Philadelphia: W. C. Hamilton & Sons, circa 1943. This exceptional, framed broadside features the Atlantic Charter, designed by celebrated American typographer and designer Bruce Rogers. This 21 x 13.5 inch (53.3 x 34.3 cm) broadside is protected behind UV filtering acrylic in a 27.5 x 20.5 inch (69.9 x 52.1 cm) black wood frame with a gold inner border commissioned from J. Dewers of San Diego, who offer museum quality services. Broadside condition is excellent, never previously framed, with only trivial signs of handling and wear to extremities. Rogers may have originally designed this Atlantic Charter broadside for William E. Rudge’s sons in 1943. This printing by W. C. Hamilton & Sons is undated, but appears contemporary to the Second World War. The only other example we have handled was accompanied by the original publisher’s slip referencing Rogers’ Oxford Bible, Lawrence’s Odyssey, and the Limited Editions Club Shakespeare, all published in the 1930s, but not mentioning Rogers’ 1948 gold medal for graphic arts from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The publisher’s slip specified: “The type face is Goudy’s Hadriano. The border has been Virkotyped from a design made by Mr. Rogers. The paper is Hamilton Weycroft, Ivori, Basis 100.”
Bruce Rogers (1870-1957) was one of the most distinguished typographers and book designers of his time. Fittingly, Rogers lent his art to the Atlantic Charter, which contains some of the most aspirational and influential words of the twentieth century. In August 1941, Winston Churchill braved the Battle of the Atlantic to voyage by warship to Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, where he secretly met with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Their agenda included setting constructive goals for the post-war world, even as the struggle against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan was still very much undecided and the U.S. had yet to formally enter the war. The eight principles to which they agreed became the Atlantic Charter. “That it had little legal validity did not detract from its value… Coming from the two great democratic leaders of the day… the Atlantic Charter created a profound impression on the embattled Allies. It came as a message of hope to the occupied countries, and it held out the promise of a world organization based on the enduring verities of international morality.” (United Nations) In addition to encapsulating postwar aspirations and catalyzing formation of the United Nations, the Atlantic Charter also testified to the remarkable personal relationship between FDR and Churchill.
“Support for the principles of the Atlantic Charter and a pledge of cooperation to the utmost in giving effect to them, came from a meeting of ten governments in London shortly after Mr. Churchill returned from his ocean rendezvous. This declaration was signed on September 24 by the USSR and the nine governments of occupied Europe: Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia and by the representatives of General de Gaulle, of France.” Nonetheless, Atlantic Charter principles were remote from the realities of war in August 1941. Even after Newfoundland, to Churchill’s frustration, America had still “made no commitments and was no nearer to war than before the ship board meeting.” (Gilbert, VI, p.1176) In his live broadcast from Chequers on August 24, Churchill rather modestly introduced the Atlantic Charter thus: “…a simple, rough-and-ready war-time statement of the goal towards which the British Commonwealth and the United States mean to make their way…” Not until December 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, did America formally enter the war and not until October 1945 was the United Nations established, embodying the lofty principles of the Atlantic Charter. Even then, the Cold War was already nascent, ensuring that a geo-political reality based on those noble principles would remain as remote as it was in Placentia Bay in August 1941. As it remains today. We will ship this framed item at cost. Item #005904