Henri La Fontaine

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Henri Marie La Fontaine


Henri La Fontaine
BornHenri Marie La Fontaine
(1854-04-22)April 22, 1854
Brussels, Belgium
Died May 14, 1943(1943-05-14) (aged 89)
Brussels, Belgium
Occupation lawyer
Known for Nobel Peace Prize in 1913

Henri La Fontaine (French pronunciation:  [lafɔ̃ˈtɛn] ; 22 April 1854 – 14 May 1943), was a Belgian international lawyer and president of the International Peace Bureau. He received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1913 because " he was the effective leader of the peace movement in Europe". [1]

Belgium Federal constitutional monarchy in Western Europe

Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,688 square kilometres (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.

Lawyer legal professional who helps clients and represents them in a court of law

A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney, attorney at law, barrister, barrister-at-law, bar-at-law, civil law notary, counsel, counselor, counsellor, counselor at law, solicitor, chartered legal executive, or public servant preparing, interpreting and applying law, but not as a paralegal or charter executive secretary. Working as a lawyer involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and knowledge to solve specific individualized problems, or to advance the interests of those who hire lawyers to perform legal services.

International Peace Bureau international organization

The International Peace Bureau (IPB), founded in 1891, is one of the world's oldest international peace federations.



La Fontaine was born in Brussels on 22 April 1854 and studied law at the Free University of Brussels (now split into the Université libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel). He was admitted to the bar in 1877 and established a reputation as an authority on international law. He and his sister Léonie La Fontaine were early advocates for women's rights and suffrage, founding in 1890 the Belgian League for the Rights of Women. [2] In 1893, he became professor of international law at the Free University of Brussels and two years later was elected to the Belgian Senate as a member of the Socialist Party. He served as vice chairman of the Senate from 1919 to 1932.

Brussels Capital region of Belgium

Brussels, officially the Brussels-Capital Region, is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the capital of Belgium. The Brussels-Capital Region is located in the central portion of the country and is a part of both the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community, but is separate from the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region. Brussels is the most densely populated and the richest region in Belgium in terms of GDP per capita. It covers 161 km2 (62 sq mi), a relatively small area compared to the two other regions, and has a population of 1.2 million. The metropolitan area of Brussels counts over 2.1 million people, which makes it the largest in Belgium. It is also part of a large conurbation extending towards Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven and Walloon Brabant, home to over 5 million people.

Université libre de Bruxelles French-speaking university in Brussels, Belgium

The Université Libre de Bruxelles, abbreviated ULB, is a French-speaking private research university in Brussels, Belgium.

La Fontaine took an early interest in the International Peace Bureau, founded in 1882, and was influential in the Bureau's efforts to bring about The Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907. He served as president of the Bureau from 1907 until his death in 1943. [2] World War I convinced La Fontaine that the world would establish an international court when peace returned. He proposed a number of possible members, including Joseph Hodges Choate, Elihu Root, Charles William Eliot, and Andrew Dickson White. [3] La Fontaine also promoted the idea of unification of the world's pacifist organizations. [4]

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Joseph Hodges Choate United States lawyer and diplomat

Joseph Hodges Choate was an American lawyer and diplomat. Choate was associated with many of the most famous litigations in American legal history, including the Kansas prohibition cases, the Chinese exclusion cases, the Isaac H. Maynard election returns case, the Income Tax Suit, and the Samuel J. Tilden, Jane Stanford, and Alexander Turney Stewart will cases. In the public sphere, he was influential in the founding of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Elihu Root American politician

Elihu Root was an American lawyer and statesman who served as the Secretary of State under President Theodore Roosevelt and as Secretary of War under Roosevelt and President William McKinley. He moved frequently between high-level appointed government positions in Washington, D.C. and private-sector legal practice in New York City. For that reason, he is sometimes considered to be the prototype of the 20th century political "wise man," advising presidents on a range of foreign and domestic issues. He was elected by the state legislature as a U.S. Senator from New York and served one term, 1909–1915. Root was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1912.

He was a member of the Belgian delegation to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and to the League of Nations Assembly (1920–21). [2] In other efforts to foster world peace, he founded the Centre Intellectuel Mondial (later merged into the League of Nations Institute for Intellectual Co-operation) and proposed such organizations as a world school and university, and a world parliament. In 1907, with Paul Otlet, he founded the Union of International Associations. He also is the co-founder of Institut International de Bibliographie (which later became the International Federation for Information and Documentation, FID) along with Paul Otlet. It was in this role that he and Otlet attended the World Congress of Universal Documentation in 1937. [5]

Paul Otlet Belgian author and visionary

Paul Marie Ghislain Otlet was a Belgian author, entrepreneur, visionary, lawyer and peace activist; he is one of several people who have been considered the father of information science, a field he called "documentation". Otlet created the Universal Decimal Classification, one of the most prominent examples of faceted classification. Otlet was responsible for the widespread adoption in Europe of the standard American 3x5 inch index card used until recently in most library catalogs around the world. Otlet wrote numerous essays on how to collect and organize the world's knowledge, culminating in two books, the Traité de Documentation (1934) and Monde: Essai d'universalisme (1935).

