1| May 13, 1916


May 13, 1916.
Mr. Luther Nelson,
919 St. Olaf Avenue,
NORTHFIELD, Minnesota.

Dear Sir:-


Replying to yours of the 13th instant, the enclosed circular will show you the status of the American Red Cross European Service. However, let me suggest that you offer your services to the American Ambulance in Paris, whose New York address is 14 Wall Street. The enclosed circular (green) will give you information regarding this service.



Very truly yours,
Robert U. Patterson
Major, Medical Corps, U.S. Army,
Chief of Bureau







    The American Red Cross has withdrawn all of its personnel from Europe with the exception of the American Red Cross Unit in Belgium, which will remain until May, 1916, when they will have completed one year’s service. The other Units formerly in Europe served for more than twelve months before they were recalled. The withdrawal of the personnel by the American Red Cross was necessitated by lack of funds.


    It is intended, however, to continue sending shipments of surgical, medical and hospital supplies to the Red Cross societies of the warring nations for the duration of the war, provided sufficient funds are available.


    The names of individuals who offer to serve the American Red Cross in case of hostilities involving our own country, will be place on file, for future reference.


Robert U. Patterson
Major, Medical Corps, U.S. Army,
Chief of Bureau


March 1, 1916



For The American Ambulance Hospital in France






Volunteers must be native born American citizens, between 21 and 35 years old, ablve to drive and repair automobiles. They must be able to refer to five or six persons of standing, such as physicians, lawyers, clergymen, bankers and professors, who will vouch for their American citizenship, their reliability, sobriety, industry and amenability to discipline. Volunteers must have clean records at college and afterward. Only men who are in sympathy with the Allies and wish to help them are wanted. There is no place for sight-seers or adventurers.

Term of Service. Six months. Preference is given to men who are able to stay in the service longer.

EXPENSES. Roughly it costs about $300 to remain in the service six months; $400 to remain a year. The itemized expense is as follows:

Transportation from New York to Paris…$75.00
Return transportation……………………………..75.00
Uniform and Equipment………………………….50.00
Incidental Expenses ($15.00 a month)…….90.00

Board and Lodging are furnished free of charge.
Incidental Expenses include tobacco, laundry, etc., and may be regulated by the volunteer. The opportunity to spend money is small.
Steamship Fares. A reduction of 30% is allowed by the French line to volunteers.
Uniforms are purchased in Paris at a cost for uniform, cap and overcoat of about $50.

EQUIPMENT. Travel as light as you can. Take with you three good quality olive drab flannel shirts (preferable without collars.) On pair Fox patent puttees, (olive drab). Two suits light underwear, two suits woolen underwear, long sleeves and arms. Six pairs medium weight woolen socks, hand-knitted best. Six pairs light weight lisle or cotton socks. Wear the latter next your feet and the woolen ones outside. Two pairs light woolen gloves (one of them in reserve), and good leather gloves to wear outside. Woolen muffler (olive drab). Woolen helmet (olive drab.) Shoes, two pairs; they can’t be too good. They out to be water-tight and well fitting and not too heavy. Have them high enough in the ankle so that your puttees will wind over them comfortably. Also a pair of comfortable slippers, heavy felt. Sweaters: One light and one medium weight sweater waistcoat, or a T-shirt. Toilet things: A good, compact leather roll for your brushes, razors, soap-box, etc. One dozen copies of the photograph 1 ½ inch x 2 ¼ inch that goes on your passport, for permits, licenses, identification cards, etc.

MONEY. If the amount is small, your money should be taken in cash (French gold or paper), if the amount is large- say $500 or $1,000 – in a draft on Morgan, Harjes & Co., Paris; intermediate amounts can conveniently be carried in American Express Company checks.

VACCINATION. Volunteers should be vaccinated before leaving.

TYHPOID INOCULATION. Volunteers must be inoculated for typhoid. Your doctor will tell you how to proceed. Inoculation requires about three weeks. Accepted applicants should take with them to Paris the doctor’s certificate showing that the regular prescribed inoculation has been given.

PASSPORTS. The State Department requires a letter from the Headquarters of the American Ambulance stating that the applicant is engaged in the service of the Ambulance. This letter will be sent after the preliminary correspondence. Application for a passport should be made to the clerk of the Federal Court of the District in which the applicant resides.

MEN ARE URGENTLY WANTED and should lose no time in sending in their applications.

FINAL ACCEPTANCE must rest with the New York Committee after a personal interview with the applicant. Preliminary correspondence and examination by representatives of the Committee should show quite conclusively whether the applicant will be acceptable or not.

INQUIRIES AND CORRESPONDENCE should be addressed to William R. Hereford, Headquarters American Ambulance, 14 Wall Street, New York.

FINAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SAILING. The applicant will report at the New York Headquarters before sailing and receive:

  1. A letter to the French Consul General who will visæ the passport.
  2. A letter to the French line which will grant a reduction of 30% in the fare.
  3. A letter of introduction to the Committee in Paris.
  4. A letter of credential in French.



Title: Letter 1, Robert U. Patterson to Luther Nelson
Date: 1916 May 13
Collection: RG1/051, Luther Nelson Collection, 1916-1918
Repository: Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs
Creator: Patterson, Robert U.
Publisher: Digitized by AFS staff in 2016.
Rights Statement: This item cannot be reproduced outside the guidelines of United States Fair Use (17 U.S.C., Section 107) without advance permission of the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs. In the event that this letter becomes a source for publication, a credit line indicating the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs is required.
Digital ID: 1_051_1