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Envelope of Marthe Alliod’s letter to Binkley (in her usual purple ink), after his farewell visit to Lyon, 19 Sept. 1919.

Binkley worked mostly on collecting the wartime publications of French societies this month: Feministes Universitaires, Les Amis de l’Espagne, Anti-Maconic Association, and many others. Adams lists holdings from 111 such societies in the Hoover’s collection as of 1921.1 Binkley enjoys giving the impression that some have grand names but very small establishments: “Confederation Generale du Travail is not at home but I think I can get results from him”. In between his society visits he goes “delegationing” with Adams.

His range of office experience expanded, under the tutorship of Mrs. Adams. He dictated a letter for the first time, and started to learn shorthand. He continued to work on it for the rest of 1919 but did not master it.

In mid-October he kept his promise to the Alliod family, that he would not leave France without visiting them again in Lyon. It was a flying visit, one day between overnight trains from and to Paris.

His social energies now focus on two American women, Anne Purdy and Nancy Jordan, whom he met at the YMCA in August. He socialized with one or both several times during the month. Anne left France shortly after Binkley did, and wrote to him from Plymouth in October, lamenting that the Nieuw Amsterdam on which she was sailing carried only one enlisted man, who was accompanied by his wife – “I may have to get me a second lieutenant”.2 Ten years later, before his and Frances’ trip to Italy in 1929, Binkley tracked Nancy down in Pasadena. After many months she responded, and wrote that after returning to the US she had married, divorced, and was now raising a five-year-old while working as a social service case worker. “My mother died last April and since that time I have been boarding as being 300% woman is rather too much, 100% housekeeper, 100% mother and 100% business efficiency.” They had both lost touch with Anne, which they regretted. Binkley wrote: “The further away 1919 gets, the more precious it seems.”3

Around the end of the month he must have received a letter from a family friend named Molly in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He had evidently described his visits to the delegations and societies, and she summed up her impression of it:

Your work must be very interesting coming in personal contact with all those “ists”. I wonder what kind of an “ist” you will be till you see the states again. I hope a solid Americanist.

He had asked what she thought of the changes in the world such as the founding of the League of Nations. She summed up her thoughts, which accorded with his optimism:

What do I think of the League of Nations? I’m not sure what I think of it. You know it is harder for the people in this country to see the necessity of it than it is for you who are on the other side of the pond. I doubt if this country as a whole realized the attitude the European countries have toward one another. There’s any amount of just and unjust criticism today, but that is only natural after the period we passed thru. You know everybody was worked up to a high tension which suddenly snapped, and now we seem rather dizzy. Time will straighten matters out and we will all be benefited by the experience.

I fully agree with you that it is very nice to have been born in this generation. I’d hate to miss the excitement. We certainly have seen a great deal, let alone all the future has in store for us. It must have been horribly dull and uninteresting to have been young half a century ago.4

His entertainment budget continued to decline: he saw two movies, one evening at the theatre, and one opera.

At the end of the month he is packing for the move to England. The last day of September was his last full day in France.


  1. E.D. Adams, The Hoover War Collection at Stanford University, California; a Report and an Analysis ([Stanford University : Stanford University Press], 1921), pp. 19-22.

  2. Doc. 62: “Anne” to RCB, 25 Oct. 1919.

  3. Doc. 1828: RCB to to Nancy Jordan Reifel, 10 Dec. 1928.

  4. Doc. 59: “Molly” to RCB, 17 Sept. 1919.

Diary: September, 1919

  • Went out to Feminists Universitaires, -- catalogued everything in afternoon. Went to an Association Egyptienne in evening. Lutz is going to go all over Europe to gather materials. I have invited Anne Purdy to come to our boarding house.

  • Work down around Passy. Am ushered into swell House to talk to boss of Amis de l'Espagne. Go out to Levallois-Perret in evening, and am invited again for Sunday. G Dictate letter to Mrs Adams for first time in my life.

  • Pay Prof Adams for tickets to show and make refund on pay money. See Action Francaise & Comité Franco-Russ. Move to new office in Hotel Celtic. Go down in evening to call on girls, and spend pleasant evening.

  • Arrive late at new office -- partly on account of stopping for mail. Finish Societies. Go out to Economique Assn to get information on their documents. Union Francaise d'acheteuses promises me material Am forced to listen to a tale of woe by Mrs. Sampson, at Y.M.C.A., and miss supper on that account.

    Answer letters at night. Am disgusted with my new room.

  • Am given two jobs: -- to trace up Belgian freight and find out definitely whether we have everything for Economic Expansion Society. Do them.

    Lutz is going to stay with us, -- or rather to go to Poland and other countries looking for material. After six Lutz and I talk for a long time. He tells of wild adventures in Germany.

  • Go to Napoleonette in evening with Ralph Lutz & Mrs. Adams. Have jolly time. Bulgaria sends a wagon load of junk. Van Every writes that he is coming on Tuesday.

    Get lesson in Shorthand from Mrs. Adams & give her lesson in French -- not a very great success.

