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November 11, 1920

On the anniversary of the Armistice, the college welcomed the “French tank” to the campus. The 40-ton, camouflaged Saint-Charmond tank had been put out of commission by a German shell in 1918 at the battle of Chateau-Thierry while leading American forces to an Allied victory. A gift from the French government, it commemorated the services of some 150 Vassar women in France during World War I and its aftermath.

In a “christening” celebration, the students marched around the tank carrying French and American flags and singing the “Marseillaise” and “The Star Spangled Banner.” Among the speakers were Margaret Lambie ’07, the leader of the “Vassar Unit” that served near Verdun, J. A. M. de Sanchez, head of the Economic Division of the French Commission in the United States and President MacCracken. Mireille Holland ’22 spoke for the student body, in French.

The tank stood between Jewett and Josselyn halls, a memorial, landmark, hideout and faculty children’s plaything, until it was removed in the summer of 1934.

The Years