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William Sloane Coffin Jr.A Holy Impatience$
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Warren Goldstein

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780300102215

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300102215.001.0001

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Prologue The Great War, Greenwich Village, and the Upper East Side

Prologue The Great War, Greenwich Village, and the Upper East Side

(p.1) Prologue The Great War, Greenwich Village, and the Upper East Side
William Sloane Coffin Jr.

Warren Goldstein

Yale University Press

This chapter talks about World War I and how it scarred a continent and an entire generation. For thousands of Americans, however, particularly those whose service lay outside the trenches, the Great War was a crusade, the crowning experience of the Progressive movement. For the thirty-eight-year-old bachelor William Sloane Coffin, the war provided “a great opportunity for a service that is certainly most appreciated.” The Yale-educated Coffin was on a leave from his position as a vice-president of W. & J. Sloane and Company and from his life as a well-known New York City businessman, philanthropist, and real estate developer. Too old for the army, Coffin had signed on with the Foyers du Soldat, a Paris-based morale agency financed by the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). In France, Coffin helped set up rest centers near the lines that gave soldiers a touch of home: cigarettes, coffee, hot chocolate, letter-writing materials, occasional entertainment, and every now and then, a woman's face.

Keywords:   crusade, World War I, Americans, Great War, crowning experience, Progressive movement

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