Barbara Le Lièvre kept a diary while
living in Washington D.C. and Paris, France in 1945, during the final days of World War
II. Early entries in the diary highlight Le Lièvre's daily activities in Washington
D.C. and New York, including her attendance with her husband, Lucien, at a formal
reception at the French Embassy in Washington where she met the new French ambassador to
the U.S. She often refers to world events in her entries, including President Franklin
D. Roosevelt's death and VJ Day, about which she wrote on August 16, "V-J
Day--official holiday, Japan has surrendered!!" She and her husband sailed for
France aboard a ship she describes as "a dingy troop transport," and arrived
in Paris by way of Marseille on August 30. She writes that she feels "horror at the
sight of Paris" as it rebuilds following the war, but over her time there gradually
makes friends, finds a place to live with Lucien, attends dinners and fashion shows,
visits museums and other tourist sites like Notre Dame and the Trocadéro, and rides her
bicycle or walks through the Bois de Boulogne. Entries are fairly consistent, but end
upon her return to the United States in December 1945.
Barbara Davenport Loughman was born on December 31, 1918 in Essex, Massachusetts to
parents Edward and Elizabeth (neé Sufkin). Following graduation from high school in
1937, Barbara attended Mount Saint Mary's College in New York, and then transferred
to Radcliffe College, where she graduated with a degree in English in 1941. While
attending Radcliffe College, she met Lucien Le Lièvre, a French lawyer studying law at
Harvard University. The couple married on March 10, 1943 in New York. Lucien graduated
from Harvard later that year, and in 1944 began work as Associate General Council for
the French Supply Council in Washington, D.C. In 1945, he and Barbara spent most of the
year living in Paris, returning to the US in November. In 1946, Lucien was admitted to
the New York and Massachusetts bar. Barbara was a homemaker and socialite, and worked
with a number of charities, including the New York Chapter of the American Red Cross,
the Edgartown Boys Club, and other social service organizations.
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