Tuesday, June 28, 2016

28 June 1919: A French Bookseller Commemorates the Signing of the Versailles Treaty

The Paris Peace Conference, convened after the end of World War I, began on 18 January 1919. Although the deliberations, which ended in 1920, led to five major international treaties from 1919 to 1923, it is best known for having brought forth the Versailles Treaty, between Germany and the Allied Powers, signed on 28 June 1919: the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which led to the conflict.

This postcard, depicting the northern wing and parterre of the palace, is postmarked on the date the Treaty was signed.

The recipient, who presumably sent it to himself, is the Parisian bookseller and publisher (François) Louis Dorbon (1878-1956), who called himself Dorbon the elder, to distinguish himself from his brother, Lucien. As the finding aid to the holdings at the University of Texas-Austin explains, the firm of Dorbon-aîné, which flourished from 1900 to the beginning of World War II, “entered the bookselling trade with a remarkable initial stock of 400,000 volumes,” adding, “As both a publisher and a bookseller, Librairie Dorbon-aîné contributed numerous influential works to the early 20th century French literary scene.”

Here, the text of the Treaty, from Yale’s Avalon Project.

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