"Printed in Persia"

Rust, [Francis Marion]. Evolution of Democracy.

Tabriz, printing press of the Armenian Dioces [!] in Azerbaijan, 1923.

8vo. Proof copy. X, (3), 155, (2 blank) pp. With lithographed colour plate, half-tone photographic portrait frontispiece and 33 lithographed diagrams (14 in colour) within the text. Original half brown cloth over marbled paper-covered boards.


Francis Marion Rust was the Director of Near East Relief in Persia, where he and other members of the organisation aided Assyrian and Armenian Christian refugees fleeing Ottoman forces. While working in Tabriz, he oversaw the printing of this book, a bizarre treatise on the development of democracy in the West, its problems, and his vision for a united post-war world inspired by the League of Nations. This copy is a proof, signed by Rust.

Alongside his duties, Rust found time to publish "Evolution of Democracy". As he was a schoolteacher before travelling to Persia, and the book was authorized by the Superintendent for Education in Azerbaijan, it is possible that it served a didactic purpose in the orphanages and temporary schools of Tabriz.

The text is eccentric and uneven. If an argument can be traced, it is Rust calling for larger systems of confederation as a way of moving beyond the horrors of the First World War. He talks of a post-war "European nationality" (p. 105) and the gathering together "into one fold all peoples of the world in government" (p. 108).

Curiously, at no point does Rust apply his ideas to the situation in the Near and Middle East. This is possibly due to the complexity of the post-war political landscape and the difficulty of extending an already jumbled piece of writing. There is, however, a slip of printed additions between page 16 and 17, concerning the problems posed by receding Empires, which states "... the break up of the Old Russian Empire has all but resulted in wiping out two small national groups [the Armenians and Assyrians] in Asia" (p. 16). It was after returning to America that Rust further examined his experiences in the Near East, submitting an MA thesis on the "Post War Problems of Turkey 1918-1925" (University of Louisville, 1932).

There are minor manuscript and printed corrections, additions and deletions to seven pages, possibly in Rust's hand. Whereas they do little to significantly alter the text, the three printed slips offer much more substantial additions to the content. In addition to signing this copy, Rust has updated the title-page with the New York address of Near East Relief, and somewhat eccentrically, his personal addresses in city and country.

Boards professionally repaired, spine a little rubbed and sunned, otherwise good. Professional paper repairs to original endpapers. Stamp of the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Library and deaccession stamp to front pastedown. Later stamp of A. Randle Elliott to front free endpaper. Author's ms. signature to portrait frontispiece. Several manuscript and printed corrections; three bound-in slips with extensive printed additions.

Rare in commerce, with no copies in auction records. Not found in the usual bibliographies of Persia.