    Notes:

    Napoléonette: see Aug. 30

  • Get up at 9:30 Walk up town with Shillinglaw who shows me over his department. He tells of how, when distinct agents sent in letters crabbing about each other, he simply had copies made of the letters and fired them back.

    Write part of a letter home on the typewriter in the office, but don't get it finished. Must start laying in store for Van & the Captain.

    Go out to lunch at Noel’s, walk thru Bois and out to Rosarie. Very beautiful.

    Do some shorthand at night.

    Try to call on Anne, but she isn't there.

  • Finish Bulgaria, & carry duplicate down to rue Elysee. Eat lunch at restaurant.

    Go to see Nan in evening -- that's all.

  • Took typewriter down to Musée de la Guerre to begin copying addresses. Great disorganisation there. In afternoon go out to Comite de l'Oceanie Francaise and to Korean mission & Union des Acheteuses.

    Expect Van & Berl -- but they don't come -- study short hand in evening.

  • Copy addresses at Musee de la Guerre. Van comes in. Adams makes date for evening at cur's[?].

    W Berl tells of second division going in -- & of French officer at telephone. Lutz tells of talking to German soldiers who were there. Afterwards we talk over wine & cake in Berls room till very late. Berl asks for my release for a few days tactical error.

  • Work hard all day. Maison de la Presse promises me the books with lists of Political Parties, & book of journals. French typing at Musee de la guerre.

    Telegraph Alliod's that we are coming.

  • Go out with Prof. Adams in morning and secure promise of Holland for all official publications. Argentine & Brazil & Portugal do same in Afternoon. Georgian delegation agrees with pleasure. Georgian president cannot talk french so interpreting takes three steps.

    Then across town to representative of Assyria-Caucasus. Lot of telephoning which results in permission for him to have us ushered into another room to wait while he gets dressed. Alas, he can only speak Russian, Turkish, Armenian and a little Arabic, so we have difficulty with conversation.

  • Go Receive visit of Assyrian-Caucasian delegate. He brings woman who schemes at once for her own benefit in suggesting portraits of delegates. Rave about condition of country. Mrs. Adams disgusted. Go to Maison de la Press and get catalogues. No addresses. Leave for gare de Lyon at 6:30. Have to wait till 10:00. Take a half-uniform, and am scared all the time. Get in with American and several French sailors, grabbing reserved seats. Get away with it too. Talk about everything, Americans discussing all questions without using verbs.

  • Arrive Lyon 10:00 Get shaved, and run up to Alliods. Go down town with Marthe, and then eat long lunch. After lunch go to hotel with Van & Berl, & then visit Cheneys, who are peeved a little that I do not stay for supper. Alliods try desperately to make me miss train, but I don't give in. We all descend to ill Tell's. Drink hock. Then I say I must go, shake hands with the old man & kiss the women, and Berl gives me the kind of a grip that means something, saying "don't ever forget the old things."

    Goodby to Van too, & I rush off in the pouring rain. Goodbye Lyon.

    Notes:

    Binkley met the Alliods again ten years later when he and Frances stopped in Lyon on their way to Rome. He and Van Every collaborated for several years in the 1920s on a plan to publish a documentary history of the war (which came to nothing). He probably met Capt. Berl again at least once during his time in New York in 1927-29, and corresponded with him occasionally.

  • Sleep pretty well in train. -- Arrive Paris 10:30 instead of 8:00. Find that Colin has come thru with lots of good documents. Go out delegationing with Adams, nobody home. See Azerbayjahn in afternoon. & then go down to Hector Gaumard. of the "Concile d'initiative pour preparer les moyens à liquider les frais de la guerre etc.--" He is a crank, but a very good natured and seemingly cultured one. Gives me his full lecture. Then go to Womans Club, and then to Comité Plebiscitaire, where they treat me rudely. Go to see Nan at night.

    Notes:

    “Colin” is the bookseller (now a publishing house) Armand Colin.

  • See Socialist Peace Committee's wife, & leave note at Federation Mediteranean in morning. Go out with Dr. Adams to delegation of Circassia Daghistan in afternoon. Chili promises publications. I go to Action Sociale de la Femme -- find whole committee met to greet me. Get my passport started. Go out to Levallois Perret for my pictures, which are horrid, as I expected. Go down to Alliance universitaire and get their material late in evening. Letter from \Hyam/ Johnson and from Elizabeth.

  • Go to Commissary in Morning, & then to Action Francaise, which promises files for long time -- 1914-1919. Then go around to number of other societies. In evening Hermaniti seems to want to come thru with files. At "La plus grand famille" I am well received & promised everything and then fall down stairs.

    Dinner at Anne's and then on to work at stenography.

    Get lesson from Mrs. Adams noon. Let her read my diary.

  • Work most all day in office but at 3:00 go out to Passport bureau, and then to Ligue Anti-Austro-Allemand. Confederation Generale du Travail is not at home but I think I can get results from him.

