Frederick P. Lee collection of World War I ephemera
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Frederick P. Lee, an insurance agent, was born in 1880, in England. He immigrated to the United States in 1912 and lived in Santa Monica, California. His wife, Olive H. Lee, was born in 1879, in England. His son, Denis J. F. Lee, was born in 1910, also in England. (Note that there are no materials in this collection connected to Olive or Denis.) Though a death date was not located for Frederick P. Lee, the 1940 census records his wife, Olive, as a widow and her son, Denis, as head of household. As such, Frederick P. Lee likely died sometime between the 1930 census in which he appears and the 1940 census, at which point he is already deceased.
A number of materials in this collection, including pamphlets and magazines, are stamped with the phrase, "With Compliments of Frederick P. Lee, Fellow of Royal Colonial Institute." Additionally, the illustrated postcards by Francis Dodd, featuring admirals of the British Navy illustrated, are in an envelope mailed from England to the United States and addressed to F. P. Lee, Esq., Santa Monica, California. As an Englishman living in the US during World War I, it is likely that Lee was interested in promoting England's role in the war and even encouraging US participation, since the US did not enter the war until 1917. The materials in this collection may have been part of that promotion/propaganda effort.
The Royal Colonial Institute, of which Frederick P. Lee was a member, was initially called the Royal Colonial Society and was founded in 1868 as a non-political learned society to promote colonial affairs, with leased premises on the Strand. In 1882, the Society became the Colonial Institute, had 1,600 members, and held a lease on a Northumberland Avenue site. By 1907, the Institute's library held 70,000 books on colonial affairs. By 1919, the Institute had 14,700 members. It is known today as the Royal Commonwealth Society. It is likely that materials circulated by members as part of the promotion of colonial affairs would have promoted Britain's role in World War I, as seen here with Frederick P. Lee.
For the first three years of World War I, the United States was ostensibly neutral, much to the satisfaction of the majority of American citizens. However, both the Allied and Central powers recognized the need for the United States' contribution to the war effort and worked to influence both the American public and government to join their sides. Through publications, posters, and overt propaganda, Americans were bombarded with information designed to generate sympathy, outrage, and the need to act. According to an address given by Harry E. Brittain, the Royal Colonial Institute was one such organization seeking to sway Americans towards joining the Allies in war. He states that "the Institute has ... been instrumental in collecting and forwarding papers and books to the men of the Overseas Contingents," (page 10) spreading word to those not in Europe or the British Isles. Only in 1917, in response to Germany's unrestricted warfare on ships, did the United States enter the war. The material in this collection was probably collected and disseminated, at least in part, to educate Americans to the conditions and needs of the British and the Allies in World War I. Some material dates later than the United States' entry in the war.
This collection, concerning World War I, circa 1914-1919, includes magazines and serials such as Leslie's Illustrated Weekly Newspaper, pamphlets reporting on the British war effort, postcards depicting admirals of the British navy, posters depicting British navy officers, and newspapers such as The Daily Mail. Most items are printed in England and concern England's role in the war. The collection also features oversized posters, maps, and newspapers.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Alexandra M. Wilder
- Finding Aid Date
- 2017 January 18
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.