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Commemorating the Great War: Paul Cret’s Cemeteries and Memorials in Europe

Commemorating the Great War:  Paul Cret’s Cemeteries and Memorials in Europe
Thursday, November 30th, 6:00-7:30PM in The Hamilton Mansion at The Woodlands

A lecture with architectural historians Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie from the Heritage Documentation Program (HDP) of the National Park Service. Their work on Paul Cret and the ABMC is part of a multi-year documentation effort by ABMC and HDP. 

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In the aftermath of World War I, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) was established to enhance the overseas military cemeteries for the fallen and erect memorials to the combat accomplishments of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF).  In 1925 ABMC retained Paul Philippe Cret as their consulting architect.  He subsequently guided every aspect of their ambitious construction program, including designing the permanent headstones used for overseas American burials. 

ABMC and Cret oversaw major improvements to the eight World War I cemeteries established by the U.S. War Department in France, England, and Belgium as well as construction of eleven unique monuments.  In addition to personally designing Flanders Field Cemetery in Belgium and Chateau-Thierry and Bellicourt Monuments in France, Cret supervised an impressive roster of his architectural contemporaries, including John Russell Pope, Ralph Adams Cram, and George Howe.  Through Cret’s influence, the commemorative architecture and landscapes of the ABMC display a sophisticated Beaux Arts approach characteristic of some of the best interwar civic architecture.  This illustrated lecture will examine Cret’s crucial role in overseas military cemetery design after World War I as well as ABMC’s monument building program.

$10, $5 for members

This program is possible thanks to additional support from the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania