Swarthmore College Peace Collection

Bertha von Suttner Collected Papers, 1881-1995

Collection: CDG-B Austria

Contact Information

Swarthmore College Peace Collection
500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399 U.S.A.
Telephone: (610) 328-8572 ;
Email: peacecollection@swarthmore.edu; https://www.swarthmore.edu/peace-collection

Descriptive Summary
The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is not the official repository for these papers/records.
Bertha von Suttner (1843- 1914)
Bertha von Suttner Collected Papers
Inclusive Dates
Call Number

Language of Materials
Materials in English and German
1.25 linearfeet [papers only]
Bertha von Suttner an Austrian peace activist and intellectual was the author of one of the first international best selling novels focused on peace Lay Down Your Arms, published in 1891. In her life-long correspondence on peace matters with Alfred Nobel she urged him to establish a prize for peace. This led to his endowment in his will for prizes to be given each year for achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine and physiology, literature, and for work toward peace. Von Suttner was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905, the first woman to be thusrecognized.

Administrative Information
Restrictions to Access
Usage Restrictions
Alternate Form of Material
Acquisitions Information
Gift of Ella Arnhold Lewenz (1949), Dr. F.P. Kahlenberg, (1982) [Acc. 82A-007]; Anne Osterkamp, (1988) [Acc88A-030]; and Beatrice Kempf (1993) [Acc. 93A-023]; Peter van den Dungen (1993) [Acc. 93A-066]
Processing Information
Processed by SCPC staff. Original finding aid prepared by Anne Yoder; this finding aid updated by Wendy E. Chmielewski, July 2012.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Bertha von Suttner Collected Papers (CDG-B), Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Copyright Notice
Copyright may have been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection or may have been retained by the creators/authors (or their descendents), in this collection, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Please contact the SCPC Curator for further information.

Online Catalog Headings
These and related materials may be found under the following headings in online library/archival catalogs.
See tripod record

Related Collections
American Peace Society Records (DG 003)
Mildred Scott Olmsted Papers (DG 082)
World Peace Foundation Records (DG 055)
Alfred H. Fried Collected Papers (CDG-B Austria)
Edmondo Marcucci Collected Papers (CDG-B Italy)
United Nations Library in Geneva Collected Records (CDG-B Switzerland) for an account of the Suttner material there.

Historical Background
Bertha von Suttner was born Bertha Sophia Felicita, Countess Kinsky von Chinic und Tettau in 1843, in Prague. Her father was Count Franz Joseph Kinsky (who died shortly before Bertha was born), was a field marshall and chamberlain to Austria's Emperor, Franz Joseph I. Though the family was impoverished, Bertha was well-read. She was educated at home by governesses and was proficient in languages. An exceptional pianist, Bertha studied voice in Paris, Baden-Baden and Milan. However, bythe time she was in her early 30s, Bertha decided to find a job to support herself. Sshe was hired in 1873 by Baron Karl von Suttner as governess to his four daughters. It was there that she met the Baron's son, Arthur Gundaccar. They fell in love and wished to marry, but both families opposed it, and Bertha was forced to find other work. She answered an advertisement from Alfred Nobel in Paris, who, in the autumn of 1875, was looking for a secretary and manager of his household. Nobel was a multi-millionaire from his discovery and manufacture of dynamite, but he was also a humanitarian who promoted many good causes.

Von Suttner's position with Nobel lasted less than two weeks as she decided she could not live without Arthur. They were married secretly on June 12, 1876 and moved to the Caucasus. Over the next few years they eked out a living at various jobs, at the same time enriching their intellectual life by reading widely in science, philosophy and history. During this time the von Suttners wrote and had published six novels, as well as a number of articles. In 1885, Arthur and Bertha were reconciled with his family and were offered a permanent suite in the von Suttner castle in Vienna.
It was during a visit to Paris in 1887, that Bertha learned for the first time of the International Peace and Arbitration Association, based in London. The goal of thisorganization was the establishment of an international court of arbitration. Bertha promptly joined the Association and became its leading spokesperson. In the hopes of reaching a wider audience, she researched war, talking to army surgeons, field officers and others who graphically described the grim realities of its battles and aftermath. Von Suttner used this material in her 1891 novel Lay Down Your Arms. It's definite anti-war themes shocked her contemporaries, but it also received wide popular acclaim in many countries. Bertha published a manifesto in 1891 which attracted the attention of many peace sympathizers, and led to the formation of the Austrian Peace Society. She also helped establish the German Peace Association, the International Peace Bureau in Geneva in 1893, and the Hungarian Peace Society in 1896. Von Suttner is credited with being the first woman political journalist in the German language. Also, in 1899 she held a salon in conjunction with the First Hague Peace Conference (Netherlands), in which peace advocates convinced delegates to make establishing structures for resolving international conflict their primary concern.

