Ahora Periodico Illustrado. [CHURCHILL, Winston] [ROOSEVELT, President Franklin D.].

Atlantic Charter


[Buenos Aries] Ahora Periodico Illustrado.. 1941.

Oblong. 210x278mm. 32 leaves, with 31 black and white photographs pasted in. Each photograph has printed captions (text in Spanish) pasted onto the bottom edge. The first leaf has the title details, printed on white paper, pasted in. Each photograph has a glassine protective sheet. Contemporary string bound album covered in maroon cloth and stamped with the name of the owner "Mervyn F. Ryan" on the upper cover with "Ahora Periodico Illustrado" stamped at bottom right corner. Some slight rubbing to extremities and wear to corners but otherwise very good and in excellent condition internally with the photographs especially well preserved. This album (or anything like) seems to be unrecorded and we have found nothing similar in the auction records.
This fascinating collection is a rare photographic record of the signing of the Atlantic Charter by Roosevelt and Churchill. It was produced by the Argentinian illustrated periodical Ahora. This was a news magazine and these photographs are enlarged versions, printed on good quality gloss photographic paper, of the pictures used in a series of issues of the magazine between 22nd August and 5th September 1941. There is little staged about these images and they have the immediacy of a true journalistic record. Unsurprisingly, Roosevelt and Churchill feature heavily – they were the two big beasts, Churchill holding the line in Europe and Roosevelt playing a very delicate domestic game with American public opinion – but there is a strong sense of the broader picture with lots of other figures contributing to the bustle and urgency of a major diplomatic conference. 
The Atlantic Conference took place between 9th-12th August 1941 at the US Naval Base Argentia in Newfoundland and the declaration, issued as a statement rather than as a written document, was made on 14th August. Although it was, in a sense, merely one of a number of similar declarations and agreements made that year (the Anglo-Soviet Agreement – Evelyn Waugh's "day of apocalypse for all the world" - had been signed the previous month), the Atlantic Charter (the name was coined by a British newspaper and it stuck) had a greater immediate impact and has had a longer lasting effect. Arguably it led to Pearl Harbour, the Japanese interpreting it as an act of aggression; its call for national self-determination set the ball of decolonization rolling; and it laid the foundations for NATO and the United Nations. A new world order was emerging.
The recipient of this album, given to him, we assume, by Ahora magazine, was Mervyn Ryan, an engineer who worked in railways in America, Britain, India and Argentina. He was in Argentina for most of his working life, latterly advising the Argentine government on the management of the previously British-owned railways. With fingers in lots of pies, and a prominent member of the British community in Buenos Aries, the editors of Ahora no doubt thought that Ryan was the right audience for this specially produced record of a major political event.

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