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[WWI].

[WWI]. "Christmas MCMXIV - Belgian Uvar (i.e. WAR) Souvenir" (caption title). "With the cordial thanks of the poor children of Antwerp to their kind hearted Comrades of the United States for their nice Christmas presents

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[WWI]. "Christmas MCMXIV - Belgian Uvar (i.e. WAR) Souvenir" (caption title). "With the cordial thanks of the poor children of Antwerp to their kind hearted Comrades of the United States for their nice Christmas presents

by Children of Antwerp

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About This Item

Antwerp, 1914. Broadsheet leaflet (280 x 185 mm). With the arms of Antwerp and the arms of the Plantin Press at the foot. Creased along fold, soiling and browning. Good condition. WWI CHRISTMAS 1914 LEAFLET from Belgian children to "the Children of the United States" USING "THE OLD ORIGINAL TYPES OF CHRISTOPHORUS PLANTINUS (1514-1589)." A remarkable survival. As the German soldiers moved through (neutral) Belgium en route to capture Paris, they confiscated the food supply; civilians, especially children, were brought to starvation or quite near to it. In order to feed its people, the Belgian government appealed to the people of the United States for humanitarian aid. In response, a large number of Americans young and old sent funds and food to the beleaguered Belgian people. Here we have an original instrument sent from the children of Belgium thanking the Americans and their children for "their nice Christmas presents." This expression of thanks bears the original signatures of three persons (no doubt Belgian children, judging from the inscriptions) who were blessed by the donations received from Americans. The leaflet is dated Dec. 25, 1914 -- this is the exact date of the UNOFFICIAL CHRISTMAS TRUCE. "Starting on Christmas Eve, many German and British troops fighting in World War I sang Christmas carols to each other across the lines, and at certain points the Allied soldiers even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing. At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man's-land, calling out "Merry Christmas" in their enemies' native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. Some Germans lit Christmas trees around their trenches, and there was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer. German Lieutenant Kurt Zehmisch recalled: "How marvelously wonderful, yet how strange it was. The English officers felt the same way about it. Thus Christmas, the celebration of Love, managed to bring mortal enemies together as friends for a time." (Source: "Christmas Truce of 1914" online at history.com - accessed 9/27/2020). That the leaflet was printed with original PLANTIN TYPES is of great interest. Note that the W in the word "War" was created using two letters: an upper-case U and a lower-case u. But clearly Plantin had a W, as we see from the large Fraktur W in the word "With." We have located an announcement that was published in the Jan. 22, 1915 issue of the extremely obscure newspaper "Het Volk: Christen Werkmansblad." It states that "the Antwerp administration" was responsible for printing the leaflet. "The schoolchildren will sign this acknowledgment of thanks, which will then be sent to America. The children from East Flanders weren't so happy!" We are unable to explain the meaning of this last sentence (!) Few originals of this leaflet are likely to have survived over the last 106 years. It remains a heartwarming example of the generosity of young Americans towards the suffering Belgian children.

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Details

Bookseller
Michael Laird Rare Books LLC US (US)
Bookseller Inventory #
3226
Title
[WWI]. "Christmas MCMXIV - Belgian Uvar (i.e. WAR) Souvenir" (caption title). "With the cordial thanks of the poor children of Antwerp to their kind hearted Comrades of the United States for their nice Christmas presents
Author
Children of Antwerp
Book condition
Used
Quantity available
1
Place of Publication
Antwerp
Date published
1914

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Michael Laird Rare Books LLC

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Lockhart, Texas
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About Michael Laird Rare Books LLC

Welcome to Michael Laird Rare Books, LLC. We specialize in fine and rare books, manuscripts, documents, ephemera, fine and historic bookbindings, and illustrated books of every description. Michael Laird is a member of the ABAA (Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America), ILAB (International League of Antiquarian Booksellers), and the Appraisers Association of America (USPAP compliant, and AAA certified in the appraisal of Rare and Antiquarian Printed Books). Michael Laird earned his masters degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Texas at Austin (1989) and has more twenty years experience in the antiquarian booktrade. He is the principal Rare Book and Document appraiser at Winston Art Group (New York) and Gurr Johns (New York). Since 2002 he has taught advanced graduate level courses in Rare Books and Special Collections, most recently at the University of Texas at Austin (School of Information).We invite you to browse through a selection of our inventory: we strive to present the greatest historic detail and bibliographic accuracy, even for lesser priced - but no less interesting - items.We are happy to provide further images of any item: please inquire.Order with confidence: we select every item with great care and discernment; moreover, we examine every page of every book. We are always interested in purchasing fine and rare books, manuscripts, and ephemera; please inquire. We very much appreciate your interest in our work, and your patronage. Thank you!

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