San Francisco Conference Founds the United Nations: A Look Back through Three Readex Collections

From America's Historical Newspapers

Beginning on April 25, 1945, as World War II entered its final months, delegates from dozens of nations gathered at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. Their goal was the creation of an international organization that would lessen the chances of a third global conflict.  The meeting’s official name was the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO), but it was more typically called the San Francisco Conference.  

The participants debated the institutional framework that had been negotiated earlier in the year by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.  Chaired by U.S. diplomat Alger Hiss, and addressed by President Harry Truman, the San Francisco Conference ultimately produced the United Nations Charter, which was signed on June 26, 1945.

Readex collections offer three different ways to see real-time accounts of this historic meeting. The first is through the daily press accounts in America’s Historical Newspapers.  The actions of the delegates in the build-up to the final charter can be traced through news stories, editorials, opinion columns, photographs and cartoons.

From America's Historical Newspapers

San Francisco Conference Founds the United Nations: A Look Back through Three Readex Collections

“Free from Care”: Resort and Hotel Brochures from the American Pamphlets collection

From American PamphletsThe first days of summer are a fine time to highlight pamphlets advertising the glories of two resort hotels and one city establishment. These three documents are from this month’s release of American Pamphlets, Series 1, 1820-1922: From the New-York Historical Society. They are among many other pamphlets celebrating country rambles, local histories, and recreational pastimes.


Echoes from the Sea: Coleman House [by] Frank B. Conover (1901)

We begin our holiday tour at the ocean, specifically at Asbury Park, New Jersey, where “stands the Coleman House, the centre of coast life and gaiety.” Mr. Conover, the author, has the highest praise for this grand hotel and for “Mr. Frank B. Conover, whose management of the hotel has been most successful for the past three seasons.” His fulsome description of Asbury Park is a striking contrast to the contemporary condition of the resort. It has been undergoing significant revival but only after having fallen on hard times.

In 1901 Conover was able to write that “it is a refined resort, abounding in great natural beauty and numerous forms of enjoyment. It is not merely a seashore resort, but it is a city of the sea, comprising a beautiful blending of country, seashore and city life.”

From American Pamphlets

“Free from Care”: Resort and Hotel Brochures from the American Pamphlets collection

From the Earth to the Moon: New Heights of Human Achievement from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports

From JPRS ReportsWe’re approaching escape velocity from a variety of perspectives this month. Is it the Moon you’re wanting to visit, or would you be content with achieving a few Earth orbits to advance your country’s standing in the Space Race? June’s highlights are about flight—aspirational, actual, and perceptual.

A New Assault on the Moon is Coming Soon

The Space Race was in progress and the Russians were winning. Shortly before his death, President Kennedy had announced his intention to send Americans to the Moon. But the Soviet Union had already taken the first pictures of the Moon’s dark side and had executed a “hard landing” with telemetry, whereas all the United States had managed was the very hard landing of Ranger 6 with video inexplicably out of commission. Was the Moon covered with dust to the extent of several meters that would bury future landers—and astronauts—or was the surface more firm and amenable to unmanned and manned visitors? This brief report from Bulgaria shows how confident the Soviet Union was in its technological, and by extension, its political systems.


Diary of a Pilot-Cosmonaut

In 1963 the Soviets would put the first woman into space and send two spacecraft into orbit at the same time—twice—while the United States was working on sending two astronauts into space in the same capsule with Project Gemini. This 43-page report is a colloquial account of life as a Russian cosmonaut, enigmatically attributed to “K.” in the Russian title.


From Airplane to Spaceship: Notes of an Astronaut Flight Instructor

From the Earth to the Moon: New Heights of Human Achievement from Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports

“Like a Tiger in the Toils”: Highlights from Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920

The June release of Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia includes a biography of the “Terror of Jamaica,” a letter from British slavery apologists justifying continuation of the institution in the Bahamas, and the descriptions of an English naturalist.


