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Safety fountain pen used by a courtroom illustrator at the Major War Crimes Trial

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Waterman-style safety fountain pen used by Edward Vebell, 24, to create courtroom sketches at the 1945 Trial of Major German War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany. The sketches were published in the U.S. Army newspaper Stars and Stripes on December 9, 1945. A young commercial artist when he was drafted for the US Army, Vebell was the first staff illustrator for Stars and Stripes. His assignments included combat zones in Italy and France. For the Nuremberg trial assignment, he sat in the press gallery for 3 days and used field glasses to “bore into the faces” of the defendants, including Rudolf Hess and Hermann Goering, as he sketched. He did 90% of his drawing in the courtroom, seeking to bring intimacy to the historical proceedings. See 2003.435 for the nine drawings in the USHMM collection.

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Details

  • Title: Safety fountain pen used by a courtroom illustrator at the Major War Crimes Trial
  • Provenance: The fountain pen was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Edward Vebell.
  • Subject Keywords: Courtroom artists--Germany--Nuremberg--Biography. Nuremberg Trial of Major German War Criminals, Nuremberg, Germany, 1945-1946--Pictorial works. Nuremberg War Crime Trials, Nuremberg, Germany, 1946-1949--Pictorial works. Soldiers as artists--United States--Biography. War crime trials--Germany--Nuremberg--Personal narratives, American. World War, 1939-1945--Illustrators--Personal narratives, American. World War, 1939-1945--Journalism, Military--United States.
  • Type: Office Equipment and Supplies
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: Well used, brown, hard rubber fountain pen with a 14K gold open fine point nib with a slit, breather hole. There is a one inch, black, threaded band at the top of the barrel for the screw-on cap, which is missing. The black plastic feed protrudes from here and fits within the nib. The pen fills by withdrawing the nib into the body by turning the flat bottomed end knob counterclockwise, then dripping ink into the front, followed by either capping the pen or extending the nib again to plug the reserve. The pen held enough ink to write or draw several dozen pages.

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