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.
Nancy L. Green is professor of history at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales. She is the author or co-editor of several books, including Ready-to-Wear and Ready-to-Work: A Century of Industry and Immigrants in Paris and New York; Jewish Workers in the Modern Diaspora; and Citizenship and Those Who Leave. Her most recent book is The Other Americans in Paris: Businessmen, Countesses, Wayward Youth, 1880-1941 (University of Chicago Press, 2014).