What Really Happened at Paris: The Story of the Peace Conference, 1918-1919

By Edward Mandell House; Charles Seymour | Go to book overview

IN EXPLANATION

When the Academy of Music in Philadelphia was taken under lease, in the autumn of 1920, for a term of years by a group of public-spirited citizens, it was for the purpose of acquiring the building so as to dedicate it to the public good. Its sixty-three years of service had given the Academy a wonderful history in which every President of the United States since Franklin Pierce had figured: practically every great orator, artist, and distinguished publicist in the United States and every illustrious visitor from foreign lands had appeared on its stage.

It was determined to recreate the Foyer in the building into a beautiful auditorium of intimate size which would serve as a Public Forum. In discussing this project with Colonel Edward M. House, he expressed his conviction that the time had come to tell the American public, for the first time, the inside story of the Peace Conference at Paris. It was decided that instead of following the customary method of publishing the material, it should be first spoken in a series of talks to be given in the Academy Foyer and thus the idea of dedicating the room as a public forum would be launched. Fifteen of the most salient subjects of the Conference were selected, and fifteen of the most authoritative speakers chosen, and a series of fifteen weekly talks explaining "What Really Happened at Paris" was announced. Tickets were sold only for the entire series, and when the first talk was delivered every seat in the auditorium was sold to the most intellectually distinguished audience ever brought together in Philadelphia.

The series was given under the auspices of The Philadelphia Public Ledger, and it was arranged that each talk should be sent out in advance of delivery to the

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