Swarthmore College Peace Collection

Mildred Scott Olmsted Papers, 1881-1990 (bulk 1907-1990)

Collection: DG 082


Contact Information
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399
U.S.A.
Telephone: 610-328-8557 (curator)
Fax: 610-690-5728
Email: wchmiel@swarthmore.edu (curator)
URL: http://www.swarthmore.edu/Library/peace/


Descriptive Summary
Repository
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Creator
Olmsted, Mildred Scott (1890-1990)
Title
Mildred Scott Olmsted Papers
Inclusive Dates
1881-1990
Call Number
DG 082

Language of Materials
Materials in English
Extent
14 linear feet [papers only]
Abstract
Mildred Scott Olmsted, peace activist and suffragist, was born in Glenolden, Pennsylvania, in 1890. In 1922, Olmsted became Executive Secretary of the Pennsylvania Branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). From 1934 onward she assumed national positions with the organization. In 1946, Olmsted became National Administrative Secretary and held that position (until her retirement in 1966. She remained active as Executive Director Emerita of WILPF and also served on its International Executive Committee from 1937 until 1953.

Mildred Scott married Allen S. Olmsted, II, in 1921 and the couple had one child and adopted two more. Mildred Scott Olmsted died in 1990 at the age of 99.


Administrative Information
Restrictions to Access
None
Usage Restrictions
None
Alternate Form of Material
None
Acquisitions Information
Gift of Mildred Scott Olmsted and Margaret Hope Bacon. Received: 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1986, 1987, 1990
Processing Information
Checklist prepared by Martha P. Shane, 1981; revised 1986 and 1992.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Mildred Scott Olmsted Papers (DG 082), 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
Papers of Allen S. Olmsted
Records of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section


Historical Background
Mildred Scott Olmsted, peace activist and suffragist, was born in Glenolden, Pennsylvania, on December 5, 1890. She attended Friends' Central School in Philadelphia and graduated from Smith College in 1912 with a degree in history. In 1913, she received a certificate from the Pennsylvania School of Social and Health Work. In 1919, she went to France with the YMCA where she organized recreation for soldiers at the Sorbonne. It was while in Paris that Olmsted first met Jane Addams. In 1920, she went to Berlin and joined the German Unit of the American Friends Service Committee, American Relief Administration. Here, she helped organize the feeding of famine-stricken Bavarian children. Returning home, Olmsted became Assistant Director of the White-Williams Foundation from 1920 to 1922. She married Allen S. Olmsted, 2nd, in 1921 and the couple had one child and adopted two more.

In 1922, Olmsted became Executive Secretary of the Pennsylvania Branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). She assumed additional responsibilities in 1934 when she became National Organization Secretary of WILPF, U.S. Section. In 1946, Olmsted became National Administrative Secretary when Dorothy Detzer resigned. She held that position (title changed to National Executive Director ca. 1964) until her retirement in 1966. She remained active as Executive Director Emerita of WILPF and also served on its International Executive Committee from 1937 until 1953.

While she was best known for her leadership in WILPF, Mildred Scott Olmsted served many organizations. She was on the Board of Philadelphia SANE, Promoting Enduring Peace, the Upland Institute of Crozer Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, vice-chairman of the Pennsylvania American Civil Liberties Union, and representative to the United Nations Council of Non-Governmental Organizations, among others.

An early leader in the birth control movement, Olmsted helped set up the first clinic in the Philadelphia area. She championed the causes of women's suffrage, civil liberties, the protection of animals, and conservation of natural resources. Her hobbies included gardening, travel, antiques, and historic preservation.

In 1972, Olmsted was presented with the Philadelphia SANE Peace Award, and in 1974, her alma mater Smith College presented her with an honorary doctorate degree, as did Swarthmore College in 1987. She was honored on numerous occasions by WILPF and received its first Lifetime Achievement Award in 1986.

Olmsted resided for most of her life in Rose Valley, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. She was a member of the Society of Friends and attended the Providence (Media, PA) Meeting where she served as clerk. She was a member of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Committee on Reorganization in 1973 and 1974 and also served on the Executive Committee of the Peace Education Committee of the American Friends Service Committee.

