Portsmouth Peace Treaty Exhibit at The Fells Looks at 1905 Events

Portsmouth NH (December 15, 2009) -- The Fells, summer home to President Theodore Roosevelt’s Secretary of State John Hay, will host the exhibit, “An Uncommon Commitment to Peace: Portsmouth Peace Treaty 1905” during the 2010 season (Memorial Day through Columbus Day.)

The exhibit offers a complete retelling of the story of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty. Stories that have never been told before, images assembled from public and private collections, and illuminating original research bring the story of the resolution of the Russo-Japanese War into dramatic focus. Indeed, before the assembly of this particular presentation for the 100th anniversary of the Treaty in 2005, the events of the Summer of 1905 were not clearly understood for what they were: one of the earliest demonstrations of how ordinary citizens can have extraordinary influence on world events. Portsmouth's “uncommon commitment to peace” that played out on a multitude of stages is today recognized as multi-track diplomacy, the preferred model for 21st century negotiations. This exhibit demonstrates how day by day, for the thirty days Sergius Witte, Jutaro Komura and their delegations were in Portsmouth, the threads of formal diplomacy, informal diplomacy and back-channel negotiations gradually intertwined in a mesh that held the peace process together until all the issues were resolved and the Treaty was signed.

The exhibit was created by the Japan-America Society of NH through a grant from the Center for Global Partnership of the Japan Foundation. Researched by Charles Doleac, president of the JASNH and chairman of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Forum and by Peter Randall (author of There Are No Victors Here: A Local Perspective on the Treaty of Portsmouth) and other scholars, the exhibit has drawn thousands of visitors, including dozens of Japanese, since it opened in 2005 at the Portsmouth Historical Society’s John Paul Jones House where a permanent version is installed. The Fells will host a smaller, satellite version.

“This exhibit is a significant addition to the scholarship on the subject of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty and a touchstone for the vast amount of information now assembled in the libraries and permanent collections of the region,” said Doleac.


The Fells and the New Hampshire Humanities Council will also be hosting a lecture by Charles Doleac, entitled “Teddy Roosevelt’s Nobel Prize: New Hampshire and the Portsmouth Peace Treaty” on Thursday, February 25 at 4pm at the Newbury Town Offices, 937 Route 103, Newbury, NH.  A smaller, permanent history exhibit will be installed in the Roosevelt Bedroom at The Fells this summer entitled: “Theodore Roosevelt, John Hay and the Balance of Power in Asia.” For more information on the exhibit, NH Humanities Council lectures and other annual Treaty commemoration events, visit www.portsmouthpeacetreaty.com. For information about The Fells including the 2010 calendar of events, visit www.thefells.org.

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