Category Archives: Did You Realize?

Did You Realize: The U.N. Was Founded Here?

Dumbarton Oaks by Mr. T in DC.

Today GM will present the second in his occasional series: Did You Realize? In the first installment, GM asked whether you realized that IBM was started in Georgetown. Today GM turns to an even grander Georgetown-born organization: the United Nations.

Like IBM, the United Nations arguably had many birthplaces. But also like IBM, the location of the most significant organizing events of the U.N. was right here in Georgetown. Dumbarton Oaks to be specific.

While the concept of a successor to the failed League of Nations was discussed prior to 1944, it was during the late summer and early fall of that year that representatives of the United States, the USSR, France, and China met at Dumbarton Oaks to establish the formal structure and principles of the U.N. At the conference, the representatives set forth who would be invited to join the U.N., the role of the Security Council, and the veto power of the Security Council’s permanent members.

In April 1945, representatives of the allies met in San Francisco to draft the U.N. charter. After six more years of additional planning and negotiating, the U.N. finally opened in January, 1951.
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Did You Realize: That IBM Was Started Here?

Today GM introduces yet another in his long line of occasional series: Did You Realize? As he digs into the history of Georgetown, GM sometimes comes across a fact or story that is surprising and not widely known.

For the first installment of this new series, GM asks you this: Did you realize that IBM was started here?

It’s true. It all started with the 1890 Census. The prior census almost took an entire decade to compile. Thus to complete the 1890 census on time, the Census Bureau realized that they needed to turn to technology. Serendipitously, just one year earlier, a Buffalo inventor, Herman Hollerith, received a patent on the great-great-great-grandfather of the computer hard-drive: the punched card. Recognizing the benefit of Hollerith’s invention, the Census Bureau hired him. Continue reading

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