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W.H. Buckler correspondence, 1917 - 1920

 Series — Container: 2, Folder: 4

Scope and Contents

Correspondence between William Hepburn Buckler and correspondents including Brent Keyser and Johns Hopkins University President Frank Goodnow, 1917-1920. The following was copied from the dealer's description: "On offer is a fascinating, significant, original group of 14 letters, six written by William Hepburn Buckler who was a prominent and respected Baltimore lawyer whose post WWI work involved establishing the League of Nations. Prior to that Buckler who practiced law in Baltimore, Maryland from 1892-1905 was Secretary to the American Legation in Madrid from 1907-1909. From 1910-1914 Buckler participated in the excavations at Sardis. He was a Special Agent at the U.S. Embassy in London from 1914-1918, and in 1919 served as a staff member of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace. Later Buckler was active in the field of archaeology from 1920-1930. Buckler was stationed at the US Embassy in London during WWI and was instrumental in the League of Nations and the peace negotiations following WWI and several of these handwritten letters are on U.S. Embassy stamped paper and there are a number of references to on going political negotiations and public support of the peace negotiations and League of Nations. This remarkable grouping gives insight into the thought processes going on as President Wilson and his team negotiated for the League of Nations following the calamity that was WWI to Brent Keyser, a wealthy industrialist from Baltimore and among other things Chairman of the Board at Johns Hopkins, and the retained copies of Keyser's replies [7] detailing his thoughts on the War, his work with the Red Cross where he was very involved and a fair bit of personal, intimate remarks of life, all dated in the period of the end of and immediately post WWI. [There is one letter from a Cornell professor relevant to part of their correspondence.] Here are some snippets: Jan 2, 1918 on U.S. embassy paper and written during the war: "Dear Brent, Though I can't send a proper letter to thank you for yours I must first wish you Happy New Years and forward these clippings to (illegible) I am thinking much of you. Love to Thayer, if you see him. I wonder if he got my letter in Russia. Yours in haste WHB. Hoping (illegible) for good account of WH Keyser is keeping on well. I wrote to the Sun and sent letters from the Publicity dept of F.O." This letter is referencing the first carbon copy letter from Keyser sent Nov 10, 1917 relaying a conference Keyser had with several people about the Baltimore Sun "ought to publish letters from those in positions in England to know the situation and who could help mold American opinion and bring the two nations together." Keyser's letter is discusses patriotic duty and influencing the politics in Washington. Feb 4th 1918, on U. S. Embassy paper: "My Dear Brent, Many thanks for your letter of the 12th. I was delighted to hear your good news of W Keyser and of Thayer's arrival. The interesting news about Ellen we already had from W Bruce and from Lily Howard in Oxford whom Lucy saw on Monday. I wish you would kindly ask Thayer if he ever got my letter. Col. Thompson, his colleague, said Thayer had (illegible) from home and I suppose Russia is no almost more remote than the moon for all ordinary purposes What a story he will have to tell! I had hoped he would come over here but after Janeway's sad loss I suppose you will need him. I wish there were time for more. Yours in haste WHB, Many Message to Randall Thayer, Welch Ames". This letter is referencing Keyser's letter of Jan 12, 1918 where he discusses Red Cross work he was doing, the return of "Thayer", the University (likely Johns Hopkins) and other friends. February 13th 1918, on U.S. Embassy paper and is referencing Woodrow Wilson's important speech to Congress on Feb 11th: "My Dear Brenty, Here is (a name) acknowledgement from BRC. I have seen our old friend Rainy who is most active and I gather very efficient and successful. It is quite a compliment that Putnam has paid him by sending him on this very important mission. The Presidents speech of yesterday is great. As a British Editor put it to words: It makes you proud to be an American". Things are pretty bleak here and everyone pretty gloomy so a speech of that kind does much good. Hoping that W Keyser's improvement keeps on steadily. Ever yours WHB. Is there any change of Thayer filling Janeway's place?" There is no corresponding carbon copy but there are two more between this date and the next letter from Buckler which is dated October 19th. October 19th 1918, on US Embassy