Jeff Roth’s Archival Pick: Mr. Arthur Millspaugh

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This is another in a mini-series of archival selections from Jeff Roth, a remarkable archivist, who has not only helped with some of my projects but runs the New York Times morgue, where folders filled with clips and photographs are buried. I’ve asked him to chose some of this favorite images and tell use why. Today: Mr. Arthur Millspaugh, deal between the U.S. and Iran when the U.S. were the good guys.

Arthur Millspaugh“We’re building a ‘Foreign Relations between the U.S. and Iran’ timeline for a recent Times story. Unfortunately,  it starts where every one of them starts, in 1953, when the C.I.A. (and others) depose Mossadegh and the Shah returns. It’s a silly date, we had a relationship with Persia for a century before 1953. I head down to our library, look at the ‘Iran’ shelf and spend maybe three minutes thumbing through the file titled ‘American Interests and Policies in the Middle East, 1900-39.’ Quicker than Google I find it, ‘The Millspaugh Mission, 1926.’ The Shah’s Father, Reza, asks Mr. Arthur Millspaugh, American banker, to help fix the Persian Treasury. Back then, we [U.S.] were the good guys to the Persians, unlike the French, Russians and Brits looking for ‘warm water ports’ and petrol. We check the card catalog, pull the picture that last ran in 1926, scan it and eighty-six years later we run Mr. Millspaugh’s portrait [below] and details of his mission in our web-timeline: Card catalogs, clippings, books and photographs, the old way for the new.”

Arthur Millspaugh

Arthur Chester Millspaugh, foreign trade advisor for the state department, who has been engaged by the Persian government to reorganize its financial affairs. It is understood that he has made a five-year contract, and will assume his duties in September. Mr. Millspaugh is a native of Michigan and former instructor in political science at John Hopkins University, Baltimore. He entered the State Department in 1918. Morgue folder#: 10-690. Date: 7/19/1925 NYTCREDIT: Harris & Ewing

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