Olmsted died July 2, 1990, at the age of 99.

Collection Overview
Most of the Olmsted papers is made up of personal correspondence (1907-1989) with her huband, family, friends, and associates. There are two folders of letters of tribute (1965) from many well-known peace leaders presented to her in honor of her retirement from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) in Series IV. Much printed WILPF material was moved to DG 43 (WILPF), but the collection still contains some documents from WILPF projects and events which were created by, directed to, or annotated by Olmsted. There is material from other organizations in which she was active. There are transcripts from several interviews, including two interviews (1972 and 1973) with Mercedes Randall in which Olmsted recalls the history of WILPF, and one at Smith College (l972) which is autobiographical. There is also biographical material about Olmsted's parents, her husband and children, and the family residence in Rose Valley, Pennsylvania. Newspaper clippings (1936-date) and articles from periodicals about Olmsted document her peace activities as do notes from numerous speeches and articles by her. There are programs, correspondence, and memorabilia from her 1972 SANE Peace Award, and honorary degrees at Smith College in 1974 and Swarthmore College in 1987. Numerous photographs and memorabilia including a peace button collection belong with the Olmsted papers.

Correspondents include Katharine M. Arnett, , Edith Ballantyne, Ruth Chalmers, Dorothy Detzer, Ruth Freeman, Dorothy M. Hayes, Margaret Holmes, Tano Jodai, Ruth Mellor, Allen S. Olmsted, 2nd, other Olmsted family members, Anita L. Pollitzer,and Gertrude R. Prichett. The papers of Allen S. Olmsted, 2nd, are in DG 95 in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. There are additional papers of Ruth Mellor at Smith College.

Items removed: Photographs, oversize documents, audio visual items, scrapbooks, and memorabilia

Arrangement of Collection
Mildred Scott Olmsted's papers were received in many different accessions beginning in 1975. The final accessions were received following her death in 1990. The series imposed here attempt to place materials such as correspondence or WILPF documents together. Where possible, chronological arrangement has been used.

Most of Olmsted's correspondence in Series II is personal in nature. A considerable amount of material pertaining to WILPF, from the years 1934 until February 1966, when Olmsted was in leadership positions, was moved to Series C of DG 43, U.S. Section (WILPF). Much printed WILPF material was also moved to DG 43 to create a more complete WILPF collection and to avoid duplication. She was active in many organizations for which SCPC is a repository, and documents of an impersonal nature from these organizations were moved from the Olmsted papers to the records of the creating organizations. Periodicals, both from WILPF and from other organizations, were refiled with SCPC retired periodicals,. A list of these is in Series V. Two scrapbooks containing letters of tribute sent to Olmsted in 1965 at the time of her retirement from WILPF were dismantled and the pages placed together, now found in Series IV.





Detailed Description of the Collection


Series I: Biographical

Box 1
Checklist
Biographical statements
Newspaper clippings about Mildred Scott Olmsted (1936-date)
Magazine and other articles about Mildred Scott Olmsted (1920s-date)
Interview transcript by Jacqueline Van Voris at Smith College (May 29, 1972)
Interview by Frances Early (July 27, 1985)
Miscellaneous interviews
Honors and awards [except WILPF: see Series IV]
SANE Peace Award with correspondence (1972)
Smith College honorary degree with correspondence (1974)
Friends Central School Distinguished Alumni Award (1974)
Swarthmore College honorary degree (1987)
Other honors and awards
 
Box 2
Mildred Scott Olmsted's family
Mr. and Mrs. Henry J. Scott (parents) (1881-1932)
Wedding of M.S.O and Allen S. Olmsted II (October 30, 1921)
Children: report cards, etc.
Grandchildren and other relatives
Olmsted family residence in Rose Valley, Pennsylvania
Contents of Mildred Scott Olmsted's memory box: greetings, etc. from children

Series II: Correspondence
Box 3
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1907-1914

