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Group of Circus Performers
This December 1932 photograph shows the members of three world-famous trapeze acts posing in the safety net at La Scala in Berlin: The Flying Codonas of Mexico, The Flying Concellos of the United States, and Les Amadori of Italy. Shown from left to right are Genesio Amadori (Les Amadori), Art Concello (The Flying Concellos), Alfredo Codona (The Flying Codonas), Vera (Bruce) Codona (The Flying Codonas), Antoinette Concello (The Flying Concellos), Ginevra Amadori (Les Amadori), Everett White (The Flying Concellos), Lalo Codona (The Flying Codonas), and Goffreddo Amadori (Les Amadori). The ...
John Robinson's Circus
This 1929 photograph shows the interior of John Robinson's Circus during a spectacle, or “spec,” performance of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba in Cincinnati, Ohio. In the American circus, the spec developed as a procession that took place around the hippodrome track inside the big top, or circus tent, featuring as many of the performers and animals as the circus director was able to costume. John Robinson’s Circus was especially known for its dazzling productions of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, which offered a ...
Contributed by Circus World Museum
Circus Midway Scene
This 1935 photograph shows a crowd gathering on the midway of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, heading towards the entrance marquee tent. On the left is the painted banner line depicting freaks and attractions in the sideshow, an added fee attraction operating before the main show. On the right can be seen concession tents and ticket wagons. Visible behind the marquee entrance is the “free” menagerie tent consisting of the exhibition of exotic caged animals, elephants, and other lead stock. By the 1930s, the midway had become an important part of the ...
Contributed by Circus World Museum
Cole Bros. Circus
This 1935 image presents a scene from a typical moderate-sized 20th-century American circus. A crowd watches as baggage wagons from the Cole Bros. Circus are being pulled over flatcars. The railcars are marked Clyde Beatty and Allen King, who were two of the more notable animal trainers of the period. Behind the flatcars are stock cars that held elephants and baggage horses. This scene was repeated daily, morning and night, in railroad yards in communities across the United States. Cole Bros. Circus was established in 1884 by William Washington Cole ...
Contributed by Circus World Museum
The Uganda Journal, Volume I, Number 1, January 1934
The Uganda Literary and Scientific Society was established at Entebbe, Uganda Protectorate, in 1923. Its main activity consisted of the reading of papers and the delivery of lectures on topics relating to Uganda. In 1933 the society moved its headquarters to Kampala and decided to issue a regular publication, The Uganda Journal. The journal’s declared aim was “to collect and publish information which may add to our knowledge of Uganda and to record that which in the course of time might be lost.” Four issues per year were published ...
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Ringling Circus Winter Quarters, Sarasota, Florida
John Ringling (1866–1936), one of the seven Ringling brothers who dominated the development of the American circus in the late 19th and early 20th century, moved the winter quarters of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from its original quarters in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Sarasota, Florida. Ringling’s vision, as recalled by Fred Bradna, equestrian director for the show, in his book The Big Top, was to “lay out the quarters like a zoo, and thousands of visitors will pay to see it. I’ll build an open-air ...
Bazaar of Isfahan
This photograph shows a part of the bazaar in Isfahan, Iran as it appeared in 1944. A bazaar is a marketplace or assemblage of shops where a wide variety of goods and services are displayed for trade. “Bazaar” is derived from the Persian word for “market,” and many believe that the bazaar is one of the most important landmarks of Persian civilization. Archaeologists have found evidence of bazaars in different parts of Iran, and scholars have concluded that the development of cities was based on not only a rising population ...
The Celestial Threads
Yazep Drazdovich (1888–1954), a versatile figure in the history of Belarusian culture, worked in different areas of art as a painter, sculptor, ethnographer, archeologist, and teacher. One of the founders of the school of national historical painting, he was called a Belarusian Leonardo Da Vinci and a Belarusian Tsiolkovskii (after the Russian and Soviet scientist and pioneer of astronautics). Drazdovich’s passionate desire to unlock the secrets of the night sky led him to formulate his own theory on the origin of the planets in the solar system. He ...
