|French flag, 1917. 2005.0001. Collection of the Rosenbach.|
The delegation's main aims were in Washington, where they hoped to gather information and influence budding military policy. But Joffre and Viviani also embarked on a weeklong goodwill tour; among their stops were St. Louis, where John S. D. Eisenhower notes that Joffre "endeared himself to democratic Americans by going to a barbershop and unobtrusively waiting his turn for a haircut," New York, and of course Philadelphia.
In the course of a 5-hour visit, the delegation was whisked to the city's most iconic sites, including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross House, and Ben Franklin's grave, and those with a Franco-American bent, including Girard College and the statue of Joan of Arc in Fairmount Park. Philadelphians thronged the streets to see the motorcade, the crowd presumably included the man who collected and saved this flag. The article below from the May 19, 1917 edition of Editor and Publisher gives a brief account of Joffre's time in Philadelphia and includes a picture of him receiving a ceremonial sword. The child on the left may be the "Little Miss 1776" mentioned in the article, there was also a "Little Miss Belgium"--the daughter of an actual Belgian refugee, and a "Little Miss France"
For more on Joffre's visit to Philadelphia including additional pictures, you can check out the Library Company of Philadelphia's blog. Historynet.com's article on Joffre also goes into great detail about his full American trip and what it accomplished.
Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach and the primary poster for the Rosen-blog