Six years ago when I was elected to the Office of City Recorder, I took on a project which involved inventorying the City’s archives. The City of Ashland was incorporated in 1874 and the city “vault” contained thousands of records dating back to the beginning.
Inventorying the documents required handling every single item in the vault, placing the information into a searchable software program, and identifying each for future retrieval. It was a long and tedious job, but an important one.
While working on this project, my assistant and I came across many interesting items, but the most interesting was a sealed, brown envelope, with the message “To be opened Jan. 1st 2001, Deposited by D.M. Brower MD.L.B. 216 Central Ave. Ashland, Oregon.” typed on the front. The envelope was not dated, but it was found among other documents dated between 1910 and 1911. We were curious and thrilled to find a “time capsule” letter.
As the year 2001 approached, my curiosity was overflowing. I contacted our local historian to see if I could get help identifying and gathering information on Dr. Brower. She was very helpful.
Dr. Brower established his practice in Ashland in 1893. The city had terrible sanitation problems and was battling an epidemic of scarlet fever. Dr. Brower suffered the loss of his four-year-old daughter to the epidemic. He was appointed Chairman of the City Health Board, and through his efforts was able to bring the epidemic under control while championing a campaign for better sanitation conditions. Unfortunately, Dr. Brower became disillusioned with the Town Council when he submitted a bill for $10, of which they would only pay $5.
On Dr. Brower's 78th birthday in 1936, he wrote a three-page, proposed document entitled “Constitution of an International Union of States” along with an introductory letter to those who would open his envelope in 2001.
When the day came to open the letter, many were disappointed when the contents did not solve a long-ago murder case or speak to local issues occurring in the 1930s. Instead, Dr. Brower spoke philosophically about the future, urging perpetual peace. This was the content of the 65-year-old “time capsule” letter.
Now, what I believe is the “real" story behind this, is the integrity and trust that is placed with the Office of the City Recorder by our citizens. The letter was deposited with the City Recorder in 1936 and then passed through the hands of six successors to the office. The request to hold the letter, unopened, was honored for 65 years. And, if you are curious, yes, I did have difficulty waiting six years to open it.
Barbara Christensen City Recorder/Treasurer
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The following is a copy of Dr. Brower's letter and Constitution.
Typographical corrections were made.
October 26, 1936
This is my 78th birthday, having been born on October 26, 1858, near South English, Iowa. My father was Eld. David Brower and [his] wife [was] Salome. The enclosed manuscript is left in [the] care of the City Recorder of Ashland, Oregon [James Q. Adams], to be opened by him or his successor the first day of January 2001. The said manuscript is my own production. It is too soon to be of much, if any, use at the present date. At the present rate of progress, Internationalism should [be] in full flower. It is the hope of the writer that it may be useful as an article looking backward, or as an article to be of use to show the way out to perpetual peace on the international highway to perpetual peace. A careful, critical study of the manscript will disclose that more would be too much and less would be too little. It is of no avail until adopted, but when it is [what it] would create will lead on to what the poets have [called] the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. It is the hope of the writer, [that] the reader will read, discuss, and preserve it for future generations to become a blessing to all. The Lord God will preserve men.
D.M. Brower, M.D.LL.B
216 Central Avenue
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Proposed Constitution of
An International Union of States
PREAMBLE: For the purpose of creating and maintaining peace on earth and good will toward men, we, the peoples on earth, acting with and through the World Court, do ordain and establish the following as a Constitution for the International Union of States.
Article IEach State of the International Union of States shall have not less than ten thousand of electors and a territory of not less than twenty (20) square miles.
Electors shall be literate citizens over twenty years old, not habitual criminals, and of a sound mind.
No forts or custom houses shall be located on or near any state lines, neither armored ships or armed vehicles of any kinds.
The International Union of States shall have a representative-commission form, and non-militant industrio-commercial characteristics.
Each state of the International Union of States shall have one or more representatives, the number to be increased by one for every million of electors in addition thereto.
To be, or to become, a member of the International Union of States each state, division or subdivision thereof shall have the same form and characteristics given in paragraph four of this Article.
House of Representatives
The House of Representatives shall have power to appoint, or remove, any commissioner, commission boards, courts, and judges herein after provided for, and to enact such laws as are needed for governing the same.
Commissioner of Reconciliation
Commissioner of Industry and Commerce
Commissioner of Post Office and Finance
Commissioner of Rivers and Harbors
Commissioner of Conservation of Soils
Commissioner of Police and Protection
Commissioner of Mining
Commissioner of Transportation
Commissioner of Sanitation and Safety
Commissioner of Education
Commissioner of Science and Invention
Commissioner of Civil Service
Police Powers shall never be used to collect either private or private-corporate debts.
Virtue, life, and a right to make a living, without exploitation, shall ever be held secure.
Free speech, free press, freedom of peaceful assembly, and right to petition shall never be denied by any officer or official of the International Union of States, division or subdivision thereof, except in flagrant defiance, because of sanctions, the police powers shall never be used only negatively. Except with the violently insane, non-violence shall always be used.
INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE
City Charters should be drawn to conform with this provision. The Commissioner of Industry and Commerce should advise with and work with all other commissioners needing or desiring cooperation.
INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE AND ARBITRATION
The powers of the International Court of Justice and Arbitration shall be to inquire into and settle questions coming to it from lower Courts. Said Court shall receive and settle questions coming to it from Commissioners appointed by the International House of Representatives.
Unnecessary delay in action on the part of the International Court of Justice and Arbitration shall subject it to removal by the International House of Representatives.
POLICE OR EXECUTIVE POWERS
The Police shall enforce laws, punish and retrain violations of the provisions of this constitution and laws by negative efforts, never meeting violence with violence except in cases of absolute necessity to restrain states angered by sanctions.
By decree of the Commissioner of Reconciliation against states using force or violence in resenting sanctions, said states shall be dropped from membership in the International Union of States. Except in case of self-defense the powers used by the police or police bodies shall be negative in action.
POST MASTER GENERAL
His Commission shall have unrestricted charge of the Postal, Mailing, and Finance powers and activities. Under his authority the Commission shall issue International postage stamps, Postal Certificates regulating the value and volume thereof by the rapidity of transaction and needed cancellation.
In so doing the commission may use the transaction power associated retirements annuity for the aged and helpless. His office shall use and transmit post cards, letters, Parcel Post, and any articles of transportation that feasible and profitable for his office to engage in, the returns thereof being revenue which may be distributed or used as full legal tender, or cash, in payment for salary, purchases, contracts, services, or obligations.
(Photograph from Voda Brower Collection)