Library unearths WWI treaty

Last updated 05:00 26/04/2014
Treaty of Versailles
HISTORY MAKER: Wellingtonians will now be able to – gently – get their hands on a significant piece of world history, a copy of the Treaty of Versailles, at Wellington Central Library.

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Wellington City librarians have unearthed a well-preserved copy of the Treaty of Versailles, almost 100 years after World War I broke out.

Last year's earthquakes left the Central Library's old stack rooms in need of some attention, and Jamie Boorman and a fellow librarian were tidying it when they made the discovery a few weeks ago.

"I found this old, grey, unmarked book with a little number on it and lo and behold - the Treaty of Versailles," Boorman said.

"It took me a bit by surprise . . . I thought, a document like that, we would have known it was there. I thought it was quite special to have it turn up almost 100 years after the kick-off. I'm loath to say it wanted to be found, but that's how I saw it at the time."

The book, bought by the library in 1920, was a copy of the original.

Boorman said that technically, the document could have been tracked down for a member of the public - but only if someone knew what they were looking for.

"We agreed it should probably be properly catalogued and probably put in the rare-books room."

Other similar copies of the treaty would be in libraries around the country, but after decades without human contact, the city library's copy was likely to be one of the best preserved.

"It's in very good condition . . . The cover's a little bit beaten but it's all there, signatures and all."

Boorman expected the book would be an integral part of the library's World War I commemorations.

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- The Dominion Post


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