Communities and Collections

“If you could send over your documents to the photostat department...”: Paris Peace Conference Documentation and the Advent of Microfilm

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • In the years after 1919 the Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles had enormous impact on world affairs, but historical research on the actual workings of the Conference was blocked, because the documentation was in closed collections. A major opening came when David Hunter Miller self-published his 21-volume collection of Conference papers and allowed it to be distributed to research libraries by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in early 1929. The historian Robert C. Binkley schemed to use the Miller Diary to force the closed collections open. His first attempt was a collaboration with Parker Moon, based on sharing photostat copies of some rare documents in Moon's possession as a supplement to Miller, in exchange for the sharing of similar documents by the major collections. The idea seems to have fizzled, but the willingness of research libraries to participate committed them to more extensive sharing of copies. Binkley then worked with James Shotwell on the Paris Peace Conference: History and Documents series, using microfilm instead of photostat. The microfilming campaign conducted by Robert and Frances Binkley at Yale and Columbia in January 1933, sponsored by the Joint Committee on Materials for Research, an early trial and demonstration of the possibilities of large-scale microfilming in the American academic world.

  • Date created
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Conference/Workshop Presentation
  • DOI
  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International