Inter-American Highway
The Inter-American Highway is the portion of the Pan-American Highway system that runs from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to Panama City, Panama, a total of 5,390 kilometers. The First Pan American Congress of Highways took place in October 1925 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, under the auspices of the Pan American Union. The congress was followed by a program of surveys and further meetings to discuss development of an inter-American highway system. In October 1929, representatives of the Central American countries, Mexico, and the United States met in Panama to establish ...
Map of the Mayance Nations and Languages
This circa-1934 map, prepared for Maya Society Quarterly and printed by the National Printing Office, Guatemala, shows the distribution of the Mayance (Mayan) nations and languages in present-day southern Mexico, Guatemala, and western Honduras in the period from about 1000 to 1500. The map is based on the research of William E. Gates (1863–1940), an American Mayanist and collector of Mesoamerican manuscripts who worked for many decades on deciphering Maya hieroglyphic writing. Among the languages mapped by Gates are Maya (now known as Yucatec Maya), Cholti, Q'eqchi', and ...
Joseph Avenol
Joseph Avenol (1879–1952) was a French diplomat who served as the secretary-general of the League of Nations in the years leading up to World War II. After a career in the French Ministry of Finance, in 1923 he was appointed League deputy secretary-general, with particular responsibility for coordination of post-World War I financial reconstruction. On July 1, 1933, he succeeded former British diplomat Sir Eric Drummond (1876–1951), who had been secretary-general of the League since its establishment in 1919. Avenol took office four months after Japan withdrew from ...
Sean Lester
Sean Lester (1888–1959) was an Irish journalist and government official who held important positions in the League of Nations. A Protestant who was educated at the Methodist College in Belfast, he nonetheless supported Irish independence and was a member of Sinn Fein. Following the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, he joined the country’s foreign ministry and in 1929 became Ireland’s representative to the League of Nations. He chaired committees attempting to resolve territorial disputes between Peru and Colombia and between Bolivia and Paraguay, and ...
Under the Auspices of the League, Saar Plebiscite
After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles placed the territories of the Saar basin, formerly part of Germany, under the administration of the League of Nations for a period of 15 years. As compensation for the destruction by Germany of coal mines in the north of France and part of the reparations Germany was to pay for the war, France was given control of the coal mines of the Saar for this period. The administration of the territory was entrusted to a Governing Commission consisting of five members chosen ...
Summary of Petition of Railroad Workers of Hungarian Origin and Protection of Minorities in Czechoslovakia
After World War I, the states of central and southeastern Europe were compelled by the victorious Allied and Associated Powers to sign agreements guaranteeing religious, social, and political equality to their minority populations. The states covered were Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Groups or individuals who believed they had been discriminated against for ethnic or linguistic reasons could petition the League of Nations for redress by the Council. The Minority Section within the League Secretariat was responsible for screening incoming petitions, requesting responses from the accused ...
Petition of Railroad Workers of Hungarian Origin, Draft Reply, Legal Arguments
After World War I, the states of central and southeastern Europe were compelled by the victorious Allied and Associated Powers to sign agreements guaranteeing religious, social, and political equality to their minority populations. The states covered were Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Groups or individuals who believed they had been discriminated against for ethnic or linguistic reasons could petition the League of Nations for redress by the Council. The Minority Section within the League Secretariat was responsible for screening incoming petitions, requesting responses from the accused ...
Ratification by China of the Convention for the Suppression of the Illicit Traffic in Dangerous Drugs
The first global attempt to control the traffic in opium and other dangerous drugs (such as morphine, heroin, and cocaine) occurred via the Hague Convention, signed by 42 nations in 1912. The signatory states agreed to allow the import only of such drugs as were considered necessary for medicinal and scientific purposes. World War I broke out before the convention could be implemented, but after the war the League of Nations was entrusted with reactivating the convention. It soon became evident that in order to prevent the illicit smuggling of ...
Passport Request, Nansen Office in Berlin
The Nansen International Office for Refugees was authorized by the League of Nations in the fall of 1930 and began active operations on April 1, 1931. It was the successor to the first international agency dealing with refugees, the High Commission for Refugees, established in June 1921 by the League of Nations under the direction of the Norwegian explorer and statesman Fridtjof Nansen (1861–1930). The League Secretariat had assumed responsibility for international refugees and stateless persons and charged the Nansen office with carrying out its responsibilities in this area ...
