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    World War I and Paris Peace Conference Archive. A good archive of more than 200 pieces, many placed in a scrap-book, including letters, documents, and ephemera related to the service of Captain John T. Nightingale of the 71st. Coastal Artillery Reserve Corps; that unit that was sent to France in the summer of 1918. Following the November, 1918 armistice, Captain Nightingale, a fluent French speaker, requested to stay in France upon the return of his regiment. His request, granted, have him join the "renting, requisitioning and claim service" at Tours looking after lost luggage. He then received a new order on December 4, directing him "to proceed at once to Paris reporting to the CG district of Paris for Temporary Duty in connection with the Peace conference..." According to a recommendation by his superior in March 1919, Nightingale was "in charge of the baggage and train departments of the Military Section of the Peace Commission...He has also been in charge of compiling a report of the expenses to the Army of the Peace commission..." During his tenure, he traveled with the Presidential Party to London, Brussels, as well as Rome dealing with all manner of logistics. Much of the ephemera and letters (most are retained carbon copies) concern his escort of the President including detailed itineraries for official trips, notes and orders concerning protocols for various functions including official reviews, passes to conferences as well as the House of Commons, rail tickets, small portions of an official diary kept by Nightingale, and an official invitation to visit with Edith Wilson among other material. The archive also includes some detailed memorandums on the official trips, copies of which are in this collection providing a vivid picture of his experiences. Of particular note is a lengthy memorandum on Wilson's official visit to Belgium from June 17 to 20, 1919, written by one of Nightingale's colleagues. While touring the trenches at Ypres, the writer remarked that he "happened to be walking with the Comtesse d'Ultremont, the Lady in Waiting - 'It is terrible,' she said, 'I can hardly bear to see these things. It was so beautiful, so lovely and peaceful, when I knew it five years ago.' She is rather a lovely looking, and very simple women; [but] when she spoke of this, there was a hardness [that] came into her eyes which was noticeably unpleasant to see...I realized those stark walls, those endless stretches of destruction, who see them only as a terrible desert, and what those people saw, who had known them in their beauty, been brought up with them as traditions of their country, enjoyed happy days in them..." Though Nightingale was responsible for the baggage, his artillery experience came in handy at times. The archive includes his account of a preliminary trip to the French battlefields with the Secret Service in order to assess the suitability for President Wilson to make an official visit. Nightingale concluded after much researching that an automobile journey would be nearly impossible due to destroyed roads and the lack of accommodations recommending instead a journey by train and adding a stern warning: "Everywhere we went we found unexploded hand and rifle grenades, duds and everywhere over the battle fields are quantities of abandoned artillery ammunition. Every member of the President's party should be cautioned before hand to lave things of this sort alone. Before he was warned of the danger Mr. Jervis, Mr. Moran's assistant had attempted to break open a German rifle grenade...This is some thing that any inexperienced civilian might attempt with very serious consequences to him and those about him..." The collection also includes a wide variety of ephemera including tickets, calling cards, newspapers printed aboard ship, as well as Nightingale's dog tags and his French World War I service medal together with a tiny mounted photo of the young officer in field uniform. A wonderful collection certainly worthy of further research. The collection also contains some excellent ephemera including postcards, passes and the like and should most certainly be viewed. Condition is overall good to very good with the expected wear including folds and the occasional marginal tear.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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