OriginsThe Society was founded by Stuart Wells Jackson, a leading Lafayette collector, who enlisted the valuable support of Judge Walter P. Gardner, also a possessor of an important Lafayette collection. With eleven other enthusiastic admirers of General the Marquis de Lafayette, they formed The American Friends of Lafayette on May 20, 1932 at Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania. One of the greatest colleges in America, this distinguished institution is the depository of The American Friends of Lafayette historical documents and memorabilia. It consists of more than 2,000 catalogued items-books, pamphlets, articles, manuscripts, engravings, prints, and scores of other memorabilia.
The American Friends of Lafayette is an historical and patriotic society dedicated to the memory of Major General Gilbert Motier, Marquis de Lafayette and to the study of his life and times in America and France.
Annual MeetingsMeeting once a year, we choose a place of historical importance like Valley Forge and Williamsburg where we reserve hotel accommodations for one or two nights; we tour Revolutionary War sites associated with General Lafayette; we encourage members to do research and share knowledge through discussions; we plan community projects like essay contests open to Lafayette College students to emphasize Lafayette's contributions to American democracy; we have a dinner with a guest speaker; and we conclude our annual meeting on the final day.
* Tour Revolutionary War sites associated with General Lafayette
* Encourage members to do research and share knowledge through discussions
* Plan community projects like essay contests to emphasize his contributions to American democracy
* Have a dinner with speakers
* Conclude with a member business meeting
Besides the annual meeting, the Society of American Friends of Lafayette participates in two other very important annual events:
1) The Society is one of the thirteen original associations that sponsors the Yorktown Day Celebration on October 19th of each year in Yorktown, Virginia. It commemorates General George Washington's Allied American and French troops' victory over Cornwallis on October 19, 1781. Memorial wreaths are placed at the Monument to Alliance and Victory by various societies. AFL is the lead sponsor in 2017.
Beginning in 2015 - the Society became the lead organizer for laying the wreath and presenting honors at the French Cemetery, 8:45am
The annual Yorktown Day Celebration has evolved into a second annual meeting of several members of AFL from around the country.
2) Ever since 1946, the Society has participated in the annual July 4th ceremony at Picpus Cemetery in Paris. At this time, the American flag, which flies over Lafayette's grave, is replaced by a new flag, and the Society, along with a few other dignitaries and societies, places a wreath on his tomb.