Addison Leech Bliss


Born: November 21, 1891, Springfield, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 22, 1917, Paris, France
Occupation: Driver, American Field Service, France

Source Citation:   Memorial Volume of the American Field Service in France
"FRIENDS OF FRANCE" 1914-1917   

Born November 21, 1891, in Springfield, Massachusetts. Son of Chester W. and Isadora Leech Bliss. Home, Boston, Massachusetts. Educated Springfield schools, Fay and St. Mark's Schools, Southboro, Massachusetts. and Harvard University, Class of 1914. Left college junior year to enter business, with Ellsworth and later Union Collieries Companies of Pennsylvania. joined American Field Service, January 28, 1917. Died of pneumonia in Paris, February 22, 1917. Buried in Paris, France. Body transferred to Peabody Cemetery, Springfield, Massachusetts

BORN in Springfield, where he had his earliest schooling, Addison Leech Bliss went when about ten years of age to Fay School at Southboro. In 1904 he entered St. Mark's to prepare for Harvard, and joined enthusiastically in the activities of his companions. He was an athlete of no mean ability, playing for two years upon both the school football and baseball teams, in his last year captaining the latter. He became extremely popular, and was a monitor as well as president of his class.

An old friend, who had known Addison since he was a small boy and seen a great deal of him at the Bliss summer home in New London, was, he said, "greatly attracted because of his winning personality," adding, "I am told he was very popular both at his school and with his classmates at Harvard." Upon entering college with the Class of 1914 Bliss continued to win friends and athletic successes. A subsequent class report says: " His generosity, geniality, and whole-heartedness made him one of the most likable men it is given us to know." His second year he spent at Haverford College, returning to Harvard in the fall of 1912. His popularity was undiminished and while he was, elected to several clubs, unfortunately his studies did not receive a great deal of attention. The late Lawrence Sexton, a classmate of his father's at Harvard, remarked of Addison that "he did not graduate owing to the fact that he was not a diligent student. Notwithstanding his lack of diligence, he is a bright, capable, energetic young man." Proof of this last is the success which he made of his business affairs.

Bliss left college about Christmas time and took a position with the Ellsworth Collieries Company, after a while joining the Union Collieries Company of Pittsburgh. He was active in the development of the mines, being concerned with the installation work. As a result of his efforts he was made a director of the company, which he left only to enter the ranks of the Allies.

The following, which concerns his War service, is quoted from "St. Mark's School in the War against Germany," edited by A. E. Benson: "Bliss' record is in one sense a short one, for he was not granted the time in which to accomplish the work for which he went to France; but this bare fact, though cruel to him, makes little difference to his friends, and none in the honor and love in which they hold him. Before his country entered the war he left his home and his business, volunteered from pure sense of personal duty, and died in the service. Such a record needs no longer life in which to emphasize it, however bitterly his friends may grieve that he could not have lived and had his reward."

Addison resigned his position in Pittsburgh, sailed for France on the Touraine, January 28, 1917, a volunteer driver in the American Field Service. After a stormy voyage and while in Paris waiting to be sent to the front, Bliss caught a severe cold from which pneumonia developed, and on February 22d, less than a month after leaving the United States, he died. Two days later he was buried, with very beautiful services, at the American Church in Paris.

A fitting tribute and expression of their regard for him comes from his Harvard Classmates in their second Report: "The multitude of friends he has left, who loved him so dearly, will miss him always and the place he filled in the hearts of all of us can never be refilled."

#1 Thomas Bliss and Margaret Hulins of Hartford, CT
#14 Samuel Bliss and Mary Leonard of Springfield, MA
#59 Ebenezer Bliss and Mary Gaylord of Springfield, MA
#153 Jedediah Bliss and Miriam Hitchcock of Springfield, MA
#453 Gen. Jacob Bliss and Mary Collins of Springfield, MA
#1280 William Bliss and Elizabeth Benjamin of Springfield, MA
#2833 William Bliss and Margaret Chapin of Springfield, MA
#5656 Chester W. Bliss and Isadora Leech of Springfield, MA