    In evening Mrs. Adams invites me to go to show with them. Theatre is closed, so we go to very good movie instead.

  • President of Action Sociale de la Femme calls me up but central cuts us off. Go out in afternoon to get cards. Find that they have spelled my name wrong. He fixes up two or three for me anyway, and I call on Catholics, Jeune Republique, & Anti Macons: Then get some documents at the Maison de la Presse.

    Converse in evening with Mme. Courtoisnon and her lodger on risque topics.

    Buy trunk for 65 f. Get laundry.

  • Prof Adams & Mrs. Adams trot off to Versailles. I stay in office till 3:00 P.M. and then trot off to Action Francaise, which has nothing for me but the 6 months from Jan to June 1919 -- Better than nothing. I take copies to Thursinger in Maison de la Presse, and then go to Woman Suffrage woman, but can't get in. Call at Anne's after office, but she's not at home. Figure out life insurance Policies in evening. Plan to take 2000 30 year life and carry my 8000 term. Marthe Alliod sends me a dear letter, & a counsel picture counseling me not to tell her brother about it.

    Notes:

    Marthe Alliod’s letter was written the day before (Doc. 79). She was sending him a silk panel at Mme Courtoison’s rooms, and asked him not to mention it to her brother Claude (she doesn’t say why). This made it necessary to arrange for Binkley to acknowledge receiving the gift in a card to Mlle Laurent, who was staying with the Alliods and would pass the message on. She wishes him well in England and hopes that he will eat more, for she was distressed at how much weight he had lost in his two months in Paris. She calls herself his “petite maman de guerre”, and hopes that his own mother will not be jealous of her friendship with him.

  • A sad day -- autumny and cold. I do my shorthand by sheer will power in the morning and then go to office expecting to pound off letter on a typewriter, but find place locked. Go to Louvre, and finally come home and look thru Mme. Courtoisnon's library for something to read.

    Go down to see Nan and go to movies with her.

    J'Accuse, is very good -- but a little too grim.

  • Go out with Dr. Adams to look for Papal legate. Get into Vice Vicar's place, where we strike a very garrulous clergyman. He gives us Baudrillard's address. Society Propaganda continues to arrive. Look up André Weiss at Foreign Office. Inefficiency there.

    In evening go to Comedie Francaise, Parterre, 4 f seat. De Musset: Caprice, very dainty. L'Indiscret is wearisome.

    Ça devenait de plus en plus idiot says a general as he passes me

  • Go out to Catholic Seminary and find Monsigneur Baudrillart. He talks very pleasantly -- shows us Paris, tells us about his Seminary etc. Very pleasant visit. Afternoon see Ligue rational Francaise, and Comité Franco-Italienne. Results encouraging. Try to sell furniture.

    Evening return and write two pages of letter on typewriter. Talk politics with Serb for long time at night. Have coffee à la Serbe. My cards come at last.

  • Work draws toward end. Furniture sold in morning. Get material from Thuringer and promise from France Amerique.

    Afternoon go to Anti-Maconic Ass'n; and find that my trunk is gone -- sold --. Go down & see Nan in evening, and take walk.

    Also get bath in Y.

    Adams pays me 1000 francs. Rate of exchange left undecided.

  • Get material from Ligue National Francaise and then down to Passport Bureau. O.K. At Prefecture of Police find that more photos are needed. Adams goes off to get his. Then learn about certificate of domicile. And phone Adams & then chase it in taxi. order more photos. Get Ass'n Italo-Francaise material. Start packing up.

    Evening go to Police station for my certificate of residence. Talk with Commissariat, who becomes very nice when he learns that I am an American.

    Have tickets for Opera tomorrow. Going with Nan.

  • Finish typing cards, then go out & get pictures. Eat lunch on parapet. Go to prefecture, & try to cheat my way ahead, but don't succeed. Get my carte d'etranger just at 4, and can't get into visa office but American girl and 10 francs does the trick.

    Go to Werther at Opera comique with Nan.

  • Work all day boning [boxing?] up stuff. Write card thanking Alliods for pictures in tissue. In evening Prof. Adams makes me proposal of assistantship, to take care of collection if I work on my stenography. Hereafter I work.

  • Get hair cut -- then go to office and do a little work. Am invited to lunch but have to refuse on account of Nan, with whom I go to Louvre. Then home and make dinner, and Wally comes, & we talk and have a good time.

  • Finish packing. Give laundry to woman who promises for 9:00 \A.M./ Wed. Morning. Wait in Hotel till 4:00 for truck, and then get it myself. Go with truck to Champions, and then return to Celtic. English r.r. strike seems to be pretty bad & may hold us in Paris for some little time. Admire way England is rising to the emergency.

    See Y.M.C.A. girl at garden under the influence. It looked awful.

    Buy trunk for 99 f and suitcase for 45. Decide to finish writing letters if it takes all night.

  • Get carte d'etrangere and British visa, & report to Hotel Celtic. Lunch with Adam's, & then pack up. Go down to Nan's in evening and take her out to dinner.