For many years, Bertha corresponded with, and visited, Alfred Nobel. She urged him to support the goals of inernational arbitration by establishing a prize for peace. This led to his endowment for prizes to be given each year for achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine and physiology, literature, and for work toward peace. Berthaherself was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905.

Bertha von Suttner died on June 21,1914, one week before the outbreak of the First World War.

Collection Overview

The Bertha von Suttner Papers consist of biographical information, writings by and about Suttner, correspondence and diaries. The bulk of the collection consists of photocopies of material for which the originals are in European archives; unfortunately, the photocopies are often difficult to decipher.

Photographs have been removed to the Photograph Collection, stamps with a Suttner image to the Stamp Collection, and several items to the Special Manuscripts Collection.

Detailed Description of the Collection
Box 1
Biographical information
Articles about von Suttner in the European press, 1892-1914 [photocopied; originals in European archives]
Photographs of Suttner [photocopied; originals in Bundesarchiv, West Germany]
Bibliography of writings by Suttner
Pamphlets, booklets, and articles by Suttner
Articles by Suttner in European books and the press [photocopied; originals in European archives]
Articles by Suttner re: America, 1904-1913 [photocopied; originals in European archives]
Chapter "Wie ich dazu kam 'Die Waffen Nieder!' zu Schreiben" [photocopied; original in European archives]

MS "Beginn und Geschichte der burerlichen friedensbewegung, 1815-1914"
MS by Beatrix Kemp re: Suttner and Nobel [includes transcriptions of their 1888-1896 correspondence]
Material re: exhibition "Bertha von Suttner and Other Women in Pursuit of Peace," 1993-1995
Biographical information on Theodore Herzl
Booklet "Theodore Herzl: Cinquante ans apres sa mort" [photocopied; originals in European archives]
Esperanto-related interests of Suttner [photocopied; originals in Bundesarchiv, West Germany]

Box 2
Correspondence from Suttner, circa. 1905-1911 [photocopied]
Correspondence of Suttner, 1905-1917 [photocopied; originals in Bundesarchiv, West Germany]
Correspondence from Suttner to Frederik Bajer, 1891-1910 [photocopied; originals in European archives]; and, "Esquisse de Rapport" between Bajer and the Commission du Bureau International de la Paix, 1900
Correspondence between Suttner and B. Bjornson, 1892-1905 [photocopied; originals in European archives]
Correspondence between Suttner and Georg Brandes, 1886-1891 [photocopied; originals in European archives]
Correspondence from Suttner to Edward Ginn [photocopied]
Correspondence between Suttner and Theodore Herzl, 1896-1903 [photocopied; originals in European archives]
Correspondence between Suttner and Alfred Nobel, 1881-1896 [photocopied; originals in European archives]

Box 3 [photocopied; originals in United Nations Library, Geneva]
Diary, 1897 (January 1)- 1899 (January 26)
Diary, 1900 (January 1) - 1901 (June 10)
Diary, 1901 (June 11) - 1902 (December 31)
Diary, 1903 (January 1) - 1903 (December 31)
Diary, 1904 (January 1) - 1904 (December 30)
Diary, 1905 (January 1) - 1905 (December 30)
Diary, 1906 (January 1) - 1907 (June 9)
Diary, 1907 (June 10) - 1909 (June 30)
Diary, 1909 (July 1) - 1911 (December 31)
Diary, 1912 (January 1) - 1912 (December 31)
Diary, 1913 (January 1) - 1913 (December 31)
Diary, 1914 (January 1) - 1914 (June 2)

This file was last updated on August 21, 2015