The Avenue of the Allies and Victory [Zelia Hoffman; her copy].
Zelia Hoffman - Her copy of 1918’s “The Avenue of the Allies and Victory.” Childe Hassam illustrates.
World War I poems by English poet Alfred Noyes, finely printed and bound, published by the Book Committee of the Art War Relief in New York City as a fundraiser. This copy contains the ownership inscription and several other annotations by Zelia Krumbhaar Preston Hoffman (1867–1929). She served during the war as acting president of the National Special Aid Society which financed the famed Franco-American military aviation unit, the Lafayette Escadrille.¹
Contributors to the book include American artist Childe Hassam and sculptor Paul Manship. Hassam’s patriotic painting “Allies’ Day” is reproduced here in color as a frontispiece. The painting is from his flag series done at the end of the war. An embossed reproduction of Manship’s medallion of “Victory” decorates the book’s front cover.
The book also includes a foreword by former U. S. President William Howard Taft. He notes that the co-beneficiaries of the proceeds of the sale of the book were the Royal Literary Fund and a fund “...for the relief of artists and their families who have suffered privations due to the war.”
Zelia Krumbhaar Preston Hoffman’s ownership inscription notes her associations with various war relief and other charitable organizations such as the National Special Aid Society, the International Garden Club, and a committee of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Underneath her name, Hoffman outlines her extensive war-time charitable work:
President of the National Special Aid society during the Great War & Year of the Armistice 1917–1919—President of the International Garden Club Inc. and Chairman of its War Work at Nevis and Bartow 15. East 84th Street New York City. Vice President of the Diocesan Auxiliary to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Chairman of its Ways & Means Committee. (Secretary from it’s beginning to 1917 and writer of its Constitution.)
The two poems contributed to the book by Noyes are “The Avenue of the Allies” and “Victory.” At the head of the former poem, Hoffman makes reference to a public reading of the poem and organ concert she organized in New York City:
Read by Alfred Noyes at my Concert at Aeolian Hall before a distinguished audience, Ways & Means Com[mittee]. of the Cathedral—Jan 1918. Monsieur [Joseph] Bonnet famous organist assisting.
On the title page of the book, Hoffman expresses her her own admiration for Alfred Noyes and Childe Hassam by adding in ink before both of their names the phrase “Our great friend.”
After the war and after the death of her husband, Charles Frederick Hoffman (1856–1919), Zelia Hoffman moved to England and became a British citizen. She served as head of a local Liberal Women’s Association and stood (unsuccessfully) as a Liberal party candidate for Parliament.
Description: The Avenue of the Allies and Victory [Zelia Hoffman; her copy].
New York: The Book Committee of the Art War Relief (1918). ff. 11½ x 7¾ inches. Gilt stamped and embossed off-white boards; laid paper with deckle edges; green cloth spine; uncut. Printed and bound at the Plimpton Press, Norwood, Massachusetts. Tipped in color frontispiece illustration by Childe Hassam; printed tissue guard. Ownership inscription and annotations by Zelia Krumbhaar Preston Hoffman. Minor wear, minor soil to binding, else very good.
1. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (New York), Saturday, January 12, 1929, p4. N. B.: her name is noted here as Zelia Krumhaar Preston Hoffman.