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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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40 and 8

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40 and 8. La Societe des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux is an independent, by invitation, honor organization of male and female U. S. veterans, more commonly known as the Forty & Eight. (1)

The Forty & Eight is committed to charitable and patriotic aims. Its purposewas to uphold and defend the United States Constitution, promote the well being of veterans and their widows and orphans, and to actively participate in selected charitable endeavors including programs promoting child welfare and nurse's training. (2)

The titles and symbols of the Forty & Eight reflect its WORLD WAR I origins. Americans were transported to the battle front on French trains within boxcars stenciled with a “40/8”, denoting its capacity to hold either forty men or eight horses. This uncomfortable mode of transportation was familiar to all who fought in the trenches. The “40/8” became a symbol of the deeper service, sacrifice and unspoken horrors of war. (3)

The Forty & Eight was founded in 1920 by American veterans returning from France. Originally an arm of The American Legion, the Forty & Eight became an independent and separately incorporated veteran's organization in 1960. Membership is by invitation of honorably discharged veterans and honorably serving members of the United States Armed Forces. (4)

The local branch of the 40 hommes and 8 chexear" was organized in Dubuque in 1921. Because it was never affiliated with the state and national organizations, however, it remained inactive. On December 13, 1922 the group was re-organized and fully affiliated.



1. "What is the 40 & 8?" Online: http://www.fortyandeight.org/what-is-the-408/

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.