Nansen Passport with Stamps
The Nansen passport was a certificate issued by the Nansen International Office for Refugees as an international substitute for a passport, which allowed stateless persons or those deprived of their national passports to enter and transit other countries. The Nansen office was the successor to the first international agency dealing with refugees, the High Commission for Refugees, established in June 1921 by the League of Nations under the direction of the Norwegian explorer and statesman Fridtjof Nansen (1861–1930). The League Secretariat had assumed responsibility for international refugees and stateless ...
Bombings in Spain. Petition Forwarded to the League of Nations by the International Labour Organisation, from the President of the Labour Council, Miguel Santalo
The Spanish Civil War of 1936–39 involved a prolonged revolt of forces led by Nationalist general Francisco Franco against the Spanish Republican government, which ultimately was won by the Nationalists. Under the leadership of dictator Benito Mussolini, Italy supported the Nationalists with supplies of weapons and direct military involvement. On March 16–18, 1938, Italian forces carried out an aerial bombardment of Republican-held Barcelona in support of the Nationalists, resulting in the death of more than 1,000 civilians. Shown here is a petition forwarded on March 31, 1938 ...
Bombings in Spain. Draft Reply of the League of Nations
On March 31, 1938, Miguel Santalo, president of the Labour Council of the Spanish Republic, sent a petition to the director of the International Labour Organisation requesting that the League of Nations condemn Italy for its bombardment, on March 16–18, 1938, of the city of Barcelona, which resulted in the death of more than 1,000 civilians. The Italian action was undertaken in support of the Nationalist forces of General Francisco Franco, who were fighting to overthrow the government of the Spanish Republic. Santalo argued that the bombardment contravened ...
Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism
The document presented here is the archival copy of the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism, which was adopted by 24 member states of the League of Nations on November 16, 1937. The concluding pages of the document contain the signatures of the representatives of the states. In a few cases, reservations, either typed or handwritten, accompany the signatures. The French government had proposed, following the assassination by Croatian and Macedonian separatists of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia in Marseilles in 1934, that the League adopt a convention ...
Convention on the International Status of Refugees
This document is the original typewritten text of the Convention on the International Status of Refugees, which was concluded on October 28, 1933, by five countries—Belgium, Bulgaria, Egypt, France, and Norway—and subsequently adhered to by a number of others. The convention was the most far-reaching attempt on the part of the League of Nations to define the responsibilities of states towards refugees. It grew out of four multilateral League arrangements that were adopted between 1922 and 1928 in response to refugee problems caused by World War I and ...
Treaty of Relation Between Cuba and the United States, Certified Copy Deposited at the League of Nations
Article 18 of the Covenant of the League of Nations stipulated that “every treaty or international engagement entered into hereafter by any Member of the League shall be forthwith registered with the Secretariat and shall as soon as possible be published by it. No such treaty or international engagement shall be binding until so registered.” President Woodrow Wilson of the United States believed that secret agreements between states had been a major cause of World War I and therefore insisted, at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919–20, that the ...
Memorandum on the Organization of a System of Federal European Union
At the annual meeting of the Assembly of the League of Nations in September 1929, Foreign Minister Aristide Briand of France proposed the establishment of a federal European union to coordinate economic and political policies. Briand believed that the proposed union should be created within the framework of the League, and promised to submit a detailed plan for a federal union to the 27 European states that were League members. Shown here is Briand’s plan, which was issued for discussion on May 1, 1930. The proposal was brought before ...
European Nationality—What You Should Know about Europe and European Nationality
At the annual meeting of the Assembly of the League of Nations in September 1929, Foreign Minister Aristide Briand of France proposed the establishment of a federal European union to coordinate economic and political policies. Briand believed that the proposed union should be created within the framework of the League, and promised to submit a detailed plan for a federal union to the 27 European states that were League members. This initiative inspired the formation of the non-governmental Office of European Nationality, which launched a public campaign in support of ...
