Date in History: 1940s

In 1948, when news reached ordinary Americans about the personal hardships that the French continued to suffer in the wake of World War II, American citizens acted, delivery 700 railroad cars of supplies to the people of France. A year later, the French responded in kind as the Merci Train arrived in New York in February, 1949.

Though they had precious little to spare, individual French citizens managed to fill 49 boxcars with personal gifts of gratitude such as wedding dresses, war medals and dolls. Each of the then 48 states received a boxcar. In fact, Wisconsin’s car is currently on display at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay. Some of the gifts from that boxcar have found their way into the collection of the Hoard Museum including handkerchiefs, a warming pan and slippers.

This historic document aired on the radio as an Historic Minute on 07/05/2004.