WASHINGTON — The personal library of US Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, renowned for his extraordinary efforts to bring American and international attention to the Turkish government’s deportation and massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, has been donated to the Armenian Genocide Museum of America (AGMA).
“We are extremely grateful to the Morgenthau family for entrusting this invaluable collection of books to the museum, which provides a window into the breadth and depth of the Ambassador’s intellectual acumen and his humanitarian outlook,” said Van Z. Krikorian, museum trustee and chairman of the project’s Building and Operations Committee. “In the pantheon of heroes who have fought against genocide, the Morgenthau name is legendary. This collection is priceless and wonderful Thanksgiving news,” added Krikorian.
The gift of Ambassador Morgenthau’s personal library, which has been privately held by his family since his death in 1946, comes to AGMA from Henry Morgenthau III, the son of Henry Morgenthau Jr., and the grandson of the Ambassador. In making the gift to AGMA, Henry Morgenthau III said “I am only putting Ambassador Morgenthau’s effects where they belong.”
Morgenthau’s personal library includes books he acquired during his term of service in the Ottoman Empire, and others obtained in preparation for his diplomatic posting to expand his knowledge of the region, its history and people. The collection also includes Ambassador Morgenthau’s autographed copy of the official State Department publication “Instructions to the Diplomatic Officers of the United States,” which he was provided upon his appointment.
Krikorian said the Ambassador Morgenthau collection will be used by the research library, and to enhance the museum’s exhibits depicting the ambassador’s life and work. Ambassador Morgenthau was a naturalized American from a German-Jewish family and a successful lawyer active in Democratic Party politics. With the election of President Woodrow Wilson, he was appointed United States Ambassador to the Sublime Porte in 1913.
“Ambassador Morgenthau played a central role in documenting the Armenian Genocide, and the items related to his diplomatic service are critical pieces of his life story,” Krikorian said. “No one individual before Ambassador Morgenthau had so prominently alerted the international community to the consequences of the mass atrocities perpetrated against the Armenian population in Ottoman Turkey and analyzed the mechanisms of a state system devised to extinguish an entire people. Remarkably, the recent publication of Talaat Pasha’s diary dispositively confirms what Ambassador Morgenthau reported and wrote at the beginning of the last century.”