Dear Friend of Lafayette,
This year, 2017, is an important year for Lafayette’s legacy and a “huge” year for the AFL.
As for General Lafayette, it is the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the American Expeditionary Force in France and of Colonel Charles E. Stanton’s iconic statement at the conclusion of his speech at Picpus Cemetery on July 4, 1917 – “Lafayette, we are here!” See article reprinted with the permission of Lafayette College.
2017 is also the 260th anniversary of Lafayette’s birth and the 240th anniversary of Lafayette’s arrival at Georgetown, South Carolina to join the cause of the American insurgents.
This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the Gazette of the American Friends of Lafayette. See reprint of Volume One, No. 1: February, 1942. The editor was Professor Frank Monaghan, a Yale historian.
He described the Gazette as follows:
One of the chief purposes of the GAZETTE is to keep all persons interested in working on Lafayette and his era in touch with each other. We hope that all such persons will become active members of the Society, but in any event we think we shall become the clearing house for all those who seek scholarly aid and who wish to give similar assistance. The Editor will try to set aside a column or two in each issue of the GAZETTE for notes and queries that fall within the scope of the interests of members of the Society. Please send your contributions in, but please be brief. Otherwise the Editor will get out a blue pencil – hoping to retain the sense, but determined to conserve space.
Judging from the length of our last several Gazettes, I clearly have to invest in a set of blue pencils.
As I said, 2017 is a huge year for our Society. Thanks to the efforts of Secretary Bonnie Fritz, we now have a new and improved website.
As part of the process of updating the site, we have included the last 17 Gazettes and a link to Lafayette College’s digital collections where you can find numbers 1 to 68.
As of this printing, members of the AFL have participated in a series of events.
We were guests of the Grolier Club for a cocktail reception and tour of the exhibition: “‘A True Friend of the Cause,’ Lafayette and the Antislavery Movement” curated by Diane Windham Shaw and Olga Anna Duhl on January 30, 2017 and enjoyed a wonderful guided tour given by Professor Duhl on the following day. This was a joint event with area Lafayette College alumni; and my aide de camp, Chuck Schwam, on my orders, recruited seven alumni/ae as AFL members. See article.
On March 14, 2017, AFL members participated in the Virginia Lafayette Day celebration.
Also, in Virginia, the AFL is participated in the new American Revolution Museum’s “State Days.” AFL members – many from the states of the day which comprise the original 13 – sat at an AFL desk and provided information about their state’s role in the American Revolution and about our society.
On May 10, with the assistance and encouragement of Stephen Parahus, who joined the AFL after the Grolier Club event, the AFL will conduct commemorative exercises on the 100th anniversary of the dedication of Daniel Chester French’s Lafayette Monument in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York.
In June we will convene our annual meeting in Bethlehem, PA, Lafayette College and Philadelphia. We are preparing a wonderful program, and we are working on a special AFL publication to be hand-delivered to all attendees.
In July the AFL will place its traditional wreath at Picpus Cemetery during the 100th anniversary of Colonel Stanton’s stirring speech.
Finally, the piéce de résistance for the AFL this year may be the Yorktown Day festivities. This year, the AFL will dedicate the Lafayette Statue on the Riverwalk and participate in “Lafayette Day” events sponsored by the new museum on October 18. In addition, as one of the 13 sponsoring societies, this year the AFL has the privilege of organizing the traditional Yorktown Day dinner and ceremonies on the 18th and 19th.
I hope that many of you will be able to join us at these various and important events.
Alan R. Hoffman,