Pollution of the Sea by Oil. Draft Replies of the Governments Relating to the Draft Convention
With the development of an international petroleum industry in the first part of the 20th century, pollution of the sea by oil became a matter of international concern. In July 1934 the government of the United Kingdom raised this issue in a letter to the secretary-general of the League of Nations, after a campaign by several civil society organizations raised awareness of the damage and threats to maritime industry, tourism, and wildlife. In November 1934 the Council of the League authorized the League’s Communications and Transit Organization to create ...
Disarmament Conference, Geneva, 1933
Sixty countries sent delegates to the Disarmament Conference that convened in Geneva in February 1932 to consider reductions in armaments, with particular emphasis on offensive weapons. Germany, whose army and navy already were limited by the Treaty of Versailles, demanded that other states disarm to German levels and, in the event they refused to do so, claimed a right to build up its armed forces. France, which feared the revival of German power, argued that security must precede disarmament and called for security guarantees and the establishment of an international ...
Withdrawal of Germany from the League of Nations. Letter from Konstantin von Neurath
In October 1933, some nine months after Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany, the German government announced its withdrawal from the League of Nations. The ostensible reason was the refusal of the Western powers to acquiesce in Germany’s demands for military parity. With this curt letter, dated October 19, 1933, Foreign Minister Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath informed the League of Nations secretary-general, Joseph Avenol, of Germany’s withdrawal. Germany’s departure from the international organization was followed by its massive military buildup, undertaken in violation of international agreements ...
The Big Parade
This political cartoon was created in 1932 by Alois Derso (1888–1964) and Emery Kelen (1896–1978). Derso and Kelen were Hungarians who worked for the League of Nations in Geneva, where they were renowned for their satirical portrayals of the League and its conferences. “The Big Parade” concerns the 1932 Geneva Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments. It shows a procession of politicians rushing across the page in comical versions of their national costumes. Adolf Hitler of Germany, Prime Minister Saitō of Japan, and Prime Minister Pierre ...
Military Situation in Manchuria before 18 September 1931. Map Prepared for Lytton's Report on the Sino-Japanese Conflict
On the night of September 18, 1931, anti-Japanese activists set off explosions on the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railroad in Manchuria, northeastern China. The Japanese army used the incident as a pretext to invade Manchuria, and quickly occupied its key cities. China appealed to the world’s powers for help. The Council of the League of Nations, supported by the United States, sought to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict. In early 1932, the Council dispatched an inquiry commission to China under the leadership of the British diplomat, the Earl ...
Situation in Manchuria: Report of the Lytton Commission of Inquiry
On the night of September 18, 1931, anti-Japanese activists set off explosions on the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railroad in Manchuria, northeastern China. The Japanese army used the incident as a pretext to invade Manchuria, and quickly occupied key Manchurian cities. China appealed to the world’s powers for help. The Council of the League of Nations, supported by the United States, sought to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict. In early 1932, the Council dispatched an inquiry commission to China under the leadership of the British diplomat, the Earl ...
Speech by the His Majesty Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, at the Assembly of the League of Nations, at the Session of June–July 1936
In the early 1930s, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was determined to expand Italy’s African empire by annexing Ethiopia. In December 1934, a clash, provoked by the Italians, occurred between Italian and Ethiopian armed forces at Walwal on the Ethiopian side of the frontier with Italian Somaliland. Mussolini declared the incident “an act of self-defense” and thus not subject to arbitration under international agreements. Italy demanded compensation and formal recognition of the area as Italian. When Emperor Haile Selassie refused to yield to these demands, Italy began mobilizing its forces ...
Letter of Resignation of James G. McDonald, High Commissioner for Refugees (Jewish and Other) Coming from Germany
James G. McDonald was an American diplomat who in October 1933 was appointed by the Council of the League of Nations to be high commissioner for refugees (Jewish and other) coming from Germany. His mandate was to “negotiate and direct” the “international collaboration” necessary to solve the “economic, financial and social problem” of refugees from Germany. McDonald held this position for more than two years. He resigned in December 1935, having concluded that the “conditions in Germany which create refugees have developed so catastrophically that a reconsideration by the League ...
Transfer of the League of Nations to the United Nations, Ceremony with Sean Lester and Wlodzimierz Moderow
By the end of World War II, 43 countries technically were still members of the League of Nations, but the organization, which had been established after World War I to prevent another great war but had failed in this mission, for all practical purposes had ceased to exist. A new international organization, the United Nations, came into being with the signature, in San Francisco on June 26, 1945, of the Charter of the United Nations. At the initiative of the British Foreign Office, the League held a final Assembly (the ...
