Myron T. Herrick, former governor of Ohio, was appointed U.S. Ambassador to France on February 15, 1912, by President William Howard Taft. When Herrick and his wife, Carolyn (nicknamed “Kitty”), arrived in Paris in April, they asked departing U.S. Ambassador to France Robert Bacon and his wife to remain with them at the Ambassador’s Residence at 5, rue François Ier for a few extra days. The Bacons obliged and gave up their scheduled transatlantic crossing—on the Titanic.
U.S. Ambassador Myron T. Herrick, the ‘beau ideal’ of an Ambassador.
(Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)
Although Herrick barely spoke any French upon arrival in 1912, he devoted himself to learning the language, and was fluent by 1914. He charmed the French and forged strong personal friendships with many during his years in Paris. Unfortunately for Herrick, by June 1914 his time in France was coming to a close.
As was customary when new Presidents are elected, on June 19, 1914, Woodrow Wilson appointed his own candidate to serve as U.S. Ambassador to France: William Graves Sharp. Herrick waited to receive his letter of recall from Washington, D.C., but nonetheless started winding down his personal affairs, packing up his residence, and making his farewell calls. The New York Times noted on June 21 of Herrick that, “In appearance he fits the Frenchman’s beau ideal of what an Ambassador should be, and his brilliant entertainments, combined with a real democratic spirit, have made him a most popular host.” 1
Adored by Summer 1914, Herrick’s efforts and actions in the war’s first months endeared him further to France. When Herrick returned for a visit in 1920, he was given as large and warm a welcome as possible. Appointed to serve as U.S. Ambassador to France a second time in 1921, Herrick died in office in 1929 after catching cold during Maréchal Ferdinand Foch’s funeral.
“Regret to Lose Herrick,” New York Times, June 21, 1914, C2. ↩