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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

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

Warren Goldstein

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300102215.003.0001

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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