arena men pick of<f> cocards for prizes -- play matador & fool around with sacks of straw -- Leave at 6:30 and go to Tarascon -- from Tarascon to Avignon -- old man keeps chattering to me while pretty girl languishes -- Get 1st class express to Lyon & hide out on it in darkened compartment


    In Provence and Languedoc, including in the Arena at Nîmes, there are bloodless bullfights in which a rosette (cocarde) is snatched from between the bull's horns. (Wikipedia) Binkley’s ticket for the Arena is preserved in his photo album.

  • Get to class late -- Session of University de Gourguillon -- Spend evening with Alliods. Write to Dale, and write home.

  • Early to class-- Lecture at 5:00 on French politics. Regular course at Univ. de Gourguillon

  • Late to class but am admitted by special privilege -- Eat at Foyer au Soldat. At meeting of Student Body debate on Y.M.C.A. women is held. Y. man asked to leave room. Good arguments on hot note by Bronson. I get pass to Chamonix signed. Buy Jungle Book -- go down town with Alliods on way to Berlitz -- Marshall gives report -- Pocillon raves on art for arts sake. Go out to Park -- am picked up twice. Take second to speech making at Bourse du Travail. The songs of the ouvrier -- Their ideas -- do not believe in crushing Germany. Do not get home till 1:00 on account of delay by pick-up.

  • Art class in order to collect money, but checks are all gone. so I fail again -- trade in clothes. play bridge with Branson & his girl. Y. girls prepare to go. I go out to Pont d'Ecully, and drink Beaujolais.

  • M. Cheney invites me on an alpine walking tour. I collect 36 f commutation. Van comes -- dinner at Bill Tells, and long session with Alliods in evening.

  • Get ready for trip to Alps. Break news to Marthe by strategy -- "Je vous confie mon papa" -- M. Cheney & I start out -- crowd at station -- We get compartment. Dauphinoise arrives -- I get nails in shoes in Grenoble. Take train to Vif. Hike in moonlight -- to little village -- a bite to eat and then to bed -- M. Cheney is botanist

    Champignon is called the Gasgogne


    La Dauphinoise is Léa Laurent (Binkley spells her name “Lorent”), a friend of the Alliods from Grenoble in the Dauphiné district. Marthe Alliod teased her about her background; she joked in a letter to Binkley when Laurent had returned to Lyon: “la Dauphinoise, qui a pu par miracle échapper une fois de plus aux assassins, ses compatriotes” (“la Dauphinoise, who has once again miraculously escaped those murderers, her compatriots”). 1

    1. Doc. 66: Marthe Alliod to RCB, 1919-11-10.↩︎

  • Get up at 4:30, & breakfast. En route by 6:30. I give M. Cheney some wine and he gets sick. He picks flowers all the time & calls them by their latin names. Am. man turns back as we hit chimney. M. Fest gets cramps. Snow \in chimney/. Guide & Chef, M. Matheiri, an old timer, quarrels & domineers. M. Cheney is chief victim. Leave Fest at Col & ascend the Moucherol. M. Cheney leaves his pack & is scolded. First to reach top in 1919. Go back with Cheney for Fest while rest descend by other route. We find our way to valley and to town of Villard le Ban. Plan next days trip in evening. "Alpinists are the noblesse"


    The photograph at the top of this post shows the party resting on the mountainside during this climb. Binkley is in uniform. It appears that the figure second from the right is a woman, and therefore must be Léa Laurent (La Dauphinoise).

  • Start out for Col de l’Arc but get sent on wrong trail by a child and hit Col Vert -- which is just as good. Paul acts as guide. Get milk at farmhouse & shock Mademoiselle by drinking lots. Finally reach village of Varre [?] & take train. At Lyon we descend while train waits before crossing Rhone, leaving Champignon without a ticket. Spend a moment chez Fest, and then climb the hill -- to find Captain Berl in camp. I have a wonderful sunburn.

  • Receive pay -- 900 francs in morning. Get away with Quarters Commutation. Lunch with Berl & Dan at Guillaume Tells. Fool around place Bellecour. Letter from Armand announcing his visit Thursday. Supper with Alliods. but Van Every does not come. Attempt at music led by Dan Deever not very successful -- "Ça c'est bien Americain."

