Merci Train - Delaware
Letters from the archives of the Delaware State Museum
P. 0. Box 710
August 25, 1950
Mme. G. Thuilleux
7 Rue Clement Roassal
My dear Mme. Thuilleux:
Two of the three objects from the French Gratitude Train sent to America in 1948 which were designated for the small state, Delaware, bear your name and address. We are so pleased to have this, so as to know where these prized objects came from.
It is very interesting for us in America to see examples of faience from one of the well-known pottery works of your country. The fact that the design on these two square dishes is definitely Renaissance in character, shows that the factory was, no doubt, in existence several centuries ago.
If you have any special information about the woks of this Pottery or can tell us any story about these two particular dishes formerly in your possession we should be most pleased to hear from you. I assume that they may have been family treasures which you parted with. If so, we are particularly grateful, knowing that the sentiment expressed was deeper and more friendly than if they had been something to which you had no attachment. At any rate they have and are conveying the message of you and your people. And we thank you most sincerely.
The Delaware State Museum expects to open its doors by the first of November. Sometime within this first year, I hope we shall show your two gifts and the r.g1l.gf French wallpaper from Paris with the French flag and other explanatory material for our visitors' pleasure and instruction.
This conveys my personal expression of friendship and appreciation to you.
Helen S. Johnson Curator
P.S. Under separate cover I am sending a booklet about our State and one about our capital city where the Delaware State Museum is located.
Translation of reply from Mme. G. Thuilleux
Nice, 22 November 1950
You kind letter made me so happy, but you thank me too much for this modest souvenir that I wanted to offer to the Merci Train that was coming to you. We owe you so much for all that you did for us during and since the war! Believe well, madame, that our French hearts will never forget it.
I would have liked to answer your affectionate letter as soon as it arrived, but I hoped that I could give you better explanations about the manufacture of Gien as you desired, so I wrote to the Director, asking him to send me information about this question that I could sent to you. I have just received his answer and will now explain.
These dishes which were at my parents' and which I gave to you joyfully date back to the second half of the last century and are so very ancient; as I learned, the factory dates back to 1821. The artistic faiences of Gien are very famous here.
I thank you infinitely, madame, for the nice booklet that you sent me. I had great pleasure turning the pages and to have the various chapters translated in detail by a friend (as I don't know English). I found the photos very beautiful and their presentation seductive. I would give anything to be able to judge by myself the activity, the richness and the beauty of your country. Alas! It's an unrealizable dream for many reasons.
Its historical part interested me a lot, just like all the landscape parts. I understand that you took the peachtree flower as a symbol of your state, and I have been very amused by the story
Blue Hens Chickens.
Finally, Delaware looks to be one of the most favorite states of the U.S. by its situation, by the extreme variety of its cultures and its industries; everything gathered in a relatively restricted space for America, and I can only congratulate you for living in this beautiful country .
Please accept, madame, the expression of my best wishes and the assurance of my strong affection for you and your compatriots.
7 Rue Clement Roassul
Translator: Noura Ben Slama, Paris France November 2000
The artifacts shown below are contained in the collection of the Delaware State Museum in Dover, Delaware.
Click on the images below to view full size