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SPOCK, Benjamin.

Autograph manuscript opposing the Vietnam War.

1967 Stock Code: 141434
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Three-page autograph manuscript opposing the Vietnam War by the American paediatrician Benjamin Spock, sent for publication to Ray Gardner (1919-1997), journalist and editor at the Toronto Star Weekly, and himself a peace campaigner and sometime Chairman of the British Columbia Peace Council; together with an autograph and three typed letters signed from Spock. Spock (1903-1998) achieved a respected position for his 1946 book Baby and Child Care, widely popular for several decades and selling many tens of millions of copies by his death; in the 1960s Spock became a prominent activist in the anti-Vietnam War movements. Spock had written a short introduction for the photographic essay by William F. Pepper, "The Children of Vietnam", in Ramparts magazine in January 1967. Gardner evidently read the essay in Ramparts and contacted him requesting a longer introduction to include in his own paper else in his peace activism. Spock's first typed letter (20 January 1967) accepts the commission and makes an appointment, with the autograph letter (5 February 1967) enclosing the manuscript.

Spock opens the manuscript "These pictures and descriptions by William Pepper of the burned and injured children of Vietnam have brought home to me, as nothing else has, the inhumanity of the war which the U.S. is waging there". Injuring and killing children is the inevitable consequence of bombing strategic targets against guerrilla fighters supported by villagers, the inevitable result of US involvement in the war and attempts to maintain a sphere of influence in South East Asia against the will of a majority of the people. Given the Canadian audience, Spock praises Canada's non-participation in the War, and asked what ordinary Canadians can do. He points to giving to charities providing to medical supplies, joining demonstrations, writing letters to editors and purchasing anti-War advertisements in American papers. Spock writes that Americans have little idea how their allies feel at present. He concludes that most important people should be warned "by the agony of Vietnam, that in this age of Satanic weapons no one will be safe until the citizens of all countries demand the UN be made into a world government so that they can live in brotherhood".

The latter two typed letters signed, from 6 and 16 November 1969 respectively, politely turn down requests to write anything else for the paper. Gardner retained the letters and manuscript in his collection, along with other similar material from notable personages accrued over his years as editor of the paper.

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Autograph letter signed, 3 pp. autograph manuscript, 3 typed letters signed, 2 original envelopes.


Light handling creasing and nicking; in very good condition.


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