stationary: "My Dear Brent, I am first reminded of you again by seeing Dr Birckhear who is starting on his way home after, as I gather, a most successful trip. There were some amusing features but these I can't go into here. No doubt he and the other "propagandists" will do a most useful work. The gift of 200,000 to the Red Cross yesterday has had a most gratifying effect here and I am glad that so many of our good speakers are coming out to see the work with their own eyes. What is being done in France must be simply amazing and very necessary. Do let me know your news some time especially about Wm Keyser's progress. I know the Red Cross must be keeping you busy so also H. White who tells me he has been roped in. We have just been having a visit from Major Murphy, head of the Paris RC office, a fine West Point specimen. Best luck and messages to you all. WH Buckler". March 12th 1919, on Commissioner Plenipotentiary of the United States of America Stationary; a long and content rich letter to which a three page carbon copy letter was sent back by Keyser. "My Dear Brent, Just a line to tell you that Captain James Bruce has been lunching here today with Harry and that (illegible) of which he gives a most interesting account, seems to have (illegible) him admirably. He is a most delightful person and you are indeed to be congratulated on such a son in law elect. I hope his brigade will soon be going home so that his fiancee may have a speedy end to the (illegible) and the separation which she has so bravely bore. Please give her my love and tell her that (illegible name) is well and working had and will I know be deeply interested in the news of James which I am sending her. I am over here now for several weeks with the Commission and it is of course the greatest pleasure to be with Harry. Things are looking brighter for the League of Nations. And the attacks upon it made by the Republicans have strengthened the President's position here since the French realize that if they don't heartily support him the League may come to nothing which for them would indeed be a calamity. I am sorry to hear the news from MS Keyser is still not entirely satisfactory. My wife and Barbara are well and though they cannot leave her job, those two are coming over here next week. I expect to enjoy showing Barbara (aged 10) the sights of Paris. Many museums are, alas, still closed. With many messages from Harry I am yours affectionately W.H. Buckler. My love to Randall and to Ames and Thayer". Nov. 17 1920, "On Board the RMS Adriatic" stationary: "My Dear Brent, I am sorry to have put off till this last moment my message of thanks to you for all your kindness. But life on shore has been very strenuous and letters were difficult to write. These last 3 days here and in Boston I have had interesting talks with Senator Lodge, with Root and with Paul Gravath. The two latter who are strong pro leaguers do not feel sure by any means as to how matters stand "on the front porch" nor as to who the "best minds" will be. they were hopeful, but no more. The pre League republicans are to have a dinner here tomorrow but I don't see that much can come of it for the deadlock or stagnation must be complete until next March 4th. And how much, by that time, may world conditions have altered! I hope that persons of influence, like yourself, and Baetjer will put into the pro-League cause all your available weight for I think it will be need. If you know of any one interested in the J.H.U. to whom papyri appeal let him send a contribution to W.L. Westermann at Cornell whose letter I am enclosing. Mow is a fine time for collecting because of war conditions. Many messages to Julianna and (name illegible) for her kind hospitality, ever your affectionately, W.H. Buckler". Following this is a lengthy response from Keyser about his meetings, his opinions of the League of Nations etc. There is also a carbon copy of a letter he sent to Frank Goodow who was President of Johns Hopkins regarding the Cornell professor William Westerman and papyri. Westerman's letter to Buckler that was referenced is included. In total there are 6 fairly long hand written letters by Buckler, 7 carbon copies of the even longer typed letters sent by Keyser to Buckler and one hand written letter from a professor at Cornell that was relevant to a particular conversation in one of the letters. "


  • Creation: 1917 - 1920


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.


0.167 Cubic Feet (14 items)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received from Benjamin Katz, February 2015.


Accession 2014-15.MS.045

Processing Information

Processed by Jordon Steele, February 2015.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA