Photograph of Auguste Marie François Beernaert (1829-1912), former Belgian Prime Minister, President of the Chamber of Representatives, President of the First Commission of the Conference. Published in Conférence de la Paix, La Haye, Mai-Juillet 1899: Exemplaire de M. le Jonckheer J.C.N. van Eys, ministre-résident de S.M. la Reine, secrétaire général de la Conférence, Paris/Varsovie, B. Matuszewski. Photographic album on the occasion of the First Hague Peace Conference of 1899. Photograph taken by Bolesław Matuszewski (1856-c.1943 or 1944), Polish businessman, photographer and cameraman, pioneer of cinematography and documentary film. Matuszewski was photographer to Tsar Nicolas II since 1897.

Beernaert was President of the First Commission of the Conference. This commission's main concern was the armament question and the humanizing of war. It held eight plenary reunions between 23 May and 20 July. Beernaert alson represented Belgium at Second Hague Peace Conference of 1907. He was co-winner, with Paul d'Estournelles de Constant, of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1909 for his work at the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

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1899 (estimated)


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Photo Albums of the First Hague Peace Conference of 1899

In the collection of the Peace Palace Library three albums are treasured with historical photos of the First Hague Peace Conference of 1899. These three albums were a gift to Jonkheer J.C.N. van Eys, Secretary-General of the Conference, to the Dutch Foreign Minister and Honorary President Mr. W.H. de Beaufort, and to Jonkheer A.P.C. van Karnebeek, Vice-President of the Conference. The persons who had an important task or were part of the organizational committee all received a personalized photo album with red cover and golden letters: ‘Conference de la Paix, La Haye 1899’. Wilhelmina, queen of host country The Netherlands, received a more luxurious version of the album with her portrait displayed at the front cover.

The high quality photos shown in the albums were taken by Polish photographer Bolesław Matuszewski (1856-c.1943 or 1944). Matuszewski was photographer at the Imperial Court of Tsar Nicholas II from 1897 onwards. The assignment given to him must have been quite extensive as besides the many photos he took at the Conference he also portrayed most of the heads of States of the Nations represented at the Conference.

Read more, William T. Stead, La chronique de la Conférence de la Haye 1899 accompagné du texte des conventions, avec 86 portraits par M. Benque, Paris, Laye, J. Hoekstra & Co., 1901.

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