Christmas Dinner Menu from Diary of Trip to France by Lawrence Iver Holen, Company C, 144th Machine Gun Battalion


Shown here is the menu for dinner served on Christmas Day, 1918, to Company C, 144th Machine Gun Battalion, 40th Division, part of the First Army of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). The menu lists roast young goose, several vegetables, and desserts, and cigars, cigarettes, candy, and mixed nuts. A handwritten note indicates that the printing of the menu was paid for by the men of the company, each of whom contributed five French francs. Inside the menu are printed the names and addresses of the 74 men of Company C. The First Army was established in August 1918, the first of the three field armies that made up the AEF. It was comprised of 25 United States Army divisions, as well as French divisions and other units attached to it. Originally formed at Camp Kearney in California from National Guard divisions in several Western states, the 40th was expanded with draftees from all over the country (as is evident from the addresses of the men). It arrived in France in August 1918, where it was used as a depot division to supply fresh troops to more experienced combat divisions. The menu is from the collection of Lawrence Iver Holen, a private from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is preserved in the Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, which collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans.

Last updated: November 14, 2017