Friendship Train, Box 55, 1947


Negative box 55 comes with two pencil marks; 4 dogs and 9 Palh baby.

Looking at the negatives, I do find 4 dog images and 9 baby images, reportedly from a Pahl cousin.

I also find 2 football images and 2 train images. The latter caught my attention as there were a lot of people and banners in these images.

COP/SJC Football, November 1947
COP/SJC Football, November 1947

Neither of these football images seem to have been copied or printed, I didn’t find them in Naranjado 1947 nor 1948.

As for the train images, they instantly triggered a memory for me.

I grew up in Europe (Belgium) post-WWII, and due to school and my professional activities then, I got to listen to war stories from many WWI, WWII veterans and resistance fighters.

As for the WWII aftermath impact on civilians, most information came from my parents and grandparents, but my mom was very much in tune with the worldwide impact, she followed international news through magazines and Pathé newsreels at the movies.

I remember she told me about the Marshall Plan, but also about this one event, where a train load of food was collected and shipped from the US to France and Italy. Their harvests had failed, and hunger was real.

I couldn’t know then that I would find images of this event, over 50 years later in Stockton, CA, in a photography negative collection I acquired.

Friendship Train, Nov 8, 1947, Stockton Downtown Station
Friendship Train, Nov 8, 1947, Stockton Downtown Station.

The luggage storage section of the now demolished Western Pacific Station is clearly visible in both images.

“The 1947 U.S.-to-Europe or American Friendship Train collected foods from American donors for transport to the people of France and Italy.

It provided desperately needed assistance in the aftermath of World War II, but was primarily a token gesture of goodwill, with stops across the U.S. ending at New York City, where it was received with a ticker tape parade prior to shipment to Europe. (Contemporaneous with the Marshall plan.)

Washington journalist Drew Pearson proposed the idea in his daily column “The Merry-Go-Round”, and other newspapers around the U.S. took up the cause.”

The Record covered the Stockton aspect of this effort in detail in few November 1947 editions, and that information can still be found online in aggregated articles.

For those that are new to this effort, there’s a link below to a YouTube video, in true Hollywood style, about the origin, execution and planning for this effort. The 30 second Stockton Downtown Station (Now ACE-Cabral Station) footage starts at minute 4:30 and ends around the fifth minute of this segment. I found if interesting to see all the banners and actually be able to read what they said.

/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfxWYNf97Hg (1947 Friendship train link)

As for Joel, he was not going to miss this. College of Pacific was involved in the drive, as well as many other schools and organizations in the City.

In 1949, France would organize the “Merci” or “Gratitude” train, one box-car from France to each US State, as a thank you for the 1947 Friendship train. Look it up.

/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZQmEqQJ9Lg (1949 Merci train link)

As for the rest of the images, there’s genealogical importance in the few images of one of Joel’s cousin’s baby. And babies are cute.

Pahl Baby, November 1947
Pahl Baby, November 1947
Pahl Baby, November 1947
Pahl Baby, November 1947
Pahl Baby, November 1947
Pahl Baby, November 1947
Pahl Baby, November 1947

The dog is most likely the family dog, Joel loves taking images of animals. Dogs are no exceptions, one of the first images he retained in 1938, was from his dog Butch.

Pahl family dog, 1947
Pahl family dog, 1947

Skipping a few of the images today, as they don’t add any further relevant information, mostly duplication of what’s there. Joel made sure he got the shots he wanted.

Cheers !


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