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The Other Americans in Paris

Businessmen, Countesses, Wayward Youth, 1880-1941

While Gertrude Stein hosted the literati of the Left Bank, Mrs. Bates-Batcheller, an American socialite and concert singer in Paris, held sumptuous receptions for the Daughters of the American Revolution in her suburban villa. History may remember the American artists, writers, and musicians of the Left Bank best, but the reality is that there were many more American businessmen, socialites, manufacturers’ representatives, and lawyers living on the other side of the River Seine.  Be they newly minted American countesses married to foreigners with impressive titles or American soldiers who had settled in France after World War I with their French wives, they provide a new view of the notion of expatriates.

Nancy L. Green thus introduces us for the first time to a long-forgotten part of the American overseas population—predecessors to today’s expats—while exploring the politics of citizenship and the business relationships, love lives, and wealth (and poverty for some) of Americans who staked their claim to the City of Light. The Other Americans in Paris shows that elite migration is a part of migration tout court and that debates over “Americanization” have deep roots in the twentieth century.

See the online bibliography for the book.

352 pages | 14 halftones, 11 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2014

Culture Studies

History: American History, European History

Travel and Tourism: Tourism and History


"A thorough and perceptive study. . ."

The Wall Street Journal

“A fascinating, compelling, and sometimes hilarious look at the Americans of the Right Bank: those who lived across the river from the Lost Generation and belonged to a world apart. Who knew that 90 percent of the interwar Americans in Paris rarely visited Shakespeares’ and never heard of Gertrude Stein? Greens’ wonderful book tells the untold story of the American businessmen, lawyers, renters, heiresses, and slackers who created the ’American colony’ in Paris and never thought of writing the Great American Novel.”

Edward Berenson | New York University

“Historians of international migration are undoubtedly familiar with the literary Americans living in Paris in the 1920s but only rarely have they incorporated such migrants into their scholarly field of study. With The Other Americans in Paris, Green gives migration historians ample reason to re-visit and to re-think both Paris (as a unique host society) and Americans as emigrants and immigrants.  Green appreciates and documents the individual idiosyncrasies of American businessmen, soldiers, wayward countesses, ‘expats,’ and working-class wanderers, even while making mobility, community organization, and transcultural contacts and misunderstandings—bread and butter issues for migration historians—central themes in her very readable account of Paris’s American ‘colony.’”

Donna Gabaccia | University of Minnesota

“With her keen sense of the French American difference, her deep understanding of the vicissitudes of migration, and her incomparable wit, Nancy L. Green has transformed the literary cliché about Americans in Paris into an original and compelling social history. Whether she is taking us into the territory of marriage and divorce, which inspired Edith Wharton and Henry James with their best plots, unearthing consular records of American misdeeds, or tracking down the capture of Baby Cadum soaps by Palmolive, she surprises and delights on every page. The Other Americans in Paris will captivate historians of business, cultural critics, political scientists and, most of all, tourists and expats discovering life in the City of Light.”

Alice Kaplan | Yale University

“’The other Americans’ were a diverse and slippery crew of people on the move who fortunately had a predilection to organize, write, or at least come under arrest, and thus they could come under the purview of accomplished historian Nancy L. Green.  This witty and deeply scholarly book makes a cogent argument about prewar Americans in Paris – the lovers, workers, corporate managers, the idle rich, soldiers, the ‘financially down and legally out,’ complementing the better known left-bank intellectuals and jazz performers. Chockablock with entertaining tales of the famous and obscure, young and old, Green offers the reader a lesson in intellectual ingenuity and acumen as she analyzes yesterday’s transnationals, united in location, but divided by class, circumstance, and interest.”

Leslie Page Moch | Michigan State University

“Green has given us the most comprehensive, incisive, and entertaining account yet written of the ‘American Colony’ in Paris across the first half of the twentieth century.  The conceptual sophistication and research skill Green brings to the study of this emigrant community sets new standards for the field, and will be much discussed and emulated by those working on other portions of the American ‘ex-pat’ global archipelago.  A masterful and sparkling work of social history.”

Gary Gerstle, author of American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century

“Green’s greatest achievement in The Other Americans in Paris is to shed light on a unique group of American migrants in Paris, one that has hitherto been largely absent from the literature on the subject. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly for migration scholars, Green refutes the dominant narrative that elite migration is a relatively recent phenomenon born out of globalization.”

International Migration Review

Table of Contents

1          The Not So Lost Generation: The “American Colony”
2          Uses of Citizenship, Tales from the Consulate, or How Mrs. Baker Got Her Hat Back
3          For Love or Money: Marriage and Divorce in the French Capital
4          Americans at Work: Of Grocers, Fashion Writers, Dentists, and Lawyers
5          Doing Business in France: The Formal and the Informal
6          Down and Out in Paris: The Tailed, the Arrested, and the Poor
7          French Connections, Reciprocal Visions: Love, Hate, Awe, Disdain
8          Heading Home: War, Again

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