This blog post was composed by graduate assistant Jillian Higgins, a master’s student in the History Department.
As Poage Library staff and students finish the semester and prepare for the holidays right around the corner, we thought there was no better way to celebrate Christmas than with a piece of carpet. Yes, you read that right! Located in the Edmund L. Nichols papers is a Christmas carpet square memento from his work abroad as U.S. Agricultural Counselor to Denmark and Norway. The carpet square, created by Dansk Wilton A/S Custom Designed Carpets for Christmas 1984, features a church covered in a peaceful white blanket of snow with the Danish words “Jul by,” meaning “Christmas town.” A postcard affixed to the back is addressed: “To all our good customers and business relations,” with the holiday message stating: “As a meeting point for Danes the Church stands as a symbol of Christmas—here illustrated is a typical Danish Village Church. With this picture of peaceful coexistence, we send our best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.” It is possible that this carpet square was gifted to Nichols as a sign of kindness and gratitude during the holiday season for his agricultural diplomacy work abroad in Denmark.
Though not much more is known about this square, it remains an interesting part of Nichols’ collection. It serves as an example of the diverse materials, photographs, mementos, and correspondence Nichols accrued during his diplomatic career at several overseas posts. After working in Austin, TX and Washington, D.C. and having traveled for those positions as Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture for Texas and Assistant Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, respectively, he moved to Rome, Italy in 1979 to be the U.S. Agricultural Counselor to Italy. In 1982, he transferred to Copenhagen. Nichols also served as chairman of the NATO Food and Agriculture Planning Committee which was formed to plan for wartime food security.
To discover more of Nichols’ treasures or to see the carpet square in person, email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a visit with a Poage archivist.
[Materials found in the Edmund L. Nichols Papers, Box 6, Folder 1]