American Hospital of Paris
The Jackson Award, recognizing merit and professional commitment
Created in January 2013 by the Board of Governors of the American Hospital of Paris, the Jackson Award commemorates the extraordinary devotion of two people who served the American Hospital of Paris before and during World War II: Dr. Sumner W. Jackson and his wife, Charlotte.
The first Jackson Medal was awarded posthumously to Sumner and Charlotte Jackson. It was given to their son, Phillip Jackson, during a ceremony under the patronage of His Excellency Charles H. Rivkin, the United States Ambassador to France.
In the future, one or more members of the American Hospital of Paris medical team will be honored each year with the Jackson Award, in recognition of their merit and professional commitment.
A Maine native, Sumner Jackson joined the British Army in 1916 and worked as a field surgeon, first for the British Army and then the American Army after the United States entered the war. He met Charlotte “Toquette,” who enrolled as a nurse at the beginning of the war, and married her.
After the war and a brief return to the US, the Jacksons decided to make France their permanent home. In 1925, after re-earning his degrees in France in order to practice as a doctor there, Sumner Jackson joined the American Hospital of Paris, where he became chief physician.
When World War II started, most Americans left France, but the Jackson family decided to stay. Charlotte Jackson worked as a nurse at the American Hospital of Paris. At the beginning of the German occupation, they, along with their 14-year-old son Phillip, joined the “Goélette” network of the French Resistance, in which they remained active members until they were arrested by the Gestapo on May 25, 1944 and deported to a concentration camp.
Sumner Jackson died on May 3, 1945 under tragic circumstances, shortly before the end of the war. In recognition of his outstanding service and bravery, he was posthumously awarded the French Croix de Guerre war medal and his name was submitted for the American Presidential Medal of Freedom. His wife and son were also honored for their involvement in the French Resistance.
The lives of Sumner and Toquette Jackson are closely tied to over two decades of history at the American Hospital of Paris. They left the legacy of their extraordinary courage, their dedication to their work – particularly during war times – and their remarkable devotion to patients and the entire American Hospital of Paris community.