Peter the Tramp
Luffar-Petter (Peter the tramp), a silent film made in Sweden in 1922, was the first film in which the Swedish-born actress Greta Garbo (1905–90) appeared. Still known by her original name of Greta Lovisa Gustafsson, Garbo was at the time a simple, unknown actress still learning her craft. This short comedy was the starting point from which Garbo was launched on a path to major roles in Swedish and Hollywood films and to stardom. Presented here is the film poster for Luffar-Petter, which was created some seven years after ...
Southeast Europe and the Mediterranean Sea
This map of southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean was made early in World War II by Fremde Heere Ost (Foreign Armies East), a unit of the German army general staff responsible for intelligence about the armies of the Soviet Union, Scandinavia, certain Balkan countries, Africa, and the Far East. The map shows country boundaries in bold, dark purple. Also shown are oil pipelines, wells and other sources of water, and important roads, railroads, and canals. Many of the countries of this region were involved in the war. Italian and ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Near and Middle East: Balkan Peninsula
This map of the Near and Middle East was compiled in 1940 by the Geographical Section of the General Staff of the British Army and published by the War Office of the British government in 1941. The map shows topographic relief by gradient tints and indicates railroads, principal roads, secondary roads, caravan routes and tracks, the names and boundaries of provinces and districts, and deserts, rivers, swamps, and other topographic features. Towns and cities are classified and shown by categories, from first (capitals) to fifth in importance. Also shown are ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Erecting the Big Top, Cole Bros. Circus, 1937
This image from the 1930s shows the Cole Bros. Circus setting the side poles in preparation for erecting the big top tent, a scene that was common at every American circus at that time. In the background can be seen another tent, already set up. Alternating United States and Cole Bros. flags are flying at the top of the six center poles. Cole Bros. Circus was established in 1884 by William Washington Cole (1847–1915) as “W.W. Cole’s New Colossal Shows.” In the 1930s, when this photograph was ...
Contributed by Circus World Museum
Russell Bros. Circus, 1932
This photograph is an aerial view of the circus lot of the Russell Bros. Circus at Janesville, Wisconsin, in 1932. The availability of trucks following World War I led to a rapid growth of the trucking industry in the United States. Circuses quickly adapted to the new technology by creating "truck shows" or circuses that traveled overland via truck. Truck shows brought the circus to smaller towns across the country previously inaccessible by rail. This image shows a typical medium-sized truck show of the mid-20th century. The sideshow tent and ...
Contributed by Circus World Museum
Garland Entry, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, 1930
This photograph shows horses and riders of the "Fete of Garlands" or "Garland Entry" assembling in the back yard of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus before going into the big top tent. Various tents and baggage wagons can be seen in the background. The image is a good example of the size and complexity of a “spec” performance in a large American circus. The spectacle, or “spec,” developed as a procession that took place around the hippodrome track inside the big top, or circus tent, featuring as many ...
Contributed by Circus World Museum
Behind the Scenes of Typical Truck Circus, Downie Bros. Circus, 1932
This behind-the-scenes image is typical of a “truck show” in the American circus. With the growth of the trucking industry in the United States after World War I, many small circuses could easily mount their wagons and equipment on the back of trucks and travel across the country, reaching countless smaller communities previously inaccessible by circuses operating strictly from railroads. In this image, three women rest under a fly tent attached to the back of a painted truck of the Downie Bros. Circus. The circus was owned by Andrew Downie ...
Contributed by Circus World Museum
Map of the Far East of the USSR, Northern China (Manchuria) and Mongolia
This Soviet-era map is intended to serve a propaganda purpose. On the top and bottom are the slogans: "For the strengthening of the military-sanitary fund of the Red Cross"; "Citizens of the USSR must remember the Chinese adventure of 1929"; and " The Army and the Red Cross--together serving the defense of the USSR." Shown on the map are international borders, administrative borders on the territory of the USSR, population centers, railroad stations, and roads. The inset in the lower right is a schematic map of southern China. The portraits on ...