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PRISONERS OF WAR – RED CROSS: L’Agence internationale des prisonniers de guerre: Genève, 1914-1918.



A rare first printed report on the pioneering operations of the International Prisoners-of-War Agency by the Red Cross during WWI. Richly illustrated with heliographed images and photographs were made by Frédéric Boissonnas.


1 in stock


4°: 122 pp. heliographed text and images, [1], original wrappers with printed brown title on the cover and spine, pasted down heliographed image on the cover with embossed bordure (Very Good, wrappers with light foxing, tiny loss of paper and repaired tears on the spine, a slight dimple in the upper inner corner of all leaves).


A rare book published by the International Committee of the Red Cross in January 1919, is a richly illustrated documentation of the work of the International Prisoners-of-War Agency in Gèneve during WWI. Presented are the offices, members of the agency, forms, different types of documents, images from the field etc. The photos, reproduced in an expensive technique of heliography, are accompanied with text in German, English and French.

The International Prisoners-of-War Agency (IPWA) in Genève (Agence internationale des prisonniers de guerre (AIPG)) was founded at the beginning of WWI, in 1914, as an office of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

On October 15th, 1914, only weeks after the beginning of WWI, the first central office for prisoners of war was established on the initiative of Gustave Ador. The agency required lists of names of all the prisoners of war and soon it became the central office for the POW post, statistics, medical help and supply. It was soon receiving up to 16,500 letters per day and housed 1,200 volunteers. The headquarters were at the Musée Rath in Genève.

The office reopened its headquarters during WWII.

The author Étienne Clouzot (1881-1944), from in the prominent Clouzot family (uncle of the film director and producer Henri-Georges Clouzot and of a book dealer Marcel Clouzot (1916-2016) , brother of the librarian and curator Henri Clouzot (1865-1941)) was a librarian, art historian and author of several books on history and contemporary events. In 1919 he was nominated a chief of the office of International Committee of the Red Cross in Genève. Between 1912 and 1939 he was in charge of preparing all the reports for the international conferences of the Red Cross.

The photographs were made by a Swiss photographer Frédéric Boissonnas (1858–1946) from Geneva, who became known mostly for his early photographs of Greece between 1907 and 1919 and who made the first known ascent of Mount Olympus.

We could only trace six examples of the book in Swiss libraries and none outside Switzerland (OCLC

References: Henri LEMAÎTRE, Étienne Clouzot. Bibliothèque de l’École des chartes, 1944, 105, pp. 35-363.

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