Swarthmore College Peace Collection

War Resisters' International Records, 1923-1976

Collection: DG 039

Contact Information
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399 U.S.A.
Telephone: (610) 328-8557 (Curator); Fax: (610) 328-8544
Email: wchmiel1@swarthmore.edu (Curator)
URL: http://www.swarthmore.edu/Library/peace/

Descriptive Summary
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
War Resisters' International
War Resisters' International Records
Inclusive Dates
Call Number
DG 039

Language of Materials
Materials in English
3.25 linear feet [papers only]
The War Resisters' International was founded at Bilthoven, Netherlands, in 1921 by representative pacifists from that country, Germany, Austria and Great Britain. The War Resisters' International was never more than a coordinating body in its relationship to affiliated groups.

Administrative Information
Restrictions to Access
Usage Restrictions
Alternate Form of Material
Acquisitions Information
Gift of theWar Resisters' International Office in Great Britain
Processing Information
Checklist prepared by Michael Sorensen, 1979; updated by Anne Yoder, January 1995; this finding aid was prepared by Chloe Lucchesi- Malone, August 2009
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the War Resisters' International Records (DG 039), Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law

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

Related Collections
War Resisters League Records (DG 040)
Devere Allen Papers (DG 053)

Historical Background
The War Resisters' International was founded at Bilthoven, Netherlands, in 1921 by representative pacifists from that country, Germany, Austria and Great Britain. The name originally chosen for the new movement was "Paco," which is the Esperanto word for peace.

For two years the work was directed from Bilthoven, but in 1923 all papers were transferred to Enfield, England, and H. Runham Brown was appointed as Honorary Secretary. At the same time the new name was adopted.

H. Runham Brown remained as the directing and guiding force of the movement until his death in 1949. His first move was to establish contact with individual pacifists and groups of pacifists in all parts of the world. By 1925, when the first international conference of the War Resisters' International was held (in Hoddeston, England), there were 42 affiliated groups of war resisters in 19 countries and individual resisters were associated with the movement in almost every country.

From the beginning the structure of the War Resisters' International was similar to that of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, which had preceded it by two years. The War Resisters' International was never more than a coordinating body in its relationship to affiliated groups. No group and no individual was ever committed to a majority point of view or decision. Few decisions were in fact ever made by either the International Council or by conferences of the movement. Nothing more was required of anyone than that s/he subscribe to the following declaration: "War is a crime against humanity. We therefore are determined not to support any kind of war and to strive for the removal of all causes of war."

It must also be observed that although some groups were sponsored or inspired from Enfield, the main organizations connected with the movement were born independently. The No More War movement in Great Britain came into being in the same year as the War Resisters' International and sent a delegation to the Bilthoven gathering at which Paco was founded. The War Resisters League in the United States organized shortly afterwards. Both of these bodies were completely autonomous; the latter still exists, while the former merged in 1937 with the Peace Pledge Union, which in turn became the British Section of the War Resisters' International.

From the beginning the governing body of the War Resisters' International has been the International Council, which has varied considerably in size through the years. Members of the Council are elected for a period of three years at the international conferences and are not strictly representatives with delegated powers from member organizations. They are elected purely for their personal qualities.

It will be recognized that the main function of the War Resisters' International -- apart from bringing the various pacifist groups of the world together -- has been and continues to be the encouragement and sometimes the support of the individual war resisters in the remoter pars of the world. Its literature has usually been directed toward that aim.

Collection Overview
The bulk of the material in SCPC pertains to two time periods, 1923-1949, and 1960-1976. The collection includes scattered minutes, correspondence, form letters and memoranda sent to members of the War Resisters' International International Council and to Sections in various countries, War Resisters' International publications, press releases, lists of imprisoned war resisters, and material relating to annual conferences. Although most of the War Resisters' International pamphlets and literature is in English, the collection also contains material printed in Esperanto, French, German and Italian.

The SCPC is not the official repository of War Resisters' International However, it does have a microfiche edition of the Archives of War Resisters' International, 1921-1974, for patron use.

Items removed:
All material not pertaining directly to War Resisters' International has been removed and filed in the Collected Document Groups under the organization's country.
The War Resisters' International periodicals, War Resistance and War Resister, as well as their newsletters have been moved into the retired periodicals collection.
For Magazines/Newsletters see Periodicals Collection
For photographs see Photograph Collection [see also photographs and lantern slides in the Devere Allen Papers (DG 053): Photographs]

Re-File Box, received 1999-
Born Digital Files, 2002

Detailed Description of the Collection

Box 1
Section lists, affiliated groups
Constitution and revisions, 1964-1975
Meeting minutes, 1927-1946
Executive Committee meeting minutes, 1970-1975
Council meeting minutes, 1970-1975
Reports, 1925-1939
Executive and secretary reports, 1970-1976
Background Papers

Box 2
Fundraising in the United States, 1943-1947
Finances, miscellaneous
Financial appeals
Finances, 1975
International Council Communications, #1-432

Box 3
Letters to Council and Sections, 1937-1951
Letters to Sections, 1923-1959
Form letters, 1923-1959
Form letters and releases, 1955-1959

Box 4
Correspondence with government officials, 1929-1949
Correspondence with War Resisters League, 1925-1948
Correspondence, 1947-1975

Box 5
News releases, 1949-1954, 1962-1964
Press releases, 1926-1949, 1971-1975
International conferences, 1925-1937
Addresses/Messages given at international conferences [circa 1930s]
International conferences, 1946-

Box 6
Youth Section, 1926-1933
Green International Bulletin (co-sponsored by War Resisters' International), 1934
Stuart Morris proposed visit, 1946
Conscientious objectors in prison, 1953-1954
French consulate, 1955-1956
Prisoners Day for Peace, 1969, 1974
Reports by Devi Prasad of international trips, 1970-1975
Lists of Publications
War Resisters' International Statements: A Selection of Statements and Resolutions from the War Resisters' International 1963- July 1972
Training in Nonviolence Bulletin
, 1968-1972
Organizational files, 1960-

Box 7
Literature (in English), 1921-

Box 8
Literature (other than English), 1918-

Re-File Box 
Material from Re-File Box, 1999-date

This file was last update on July 19, 2016 .