    Capt has tears in his voice as he says goodbye

    Pay Deever -- loan Capt Berl 100 f.

    I'll never forget how Berl got worked up about the old college songs.

  • Van arrives early in morning. Is properly scolded. Jeannette refuses to embrace him. She tells of wild adventures at Nice with woman who has made practice of conquering American officers. Breakfast with Deever.

    Buy book of Poe and give it to Chaney.

  • Go to art class -- buy Malaga and Muscat and glasses -- Armand comes -- we eat together. go out on lake -- Plan to be together in Paris. Boat ride on Lake in park. He writes note to Brunson.

    Read Poe in evening with Jeannette.

  • Get up late -- sign pay roll -- go to isle Barbe at tomb de Castellan. Bronson married. Read Poe at night. M. Alliod reads The Tell tale Heart. Drink a little Malaga.


    The tomb of Boniface de Castellane (d.1862) in Caluire-et-Cuire, opposite the Île Barbe in the Saône.

  • Go down to station with Mlle Marthe & meet Mlle Mason -- Go to cours Morand, & St Jean, & then Bourse & Hotel de Ville. -- Lunch & then see Fourviere. Supper in front of chef d'oeuvre de Lernot.

  • Go to Protestant temple with Albertine -- Sermon on Christ the Victor -- very good -- See her off on train. She tells stories of office & dossiers.

    Go to Franchville -- nothing much.

    Feminist meeting in evening. Young one from Puy de Dome speaks, with lots of manners -- "trés [sic] femme" -- Lolier [?] Lyonnaise resent her story of work in Midi, & crush her with statistics from 1911 while she chats very amiably with venerable conseillar s??????pole. I meet young aquaintance of evening at theatre and his two girl friends & mother -- very gay outfit

  • Beaux Arts -- Cheney meets me and gives me 12. f. & invites me to dinner -- They like my Tobacco & invite me for Sunday. I take train at 10:15 and ride to Paris with jolly sailor lads

    Spend afternoon waiting in Mayors office for ticket to Chamber of Deputies

  • Find L.O.E. cantine closed. Louvre not yet open. Walk in Tuilleries with R.C. girl. Go to commissary. Meet Van at Union -- Buy books Go to Chamber of Deputies After long wait am admitted.

    Fight on calendar -- dividing vote by cards in urns.

    Interpellation on troops in east. Attitude of Left. Sardonic laughter. Interruptions. Efforts of Deschanel to keep peace. Pichon's report. Fight between Action Francaise and Humanité.

    Stanford banquet. Meet Mr. & Mrs Adams -- Herbert Hoover. gives serious and pessimistic speech on present condition of affairs. Adams invites me to lunch. Meet lots of the fellows. Graham, Van Every -- who is transferred -- Needham & Reg Caughey -- who is penitent. go to Red Cross at Champ de Mars. Take "Canadian nurse" home

    <at top> Gare de Mmartre[?] -- 9:45 -- corner near book stand


    The compte rendu shows that Paul Deschanel presided in the Chamber of Deputies. There was a debate about the “precipitate evacuation” of Odessa by French troops, in which Stephen Pichon, minister of foreign affairs, spoke in defence of France’s support for the anti-Bolshevik forces, with frequent interruptions from the extreme left benches. Marcel Cachin, editor of L’Humanité and member of the socialist SFIO, interrupted Pichon, and Jean Longuet of the SFIO (Karl Marx’s grandson) denied any legitimacy to France’s support for Kolchak: “There’s nothing there but your money and your machine guns!” This led to protestations et bruit.

    The Stanford banquet was held at the American University Club, with roughly 70 attendees. The SSU 578 members Binkley met there were Chalmers G. Graham, Dale Van Every and Roy E. Needham or his brother Guy. Reg Caughey was a star in various sports at Stanford, and member of the US Olympic team in 1920. He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Field Artillery, but seems not to have got closer to the front than Kentucky – perhaps the reason for his penitence. He was in Paris for the Inter-Allied Games, where he won the shot-put competition.