Box 4
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1915 - June 1918

Box 5
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, July 1918 - 1919

Box 6
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1920-1923

Box 7
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1924-1928

Box 8
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1929-1934

Box 9
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1935-1942

Box 10
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1943-1945

Box 11
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1946-1950

Box 12
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1951-1962

Box 13
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1962 (cont.) -1965 [includes sympathy notes after son's death]

Box 14
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1966-1972

Box 15
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1973-1976

Box 16
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1977-1978 [includes sympathy notes after husband's death]

Box 17
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1979-1980

Box 18
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1981 - April 1983

Box 19
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, May 1983 - 1985

Box 20
Letters to/from Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1986-1989, undated

Series III: Speeches and Writings by Olmsted
Box 21
Compositions (1907-1909)
Seybert Institute for Poor Boys and Girls Survey (ca. 1914)
Misc. articles and statements (1938-1985)
Speech notes (1939-1986)
Miscellaneous notes
 
Series IV: WILPF Events/Projects
Box 21 (cont.)
Removal sheets
Peace Study Tour to Europe and Russia (Summer 1932)

Box 22
Miscellaneous reports (1940)
Trip to Africa (1963)
White House Conference on International Cooperation (1965)
Women's Response to the Rising Tide of Violence Conf. (1966)
l7th International Congress in New Zealand (1968)
18th International Congress in New Delhi (197l)
National Board Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (November 10-12, 1972)
Transcripts of interviews with Mildred Scott Olmsted by Mercedes Randall about history of WILPF (February 1972; April 1973)
WILPF 60th Anniversary (1975)
Ad Hoc Committee to Mop Up Stresses (1976)
Ad Hoc Committee on Evaluation of Executive Director (1976)
Party for Marion A. Smith (1976)
Preparatory material for "Roots of WILPF" (June 12, 1977)

Box 23
Women, SALT, and Arms Control Conf. (December 6, 1978)
Transcript of interview with Mildred Scott Olmsted by Melva Mueller (November 1, 1979)
Interview for Peace and Freedom (January 27, 1984)
70th Anniversary Celebration (Aril. 26, 1985)
Annotated WILPF miscellanea (1956-1987)
WILPF events honoring Mildred Scott Olmsted
Birthday party after 20 years with WILPF (1942)
Luncheon (1949)
Retirement tributes presented at 50th Anniversary banquet (October. 15, 1965)
Dinner (October 1, 1977)
Lifetime Achievement Award, Franklin Institute (September 25, 1986)
Miscellaneous WILPF honors

Series V. Other Events/Projects/Organizations
Box 24
Upland Institute (1966-1968)
Radio Station WXUR Hearing (1966-1970)
American Civil Liberties Union (1971-date)
SANE Award to George McGovern (1971)
Release of FBI records about Mildred Scott Olmsted (1975-1977)
SANE dinners and misc. (1978, 1980)
Miscellaneous organizations
Miscellaneous events attended by M.S.O or to which she was invited (1966-1990)

Boxes 25 & 26
Miscellaneous reference material

Series VI: Audiovisual Material
2 boxes of photographs [removed to Photograph Collection]
2 audiocassettes of interviews conducted by Mercedes Randall (February 1972; April-May 1973) [removed to Audiovisual Collection; see audiocassettes 276.1-276.2; see also transcript of tapes in folder accompanying Audiocassettes in Audiovisual Collection]
9 audiocassettes of interviews of Mildred Scott Olmsted conducted by Margaret Hope Bacon (May-November 1987) [Acc. 90A-010; removed to Audiovisual Collection]
11 audiocassettes of interviews of Mildred Scott Olmsted and others conducted by Bacon (1987-1990) [Acc. 93A-026; removed to Audiovisual Collection]


Series VII: Memorabilia
Box 27
Newspaper clippings saved by Mildred Scott Olmsted
Miscellaneous documents saved by Mildred Scott Olmsted
Greetings and poems saved by Mildred Scott Olmsted
Scrapbook contents (ca. 1907-1909)
Travel memorabilia
Peace buttons, awards, bumper stickers, etc. [removed to appropriate collections]

Box 28
Books, including school yearbooks, diaries, Smith College class notes, etc.

This finding aid was last updated on June 2, 2010.