Swarthmore College Peace Collection, 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399, USA


[bulk of this history written by Eleanor Barr, 198_; updated by Anne Yoder, Archivist, 09/2000]

The Jane Addams Peace Association (JAPA) is a tax-exempt fund that supports educational projects of the U.S. Section of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. JAPA was incorporated in Illinois in December 1948 and was granted tax-exempt status by the federal government in 1951.

The purpose of JAPA, as stated in the certificate of incorporation, is "to foster a better understanding between the peoples of the world toward the end that wars may be avoided and a more lasting peace enjoyed. Such purpose shall be achieved solely through educational means and it shall not be the purpose of the Association to urge the passage or defeat of any legislation directed toward the achievement of this goal."

Prior to JAPA's incorporation, a committee known as the Jane Addams Peace Fund Committee or the Jane Addams Memorial Fund Committee had raised money for special projects, particularly for the international work of WILPF. Mabel Wing Castle had chaired this committee from 1942 to 1948. She became the first president of JAPA's Board of Directors, serving until her death in 1950.

JAPA maintains an office in New York near the United Nations (777 United Nations Plaza; 212-682-8830). Ruth Chalmers served as Executive Director from 1948 to 1990. Since then the Executive Directors have been Karen Gellen, Andrea Spencer-Linzie, Eurydice Kelley, Dilys Purdy (1999-2000) and Aisha Dyfan (Aug. 2000 - ).

JAPA's work is financed through voluntary contributions, bequests and annuities. A variety of educational projects have been supported by JAPA over the years, including international conferences, educational publications for peace and justice, and scholarship funds. Major past projects include Art for World Friendship, and the Committee for World Development and World Disarmament. Art for World Friendship was an exchange of original drawings and paintings between children of the United States and other countries. Founded in 1946 as a local WILPF project, AWF was supported by JAPA from 1951 until it was discontinued in 1968 [records of AWF, 1945-1969, are in DG 066]. The Committee for World Development and World Disarmament (CDWDW) originated in 1950 as the (Special) Committee for World Reconstruction and World Disarmament. For twenty years, this committee published material and organized national, regional and local conferences on world disarmament and economic development. CWDWD conducted extensive research on these issues and provided publications and other services to many other organizations [the bulk of the CWDWD collection is in DG 069].

The Jane Addams Children's Book Award has been presented since 1958 by JAPA and WILPF to the author of a book that they judge most effective in promoting the cause of peace, social justice and world community. Many of the award-winning books are available in the SCPC.

JAPA has sponsored a number of meetings with women of other countries to discuss mutual concerns relating to world peace. Past conferences have been hold in the United States and abroad, with Soviet, Polish and Latin American women.

Jane Addams House in Philadelphia, a building that houses the national office of the U.S. Section of WILPF, is owned and maintained by JAPA. Prior to 1955, this house was owened by the Pennsylvania Branch of WILPF. From 1946-1970, Jane Addams House was located at 2006 Walnut Street. Offices in the building were rented to several other peace organizations in addition to WILPF. On March 23, 1970, a fire of suspicious origin caused extensive damage to the Jane Addams House. After considerable study and discussion over whether national heaquarters should remain in Philadelphia, it was decided in 1971 to stay and in 1972 a house as 1213 Race Street was purchased, renovated, and later dedicated as the new Jane Addams House.

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