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Marshal Foch Day photograph collection

 Collection — Folder: SP143
Identifier: SP143

Scope and Contents

This collection includes black-and-white photographs taken during Marshall Foch Day in Indianapolis, Indiana on November 4, 1921, regarding Foch's arrival in the city, him congratulating the winner of the 25-mile race, the parade, and the cornerstone dedication for the American Legion National Headquarters. There is also an undated clipping of a photograph from the event.


  • 1921/11/04, undated

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Marshal Ferdinand Jean March Foch was the commander-in-chief of the Western Front at the end of World War I. He was born on October 2, 1851 in Tarbes, Hautes-Pyrenees, France to Napoléon and Marie-Jacqueline-Sophie (Dupré) Foch. He attended school in Tarbes, Rodez, Polignan, and at the Jesuit Collège Saint-Michel in Saint-Étienne before attending the Jesuit Collège Saint-Clement in Metz. He first entered the French army when the Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870, enlisting with the 4th Infantry Regiment, which did not see combat. Foch remained in the army after the war's end. In 1871, he studied at the École Polytechnique's school of artillery and in 1873, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the 24th Artillery Regiment in Tarbes. In 1876, Foch trained in cavalry school and in 1878, he became a captain. In 1879, he moved to Paris and became an assistant in the Central Personnel Service Depot of the artillery. Foch married Louise-Ursule-Julie Bienvenue (1860–1950) on October 14, 1883 in Paris and they had 4 children: Marie (1885-1972), Anne (1887-1981), Eugène (1888), and Germain (1889-1914). Foch took a course at the École Supérieure de Guerre in 1895 and served as an instructor there from 1895 to 1901.

Foch continued to rise steadily through the ranks, receiving promotions to lieutenant-colonel in 1898, colonel in 1903, and général de brigade in 1907. As a colonel, he served as regimental commander of the 35th Artillery Regiment (35e R.A) at Vannes and as général de brigade, he took command of the French War College, holding the position until 1911 when he was appointed général de division. In 1914, Foch took command of XX Corps at Nancy, and he had held this appointment for exactly one year when he led XX Corps into battle in August 1914 after World War I broke out. Commander-in-Chief Joffre then gave Foch command of the Ninth Army to impede the German invasion from Belgium and which won the Battle of the Marne under Foch's leadership. Four days after the Marne, Foche received word of the deaths of his son Germain amd son-in-law Paul Becourt. In 1915, Foch as given command of the Northery Army Group but heavy losses during the Artois Offensive and Battle of the Somme led to his removal from command. Joffre sent him to command Allied units on the Italian front, right before Joffre himself was fired from his position. Foch was relegated to advisory and study missions for a time, but his appointment as chief of the General Staff in 1917 returned him to a position of influence. After the launch of the great German offensive on March 21, 1918, Foch became the French commander-in-chief in April, gradually gaining command of the Allied forces, and was awarded the rank of marshal of France on August 6th. The Allies won the war before the end of the year and armistice was signed on November 11, 1918. Foch was hailed as a hero and celebrated by the Allies, which included his 1921 visit to the United States.

Foch was considered by many to be the most original military mind of his generation, especially after World War I. Collections of his lectures were published as Des Principes de la Guerre (On the Principles of War) in 1903, and De la Conduite de la Guerre (On the Conduct of War) in 1904. He died in Paris on March 10, 1929 and was buried at Les Invalides near Napoleon's tomb.

Sources: "Ferdinand Foch." Paris, France and Vicinity Marriage Banns, 1860-1902. Accessed December 10, 2021.

"Ferdinand Foch." Historic World Leaders. Gale Research, 1994. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2006. "Ferdinand Foch." Find A Grave Memorial. Accessed December 10, 2021.

Wikipedia. "Ferdinand Foch." Accessed December 10, 2021.

Historical Note

Marshal Ferdinand Foch was invited to tour the United States by the American Legion in 1921. He arrived in Indianapolis, Indiana, where the Legion's national headquarters are located, on November 4, 2021. A special train carrying the marshal arrived at Union Station in downtown Indianapolis in the morning, where he was greeted by Governor Warren T. McCray and Mayor Charles W. Jewett, as well as the official reception committee and 200 other people. Thousands also gathered outside the station. The party moved to the Claypool Hotel for a reception before the rest of the day's festivities, which included a 25-mile race, a governor's luncheon and tree planting at the Indianapolis Country Club, a parade to Monument Circle, a cornerstone dedication for the American Legion National Headquarters, and a mass meeting at Cadle Tabernacle that evening. Foch congratulated Eddie Hearns, the winner of the 25-mile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He later reviewed the parade, featuring National Guard units and American Legion posts from around the states, on Monument Circle and presented a wreath at the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument to be laid in honor of the fallen soldiers of the world war. Foch also received a gold medallion in honor of his service. He also officiated the dedication ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone for the American Legion National Headquarters building, the first structure of the World War Memorial Plaza. The cornerstone was from a bridge over the Marne River at Chateau Thierry, France that was defended against the Germans by American troops during the war. The cornerstone and a 16th-century pillar from the Belleau Cathedral that was used as an altar during the cornerstone dedication are housed in the American Legion Museum. Foch finished the day at a mass meeting at Cadle Tabernacle, where he spoke to a crowd of 14,000 with help of an interpreter, before returning to Union Station and leaving the city.


Items in the collection.

"Foch Attended Corner Stone Services for Legion Building." Indianapolis Star, March 31, 1929, 9. Accessed December 9, 2021. ProQuest.

Groome, Richard G. "Marshal Foch Day." In Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, 1994. Revised February 2021. Accessed December 9, 2021.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

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Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2021/12/10 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid created 2021/12/10 by Brittany Kropf.
Marshal Foch Day photograph collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.