Two Years in the Kindergarten Unit in France, 1919-1921: Glimpses into the Life of a Teacher


"It was in 1917, when news of the First World War spread over our country, that the young people were eager to have a part in helping Europe overcome the Kaiser and Germany. It was then that my sister Marion joined the YWCA to serve overseas. My sister Ruth and I met in New York to help her pack and leave for England. We saw her sail down the harbor in a ship painted in broken lines for the purpose of camouflage. There would be enemy submarines to be evaded on the ocean trip. At that moment I decided to have a part in this world struggle." Not long afterwards, a Kindergarten Unit was formed to work with the children in the bomb-shelled villages of France. Through the influence of a former teacher and because of her knowledge of the French language, the author was chosen. She spent the winter of 1918-1919 preparing for her mission and studying as a special student in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard.

This is not only the memoir of an intelligent, dedicated and patriotic young woman, but it is also a captivating narrative history of war-torn Europe. Additionally, it recounts the abilities and pride of that group of women in the Kindergarten Unit who ran their own operation at a time when suffrage was still struggling for acceptance here in the U.S. In later years after having four children, Rachel Clark Neumann went back to college (Columbia) to complete her degree and then launched one of the pioneer nursery schools in the state of Connecticut. She was chosen Mother of the Year for the state in 1953 and died in 1966.

Rachel Clark Neumann

2002, 5½x8½, paper, 138 pp.

ISBN: 9780788421600