Our shops are open and we are processing online, telephone and email orders as normal



[Draft Covenant of the League of Nations.]

?Paris: February, 1919 Stock Code: 132162
Reserve Ask us a question

"A living thing is born"

First and only printing of this original draft, docketed on the front wrapper by Louis L. Strauss, Herbert Hoover's assistant in Paris: "One of the first 100 copies of the original draft. Read by Woodrow Wilson at Paris, Feb. 1919". Library Hub locates just six copies of this draft: Peace Palace Library, Huntington, Princeton, Harvard Law School, Wellesley, Missouri.

Drafted by Cecil Hurst, principal legal advisor to the Foreign Office, and David Hunter Miller, a member of Woodrow Wilson's investigative group "the Inquiry" and chief of the legal section of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace, the draft was presented on 14 February 1919. In the ensuing four months a designated commission met on ten occasions to thrash out the terms of the founding covenant, attempting to overcome major objections raised by various participants. A revised draft was finally approved on 11 April 1919, but without resolving key questions such as national and racial equality, and what practical methods of enforcement could be applied to the League's mandates. Despite this the treaty entered into force on 10 January 1920.

However, for America Article X - which undertook "to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all States members of the League" - remained highly contentious for isolationist elements in government and Senate refused to ratify it. Nonetheless this statement, and the striving for mutual understanding that it represents, is a foundation document in the history of international co-operation. As Woodrow Wilson declared when presenting the Covenant at Versailles, "a living thing is born".

From the estate of Louis Lichtenstein Strauss (1896-1974). Strauss left the family wholesale shoe business when America entered the First World War in 1917 and took himself to Washington where he persuaded Herbert Hoover to give him a job in the newly formed Food Administration. Impressed with Strauss, Hoover took him on as his private secretary, Strauss accompanying him to Paris at the end of the war to assist in running the American Relief Administration. A distinguished career in banking followed. During the Second World War he was the only naval reservist to rise to the rank of rear admiral for his work for the Bureau of Ordnance, and in 1946 he became the first chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission. A well provenanced and preserved copy of this world-historical document.

Confused? Read our glossary


4 single leaves (300 x 210 mm), printed rectos only, wire-stitched in original pale green hammer-finish card wrappers, letterpress title as above.


Staples renewed slightly askew from their original positions, mild rust-marks, wrappers otherwise clean and sharp, paper uniformly toned, overall very good.


With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200.

View Full Delivery Details



Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

Email: mail@peterharrington.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0220

ABA Antiquarian Bookseller Association ILAB International League of Antiquarian Booksellers LAPADA The Association of Art and Anatique Dealers PBFA Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association

Our Guarantee Page

Ask us a question


Contact us with details of the book you are interested in or selling and we will contact you

Sell Old Books Help me find a book