The Life and Exploits of Three-Finger'd Jack, the Terror of Jamaica (1801)

By William Burdett

 

To some, Jack Mansong was the most feared runaway slave in Jamaica during the 1700s. In fact, Mansong was so infamous his life has been the subject of several books, two of which became bestsellers, and dramatic performances, such as the musical Obi which had a run of at least nine years in British theatres. William Burdett’s work begins by describing Mansong’s early life in Africa and his eventual capture and enslavement:

Mansong, with gleaming saber, like a tiger in the toils, darted on the foremost, and cleft him to the ground. The weapons of his adversaries clashed over his head; but he heeded not death, and struggled hard to break the chains that encircled him. He still fought, and his blood streamed around; till at length quite exhausted, he fell, covered with wounds; and four of his adversaries lay dead beside him. The others bound up his wounds, and, with the rest of his party, sent him to the caravan of a Slatee, or Slave-merchant.

Burdett continues, writing of Mansong’s arrival in Jamaica as a slave, his unbreakable spirit, and his promise to seek revenge against his captors:

“Like a Tiger in the Toils”: Highlights from Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920

“Skin-Deep Democracy”: Highlights from Black Authors, 1556-1922

The June release of Black Authors, 1556-1922: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia includes the portents of a West Indian astrologer, a scholar’s escape from being tarred and feathered, and the poems of James Madison Bell.


The O.B. or, West Indian Astrologer's Whole Secret Art and System of Prediction, by Planetary Influence, Laid Open (1823)

By Ignatius Lewis, the Jamaica Seer of Color

To his secret art and system of prediction, Ignatius Lewis added “charms, spells, and incantations; love presents, bewitching secrets, and fortune telling, by cards, dice, tea, coffee, &c. with good or ill fortune; the days, weeks, or months, of abstaining from, or embarking in, any engagement of importance, particularly marriage.”

On a lunar table showing “the moon’s influence over the female sex” are these potential experiences: “Loss of Reputation, Treachery, and Tears.” And, “What you save in trifles you will squander largely, and do no good with it.” And, “You will soon see one whom you will wish far distant but you cannot avoid the meeting.”

The influence of Diana may signify that: “You will never marry; or if you should, by some unexpected chance or turn of fate, embrace wedlock, you will not be happy, so be cautious.”

Another table offers these mostly frightful possibilities:

A. You will be run away with against your own consent.

B. You will elope with your own free will.

C. You will have many lovers, even in old age.

D. A duel will take place on your account.

E. You will place your affections on a very amorous youth, who will deceive you, and cloud your future days with sorrow.

“Skin-Deep Democracy”: Highlights from Black Authors, 1556-1922

Ascent of the White Nile and Other Highlights from African History and Culture, 1540-1921

The June release of African History and Culture, 1540-1921: Imprints from the Library Company of Philadelphia includes perspectives from an Irish pastor in Western Africa, the biography of a Dutch heiress who explored North Africa, and the views of an English soldier in Central Africa.


Missions in Western Africa, among the Soosoos, Bulloms, &c. (1845)

By Rev. Samuel Abraham Walker

Reverend Samuel Abraham Walker described himself as “a man unknown to fame, and of no higher standing in the Church, or the world, than the pastor of a small rural parish in Ireland.” Walker felt duty bound to become a missionary and offered this justification for choosing to work in West Africa:

It is impossible, I conceive, to overrate the importance of our West African Mission: its effects, if the Lord continues to bless it, will be gigantic. In other countries the Gospel merely calls out members of the Church; but in Africa it is enlisting whole regiments of Missionary soldiers, and sending them forth armed and accoutered, to engage in deadly conflict with the demon of superstition, crime, and death; and the facilities afforded for this particular work are among the most remarkable evidences of providential arrangement which the history of the Church of Christ supplies.

Walker’s tome tells of the peoples of West Africa, offers a history of slavery, and recounts, in Walker’s words, “What attempts have been made in modern times to make Christ known to the natives of this vast continent?”