The Union of International Associations (UIA) is a non-profit non-governmental research institute and documentation center based in Brussels, Belgium, and operating under United Nations mandate. It was founded in 1907 under the name Central Office of International Associations by Henri La Fontaine, the 1913 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and Paul Otlet, a founding father of what is now called information science.

The International Federation for Information and Documentation (FID) was an international organization that was created to promote universal access to all recorded knowledge.

Henri La Fontaine was a freemason, and a member of the lodge Les Amis Philanthropes in Brussels. He died on 14 May 1943 in Brussels.


Henri La Fontaine was the author of a number of legal handbooks and a documentary history of international arbitration:

He was also founder of the review La Vie Internationale.

See also


  1. "Henri La Fontaine - Facts". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 19 Jan 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 "Henri La Fontaine, Won Nobel Prize". New York Times. 27 May 1943: 25.
  3. "Nominees for World Court". New York Times. 6 October 1916: 2.
  4. "Many Repudiate Peace Society Plan". New York Times. 20 February 1917: 3.
  5. Wedgeworth, Robert (1 January 1993). World Encyclopedia of Library and Information Services. ALA Editions. p. 642. ISBN   978-0-8389-0609-5 . Retrieved 11 October 2011.

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Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Canadian politician

Sir Louis-Hippolyte MénardditLa Fontaine, 1st Baronet, KCMG was the first Canadian to become Premier of the United Province of Canada and the first head of a responsible government in Canada. He was born in Boucherville, Lower Canada in 1807. A jurist and statesman, La Fontaine was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada in 1830. He was a supporter of Papineau and member of the Parti canadien. After the severe consequences of the Rebellions of 1837 against the British authorities, he advocated political reforms within the new Union regime of 1841.

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The Mundaneum is a non-profit organisation based in Mons, Belgium that runs an exhibition space, website and archive which celebrate the legacy of the original Mundaneum established by Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine in the early twentieth century.

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La Fontaine may refer to:

Otlet Glacier is a glacier 9 nautical miles (17 km) long, flowing along the south side of Fontaine Heights to the west coast of Graham Land. Roughly charted by the British Graham Land Expedition (BGLE) under Rymill, 1934-37. More accurately mapped by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS) from photos taken by Hunting Aerosurveys Ltd. in 1956-57. Named by the United Kingdom Antarctic Place-Names Committee (UK-APC) for Paul Otlet (1868–1944), Belgian documentalist, co-founder of the Institut International de Bibliographie at Brussels, 1895, and of the Universal Decimal Classification. He was a pioneer of the rational organization of polar information by an international classification scheme.

The Fontaine Heights are a line of heights that extend from Mount Dewey to Cape Garcia on the south side of Bigo Bay, on the west coast of Graham Land, Antarctica. They were mapped from air photos and Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey surveys from 1955–57, and they were named by the UK Antarctic Place-Names Committee for Henri La Fontaine, a Belgian documentalist. Fontaine was the co-founder of Institut International de Bibliographie at Brussels in 1895, and he was the co-founder of the Office Central des Associations Internationales at Brussels in 1907. He was an initiator of the Universal Decimal Classification.

Documentation is the study of the recording and retrieval of information. Documentation science gradually developed into the broader field of information science.

Robert Goldschmidt physicist

Robert B. Goldschmidt (1877–1935) was a Belgian chemist, physicist, and engineer who first proposed the idea of standardized microfiche (microfilm).

Events in the year 1913 in Belgium.

Léonie La Fontaine Belgian feminist and pacifist

Léonie La Fontaine (1857–1949) was a Belgian pioneering feminist and pacifist. Active in the international feminism struggle, she was a member of the Belgian League for the Rights of Women, the National Belgian Women Council and the Belgian’s Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Her brother was Henri La Fontaine, Belgian international lawyer and president of the International Peace Bureau who received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1913, and was also an early advocate for women's rights and suffrage, founding in 1890 the Belgian League for the Rights of Women.

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The Concilium Bibliographicum was established in Zurich. Switzerland in 1895 by the U.S. zoologist Herbert Haviland Field in response to the lack of timely and complete bibliographies to serve the new sciences that had begun to emerge in the late nineteenth century. Initially using his own funds, Field assumed the task of surveying all science journals and to use the then new index-cards and the highly sophisticated but complex Universal Decimal Classification system to send packets, bi-weekly, to his subscribers who were each to build a cumulative card file that would allow access to complete bibliographic citations and subject identifiers for all the literature on zoology and related fields from 1895 to the present. Field cooperated with the grand information efforts of Belgians Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine who had founded the Institut International de Bibliographie (IIB) in Brussels in 1895, later renamed as the International Federation for Information and Documentation (FID). In its early years the Concilium operated as an affiliate of the IIB. Field is credited with persuading Otlet and La Fontaine to adopt the 75 x 125 mm card size. He was also responsible for developing at the Concilium the Zoology sections of the Universal Decimal Classification.


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Encyclopedia Americana is one of the largest general encyclopedias in the English language. Following the acquisition of Grolier in 2000, the encyclopedia has been produced by Scholastic.