Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Pilgrims Society and Public Diplomacy, 1895-1945

jstor.org; see also (1) (2) (3) (4)

The Pilgrims Society and Public Diplomacy [JB emphasis], 1895-1945

Stephen Bowman
Steve Marsh
Alan P. Dobson

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Copyright Date: 2018
Pages: 352

Front Matter (pp. i-iv)

Table of Contents (pp. v-v)

Acknowledgements (pp. vi-vi)

Introduction (pp. 1-18)

This book is about the Pilgrims Society, an elite organisation known to most scholars of twentieth-century Anglo-American relations. References to the Pilgrims may be found in a variety of historical works; none, however, have given the Society more than passing mention. The present monograph, therefore, is the first detailed scholarly examination of this important transatlantic association and demonstrates the ways in which the Pilgrims Society has played a noteworthy role in both the history of Anglo-American relations and the history of public diplomacy. The Pilgrims was founded in 1902 as an elite dining club with the aim of improving cultural,...

1 Public Diplomacy Conceptualised (pp. 19-36)
This book contends that concepts surrounding the role of elite non-state actors are central to understanding the development of the Pilgrims, just as they help explain the activities of other, better-known, and more recent groups. Indeed, the argument here is that the early activities of the Society were a form of nascent public diplomacy. While members of the Society and others associated with the organisation did not use that term, the Society’s activities in the period up until the end of the 1920s not only exhibited many of the characteristics of later forms of public diplomacy but also contributed to...

2 The Founding of the Society (pp. 37-82)
The Pilgrims Society’s functions were extravagant and colourful affairs stereotypical of the excesses of upper-class Edwardian Britain and Gilded Age America. The New York Times in 1907 reported from one such Society dinner, describing the grand ball room of New York’s prestigious Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where the event was being held, as ‘lavishly decorated with American and British flags’.¹ Then, following an event in 1909, the walls of the same venue were described as bedecked by ‘two clasped hands outlined in electric lights, and over them an arrangement of electric bulbs spelled “Hands Across the Sea”’. The ‘gold epaulets and gold...

3 Earl Grey’s Public Diplomacy  (pp. 83-117)
In the months and years immediately following its establishment, the Pilgrims Society was involved with some of the most pressing questions of contemporary Anglo-American diplomacy. While the British and German naval blockades of Venezuela in 1902 caused a short spell of acrimony, it was the relationship between the US and the British dominions of Canada and Newfoundland that came to dominate much of the diplomacy of the 1900s. With the North American aspect of the official Anglo-American relationship proving so important in these years – in particular Canadian–US relations – the Pilgrims Society focused much of its unofficial and...

4 The Pilgrims and the First World War (pp. 118-147)
On the night of 20 July 1917, thousands of miles from the mud- and blood-splattered reality of war on the Western Front, over 11,000 people crammed into New York’s Madison Square Gardens for a rally to encourage Americans, and Britons living in the US, to enlist for military service. Three months after American entry into the war, and with conscription having already been introduced in Britain and the US, the British Recruiting Mission and the Mayor’s Committee on National Defense used the Madison Square Garden event to tap into feelings of English-speaking patriotism. With British, Scottish, Canadian, and American flags...

5 The Decline of the Great Rapprochement (pp. 148-189)

If the First World War had seen a change in the public diplomacy [on the "birth" of American public diplomacy during WWI, see&nbsp "Janus-Faced Public Diplomacy: Creel and Lippmann During the Great War"]; role of the Pilgrims Society compared with the banquets of the 1900s, then the decade following the end of the conflict witnessed further developments in how the Society related to more official channels of diplomacy. The war had also altered how Britain and the US related both to each other and to the rest of the world. Most obviously, Britain was now a debtor nation and the US a creditor. While Britain remained a great power and retained significant strategic influence – for instance through its prominent...

6 Public Diplomacy Ascendant (pp. 190-218)
At one of its dinners in London in 1926, the Pilgrims Society utilised some of the technological advances associated with the ‘Americanisation’ of Europe to send the world’s first transatlantic commercial ‘radio picture’. Unfortunately, due to ‘static or other trouble’ caused by a storm on the American side, the transmission of a photograph of the top table at the London event took nearly an hour and a half longer than expected to arrive at the New York offices of the Radio Corporation of America.¹ As the previous chapter demonstrated, this was not the first time that the image of the...

Conclusion (pp. 219-221)
The Pilgrims Society was a semi-official public diplomacy actor in the field of foreign relations and a trailblazer for organisations like the British Council and the Division of Cultural Relations, which themselves were precursors to Cold War organisations like the United States Information Agency [JB -- see]. The history of the Pilgrims Society tells of a gradual shift from unofficial actors providing the main impetus in public diplomacy to official actors providing the main impetus. The Society contributed to this shift by its support and facilitation of Earl Grey’s cultural diplomacy in 1906; through its propaganda, advocacy, and exchange diplomacy during the First...

Bibliography (pp. 222-242)

Index (pp. 243-250)

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