True to his cause, Walker saw Christianity as a panacea. Expounding on the power found in the Christian will and in the word of God, Walker wrote:

Ascent of the White Nile and Other Highlights from African History and Culture, 1540-1921

“Dead Rebel” and Nearly 900 Other Newly Digitized Stereographs in The American Civil War Collection

From The American Civil War CollectionThe June release of The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society features an extensive accumulation of images created throughout the conflict and into its aftermath. They are presented as a single work of 1,756 pages entitled "Civil War Stereographs, 1865-1900."  Its citation reads, in part,

The American Antiquarian Society's collection of Civil War stereographs includes more than 800 examples, some that were published during the war years, 1861-1865, and others that were published as memorials towards the end of the nineteenth century. Includes cards published by many publishers from the works of many photographers. Included are works by Matthew Brady and W.H. Tipton…  

The collection includes many views from the major battlefields during the war, including Antietam, Battle of the Wilderness, and the Battle of Gettysburg, shown after the destruction, some with the dead on the fields. There are images of the Boston Light Infantry, soldier camps, families, and the cities of Charleston, S.C., Nashville, Tenn., Richmond, Fredericksburg and Petersburg, Va. Also includes images of the monuments erected and dedicated to those lost at the Battle of Gettysburg. Includes views of the Washington Navy Yard, Libby Prison, Fort Marion in Florida, Lookout Mountain and cemeteries of dead soldiers.  

“Dead Rebel” and Nearly 900 Other Newly Digitized Stereographs in The American Civil War Collection

“The Stronghold of Caste and Prejudice”: Highlights from Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922

The June release of Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922: From the Library Company of Philadelphia includes a striking collection of nature illustrations, an optimistic speech on race relations, and a biography of 18th-century scientist Benjamin Banneker.


Illustrations to Oriental Memoirs (1835)

By James Forbes

British artist and writer James Forbes traveled to India in 1765 while employed by the British East India Company. After years of extensive travel, Forbes eventually returned to England where he wrote Oriental Memoirs: Selected and Abridged from a Series of Familiar Letters Written during Seventeen Years Residence in India; Including Observations on Parts of Africa and South America, and a Narrative of Occurrences in Four India Voyages. This companion work, Illustrations to Oriental Memoirs, contains many impressive drawings, as seen in these three examples:

The Red, Blue, and White Lotus of Hindostan

These Water Lilies were drawn and coloured from nature: they are particularly described in various parts of the Memoirs, and almost cover the Indian lakes. When gently agitated by the breeze, they give them a beauty and freshness not easily conceived by the inhabitants of a colder climate.

From Afro-Americana Imprints

Flying Fish, Exocoetus Evolans

“The Stronghold of Caste and Prejudice”: Highlights from Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922

“But for this Stain”: Highlights from The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922

The June release of The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922: From the American Antiquarian Society includes hard-to-find imprints arguing for and against slavery as well as a speech from the floor of the House of Representatives defending the First Amendment.


An Appeal to the People of the United States (1825)

By A Georgian

The author of this appeal writes of the wrongs committed by “the corrupt…in poisoning the public mind” against the South and reminds readers that “the union was formed in a spirit of compromise” that included the recognition of states’ rights. He continues,

The right of property in their slaves and the right of representation in three fifths of that portion of their population, was reserved to the slave states. They are rights, which without their consent can never be alienated. They were left in possession of these states, which without them, would never have become parties to the compact. When they are attempted under any pretence to be wrested from them, the compact falls to the ground. Interference in any shape tends to a violation of this compact: because every interference depreciates the value of the slave as property, weakens the power which master possesses over him, and finally destroys it; when once this is effected, not only the property, but the life of the owner and his family is sacrificed to the relentless fury of an ignorant and barbarous enemy.

“But for this Stain”: Highlights from The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922

Bernhardt, Burghers, and Bears: New Items in American Pamphlets, 1820-1922

Below are three new works found in the May release of the digital edition of New-York Historical Society’s American Pamphlets collection.


The Palace Theater presents Madame Sarah Bernhardt in Vaudeville (1912)

“There are five kinds of actresses, said Mark Twain; “bad actresses, fair actresses, good actresses, great actresses, and Sarah Bernhardt.”

Thus begins this handsome promotional brochure announcing that The Palace, Broadway’s newest theatre at the time, had booked Sarah Bernhardt, an international star like no other. This work is generously illustrated with photographs of some of her triumphs, including “Lucrece Borgia” by Victor Hugo, Sardou’s “Theodora,” and “La Dame aux Camelias” by Alexandre Dumas. Near each photograph is a two-page “Outline of the Play.”

Bernhardt, Burghers, and Bears: New Items in American Pamphlets, 1820-1922

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