J. Gardner Bartlett (1872-1927) and his wife Elizabeth French Bartlett (1877-1961) were an American husband/wife genealogical research team who lived in Cambridge, Mass. They did not marry until 1927, when Elizabeth was 40 and Gardner 44. Both had lived for long stretches in London, and both spent a part of World War I in that city. So when they set out to tour the battlefields and ruined cities of France and Germany in February 1921, about two-and-a-half years after Armistice Day (Nov. 11, 1918), they were no doubt familiar with war-torn Europe. Yet they were eager to experience, for the first time, “the delights of Paris”—1921 is also the year that Hemingway moved to Paris with his first wife, Hadley—and to continue on to Monte Carlo where they hoped to “break the bank.” In between they made a 250-mile road trip through the battlefields and bombed cities of France, at times following the Marne. They also walked in the trenches, dugouts and shell holes. “The ruined city” of Rheims “by the bright moonlight was a wonderfully weird sight,” Gardner writes.
For more descriptions of France after WWI, please read Gardner’s interesting letter above.
Gardner died in 1927, after writing numerous books of genealogy, and Elizabeth lived for another 34 years.