French Freedom Papers

About this Project

The Site

This website includes summaries of each letter from the French Freedom Papers collection.  It also provides historical context by giving information about the historical events and figures mentioned in the collection.  If you are interested in the topics covered on this website we recommend looking through our bibliography and external resources page.

This site is most easily navigated using the links provided on each page or with the Table of Contents (the drop-down button in the upper-left corner of the page).  

Due to copyright issues, the letters themselves are not available online. However, the letters are located at Hale Library, Kansas State University in Special Collections. If you would like to view the letters and their translations, further information can be found here. 

The Letters

These letters, written during World War II and titled the “French Freedom Papers,” were donated to Kansas State's very own Hale Library by Alan Greer. Phillippe Thyraud de Vosjoli was the head of French Intelligence in the Western Hemisphere in the 1950s and early 1960s after helping Jews escape German occupied France, being a member of the underground French Resistance and ultimately serving in General Charles de Gaulle’s Free French intelligence staff in North Africa and then in India and Southeast Asia. In 1962 his efforts uncovered the first hints of the USSR’s secret nuclear missile bases in Cuba. He shared this information with the CIA’s Allen Dulles, leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis. In gratitude, the CIA in turn shared with him information about a Soviet spy ring that had infiltrated the French government. In 1963 he became a political refugee in the US after refusing his government’s orders to collect US military and scientific secrets. De Vosjoli’s exploits became the basis for a fictionalized version of his life in the bestselling novel and movie “Topaz.” Alan Greer gained his friendship after being part of a team that representing him in litigation that arose out of that book.  De Vosjoli generously gave him two dozen letters from the years 1941-1944 that contained information and correspondence between de Gaulle, the British government, and the Free French government during World War II. Alan Greer then went on to marry the daughter of Lt. Gen. Richard Seitz, a native of Leavenworth Kansas, KSU alum, and decorated war hero of World War II.  Because of his father-in-law's personal connection to Kansas State, Greer generously donated the letters to the Kansas State University Library. (K-State Libraries, 8-11).

The Project

The translation process was a part of a student-created research project, led by Drs. Cro and Antonioli, in which students translated the original letters from French into English. These translations are a part of an exhibit at Hale Library. Throughout the project, students developed familiarity with translation techniques, archival research, and digital humanities.

The Site

This website includes summaries of each letter from the French Freedom Papers collection.  It also provides historical context by giving information about the historical events and figures mentioned in the collection.  If you are interested in the topics covered on this website we recommend looking through our bibliography and external resources page.

This site is most easily navigated using the links provided on each page or with the Table of Contents (the drop-down button in the upper-left corner of the page).  



Student Translators

Ariana Guerin – Graduate Student in Second Language Acquisition
Olivia Leno – Graduate Student in French Literature
Patrick Riggin – Graduate Student in Second Language Acquisition
Katherine Boulanger
Leah Devers
Mary Hellmer
Robert Oller
Adam Hewitt-Smith
Megan Sowers
Samantha Stephens


Dr. Melinda A. Cro
Associate Professor of French
French Language Coordinator
French Graduate Advisor

Dr. Melinda A. Cro (Ph.D., The University of Georgia, 2010), is currently an Associate Professor of French in the Department of Modern Languages and French Language Program Coordinator at Kansas State University. Her research and teaching interests include early modern French and Italian literature, the pastoral mode, and the digital humanities. Her publications include a monograph, Armas y Letras: la Conquista de Italia (1405-1625) (Madrid: Fundación Universitaria Española, 2012), as well as numerous articles on French and Italian literature in Romance Notes, Oeuvres et critiques, Moreana, and South Atlantic Review

Dr. Kathleen Antonioli
Assistant Professor of French
Dr. Antonioli's research interests include Modern and modernist French Literature, literary history, the sociology of literature, theories of modernism, women’s writing, feminist theory, Québec literature and theories of francophone literature. Her teaching interests include 19th and 20th century French literature, teaching writing, teaching language, research methodologies in Romance studies, and teaching literature with history.
A part of her work centers on the correspondence of French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, so the correspondence of de Gaulle in the "Freedom Papers" archive was a particularly exciting discovery for her.  


The project was supported by the Kansas State University Libraries.  Faculty and staff of the libraries gave us access to the letters, provided research support in contextualizing the correspondence, supported our creation of this site, helped us research copyright issues related to the letters, and gave us feedback at multiple points during the translation project.  We are particularly indebted to:

Lori Goetsch--Dean of K-State Libraries
Keli Rylance--Head of Archives and Special Collections
David Allen--Curator at the University Archives and Special Collections
Sara Kearns--Academic Services Librarian
Amanda Harlan--Metadata Librarian
Allison Ringness--Digital Initiatives Librarian
Rachel Miles--Digital Scholarship Librarian


Copyright Information

All translations and presentations of these letters are available under the fair use doctrine. Kansas State University does not claim copyright for any of the original documents found on this website. 

User Notice for The Website: 

This website contains copyrighted materials.  Those materials may include the official letters, translations, footnotes, and other content (collectively, the “Content”).   In some cases, the copyright is owned by third parties, and Kansas State University is making the third‐ party Content available to you by permission or under the fair use doctrine.    The Content is made available only for personal, noncommercial, educational and scholarly use.  You may not use this Content for any other purpose, or distribute or make the Content available to others, unless you obtain any required permission from the copyright holder.  Some Content may be provided via streaming or other means that restrict copying; you may not circumvent those restrictions.  You may not alter or remove any copyright or other proprietary notices included in the Content.



    Source aiding this copyright notice​

"Faculty and Staff." Department of Modern Languages. Kansas State University.
Cro, Melinda, and Kathleen Antonioli. FREN 720 Syllabus. Cro and Antonioli, 2016.
K-State Libraries. "World War II Letters." Kansas State University Libraries, 2016, pp. 8-11. 

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