  • Rush to station -- Coullomieres -- to old Hotel du Dauphine -- Meet Mimi at noon much to her embarassment. read Marriage of Figaro. Meet Mimi after work. Small boys expect to see something -- walk home -- Eat supper with family and then go to decorate graves -- well taken care of by French --

    Story of the scrap with her sister, & with all the others -- Sidonie -- Mimi tries to learn new songs


    Binkley's ambulance unit, SSU 578, had been stationed at Coulommiers for a couple of weeks in June 1918, bringing wounded from the front lines to the hospital at Chateau Montanglaust (where they took a group photo) and from there to the hospital trains for transfer to Paris. He evidently met Mimi then (I know no more about her), and the graves they visited were no doubt those of American soldiers who had died at the hospital.

  • Walk to station with merry crowd, who chatter about everything -- Call out as they pass each other's houses -- Sidonie again. Meet mail man -- Read papers on way to Paris -- Rush thru city, and meet Adams just at noon. Prof offers me job with him, and I accept. See Mariage de Figaro. Go to Montmartre -- send post cards -- Find seat at train -- talk with demoiselle, who is later willing -- Interruption by two horrible examples. Sleep on wood at Lyon cantine.


    This was beyond doubt the most consequential lunch of Binkley’s life.

  • Get up too early, and loaf around -- do not feel very good. Find that M. Vaelliod lives in Lyon. I have missed a roll call. by an hour -- lots of mail -- Hold long session with Alliods.

    M. Alliod tells me to warn my compatriots against epileptic.

  • Spend morning wasting time at office. Go and see M. Vailliod -- have tea with him and wife. He gives me lots of good dope for Prof. Adams. short school lesson --

    -- in morning, Mlle tells me confidentially about Mlle Lorent -- jealousy is a hell of a thing

  • Join the Chaneys at 10 a.m. -- go to St. Genis, & walk to farm of their aunt fine lunch and then walk over property -- play with kids and steal eat fruit -- Have pleasant time with family upon return. All getting ready for examination.

  • Go to Beaux Arts -- read Hist of Art for all morning -- give maubes[?] to Suzanne -- which does not please her -- Walk home with Marg -- go out to Parc with Marthe & Jeannette -- see Dan with two women -- Examination on history of art -- Speech by Colonel on same old question -- Short evening chez Alliods.

  • Jeannette fête. I gather in a lot of gift cigarettes. Write long letter home. Have session in afternoon. Marthe makes confidences about her old love. Dinner in evening with family. Go down town to see if there is demonstration for peace being signed nothing \much/. Only cannon sounded at noon.

  • Get up late -- find that orders have come from Tours -- Strangely go to sleep again in evening -- Am bawled out.

  • Take back books to library -- Go to art class, -- arrange to give schol prize -- Hear police court session. Two months for disturbing peace, 18 mois for stealing 6½ francs. Woman remanded -- Maid who stole 3 shirts put on probation -- Automobilists --

    Go to music with Marthe & Jeannette -- M. Chaney picks me up and takes me to supper -- Tease Marguerite on her answers in art exam -- Cicero great artist -- The plant that eats men.

  • Get coffee chez Alliods -- Go to town -- to cash Berl's check -- give money to Page's land lady. Go to Catholic ceremony. Evening chez Chaneys Go to musicale with them -- Marg. shows cherry eating trick -- get home late. Pack up all my stuff.

  • Old man Alliod has day off -- We take walk to St Bonnett -- Peace signed at 3:12 as we finish lunch. We steal hatchet from farmer who cheats us -- Cherries on the hill -- Return to town & see retreat aux flambeaux. Evans & Deever make great stir. Enthusiasm not up to Armistice Day --

    War is over

  • See Page in morning -- get diplomas in evening. Go down town with Alliods -- Fireworks in Place Bellerou end in riot. Marorass offers me his these

    Get orders made out & stamped -- check baggage. All ship shape, ready to pull out.

  • Buy music & book in morning. Paid off Spend afternoon with Jeannette -- walk in town, mailing joke on Deever -- Meet Maroras and accept his these. ascribe voice to his health. See Chaney family for an hour -- Old Man Alliod uses precautions to delib [?] Mlle Lorent, consulting me in cave. We go up and hear music for a while. Returning play & talk till midnight. I get Brunson to change service record.

    Woman in market gives me butter.