Festival of Lithuanian Art and Music700th Anniversary Celebration Program, 1953

"The Festival of Lithuanian Art and Music" program cover, June 20-21, 1953

Lithuania is far older than the 20th century sovereignty of the current Lithuanian republic, celebrating its centenary in 2018, might imply.

The first historical indication of the unification of Baltic tribes is marked by the signing in 1219 of a peace treaty between Lithuania—as represented by 21 dukes as signatories—and Galicia-Volhynia. The first Lithuanian ruler to hold the title of Grand Duke was Mindaugas, traditionally regarded as the founder of the Lithuanian state, crowned King of Lithuania in 1253.

Mindaugas was also Lithuania's first Christian ruler, having been baptized in 1251. However, Mindaugas broke the peace treaty with the Livonian Order in 1261, was assassinated in 1263, after which Lithuania reverted to a pagan kingdom for more than a century.

It was only in 1386 that Lithuania's then pagan prince, Jogaila, unified Lithuania and Poland by marriage and conversion to Catholicism, becoming its first ruler—Władysław (Ladislaus) II Jagiełło.[1] Poland-Lithuania eventually grew to become the greatest kingdom of its time, stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

Lithuania marked its 700th "original" anniversary in 1953. That celebration, however, could not take place in Lithuania, occupied by the Soviet Union. Instead, that day was marked by the Lithuanian exile community world-wide, including an event held at the Hotel Statler in Washington D.C., consisting of an:

  • Art Exhibition, held Saturday and Sunday, June 20-21, and a
  • Banquet and Concert, held Saturday, June 20th, at 8:00 P.M.

We are proud to reproduce the 700th anniversary celebration program and congratulate Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on the centenary in 1918 of their independence in the modern era.


[1]More than one Władysław preceded Jogaila in the reign of Polish monarchs, in the 11th century Władysław I Herman, then in the 14th century, Władysław I the Elbow-high.
...Timeline...European Unification and LatviaEiropas apvienošanās kustība un mēs (The European unification movement and us), Modris Gulbis, 1948. The necessity of a European Union to the welfare of the European continent and to Latvia Anna Dārziņa Post Card SetLatvian folk costumes, Anna Dāŗziņa. Esslingen DP Camp, Jānis Liepiņš, ca. 1949. Artist Anna Dāŗziņa's illustrations of Latvian folk costumes. Set of 18 postcards. Pīrāgi & GalertsLatviska un Moderna Virtuve (The Latvian and Modern Kitchen), Fischbach D.P. Camp, Germany, 1949. Traditional Latvian recipes, excerpts and translations The Story of LatviaThe Story of Latvia—A Historical Survey. Arveds Švābe. Latvian National Foundation, Stockholm. 1949. Švābe's concise history of Latvia, from the Balts inhabiting what is today western Russia through the continuation of Soviet occupation into the post-WWII era. First USA Song FestivalThe First Latvian Song Festival in America, various, Chicago, 1953. Mixed choir participants' music. 21 songs, complete Festival of Lithuanian Art and MusicFestival of Lithuanian Art and Music, Washington, D.C., 1953. Lithuanian exile community celebrates the anniversary of Lithuania's original founding with art, a concert, and banquet in Washington, D.C. Festival program. Müürisepp's Soviet EstoniaEstonia, Wonderful Present—Marvellous Future, Aleksei Müürisepp. Soviet Booklets, London. 1959. Career apparatchik and then soon-to-be Estonian SSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Алексей Александрович Мюрисеп waxes eloquently of life under the U.S.S.R., one of a series of propaganda booklets produced about each of the fifteen Soviet Republics. Lācis' Soviet LatviaLatvia—Our Dream is Coming True, Vilis Lācis. Soviet Booklets, London. 1959. Popular author during Latvia's independence and Soviet sympathizer signing deportation orders sending families to frosty death, Vilis Lācis, writes of the materialization of Latvian dreams under the U.S.S.R., one of a series of booklets produced about each of the fifteen Soviet Republics. Abrene Fold-outAbrene Women's Folk Costume. Latvian State Publishing House, ca. 1960.Abrene women's folk costume illustrated multi-lingual reference fold-out. Augšzeme Fold-outAugšzeme Women's Folk Costume. Latvian State Publishing House, ca. 1960.Augšzeme women's folk costume illustrated multi-lingual reference fold-out. Krustpils Fold-outKrustpils Women's Folk Costume. Latvian State Publishing House, ca. 1960.Krustpils women's folk costume illustrated multi-lingual reference fold-out.

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