Swarthmore College Peace Collection

Allen S. Olmsted II Papers, 1898-1986

Collection: DG 095

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

Descriptive Summary
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Olmsted II, Allen S. (1888-1977)
Allen S. Olmsted II Papers
Inclusive Dates
Call Number
DG 095

Language of Materials
Materials in Englishand some French
6.25 linear feet [papers only]

Administrative Information
Restrictions to Access
Usage Restrictions
Yes. Collection stored off-site, please request boxes at least one week in advance of visit
Alternate Form of Material
Acquisitions Information
Gifts of Allen S.and Mildred Scott Olmsted, 1975, 1987, 1989 [acc. 75A-070, 75A-079, 75A-085, 87A-143, 87A-147, 89A-129]
Processing Information
Processed by Martha Shane, 1992; reorganized by Anne Yoder, 2006; updated by SCPC staff 2015.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Allen S. Olmsted II Papers (DG 095), 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
Mildred Scott Olmsted Papers (DG 082)

Historical Background
Allen Seymour Olmsted, 2nd, a lawyer and judge, was also an activist for civil liberties and pacifist causes. He was born on July 9, 1888, in Le Roy (New York), the son of John Bartow and Clara Morgan Olmsted. He attended Lafayette High School in Buffalo (New York), and then went to Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude in 1909. In 1912, he received a law degree from Harvard Law School. While a student there, he was president of the Harvard Men's League for Woman Suffrage. Following law school, Olmsted was admitted to the bar in Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania. Early in his career, he specialized in railroad rate cases, bringing them before the Interstate Commerce Commission and various state regulatory agencies.

Olmsted moved to Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) in 1915 and soon joined the law practice of Saul, Ewing, Remick, and Saul. In 1930, he moved his principal office to Media (Pennsylvania), but maintained a downtown Philadelphia office at Saul, Ewing as well. He enlisted and served overseas during World War I with the American Expeditionary Force as a sergeant major with the 14th Railway Engineers (1917-1919), and remained for a year after the war with the Sorbonne Detachment in Paris. Disillusioned by war as a solution to world disputes, Olmsted began to have a strong interest in pacifism.

In 1921, Olmsted married Mildred Scott Olmsted, whose papers (DG 082) are also available at the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. The couple had a son, Peter Scott, and adopted two more children, Enid Scott and Anthony Scott. Allen Olmsted supported his wife's peace activities by serving as counsel without fee for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and, later, for the Jane Addams Peace Association.
Early in the 1920s, Olmsted served on the Council of the Pennsylvania branch of the American Birth Control Federation and was on the Council of the Philadelphia branch as well. He was President of Philadelphia Young Democracy in 1923. In 1927, as a member of the American Legion's Howard C. McCall Post #20, Olmsted stood trial for urging that an alien had the right to make pro-Communist remarks and should be defended accordingly; he was subsequently acquitted by the Legion for his "alleged seditious utterings." Olmsted served as an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, and was a member of that organization most of his life. He was active in the National Council for Prevention of War. He served as Chairman and was active with the Philadelphia Peace Council (1926-1945), whose purpose was "to further international justice and good will by acting as a clearing-house for information and as a link for co-operation between organized groups working for World Peace."
During World War II, Olmsted joined the Religious Society of Friends and served on the Conscription, Disarmament, and Rights of Conscience Subcommittee of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. On behalf of the Joint Peace Committee (of Chester and Providence (Pennsylvania) Friends Monthly Meetings), he helped to draft a proposal to stop the war without an unconditional surrender by Germany. In 1950, he helped raise funds for the Larry Gara conscientious objection case. He served as treasurer of the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors in the early 1950s and was also on its Legal Committee. Olmsted was a member of the Rights of Conscience Committee of the American Friends Service Committee in 1955 and 1956.
Allen Olmsted was also interested in politics. He ran for the legislature on the Democratic ticket in 1928, and for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in 1937, 1947, and 1949. In 1958, he was appointed Judge by Democratic Governor George Leader, and became the first Democrat ever named to be Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County (Pennsylvania). In a bid for election in Nov. 1959, Olmsted was defeated by Republican Thomas A. Curran.
The Olmsteds resided in Rose Valley (Pennsylvania). Allen Olmsted died in December 1977 at the age of 89.

Collection Overview
The bulk of the Allen S. Olmsted papers is correspondence (1898-1977). Most of these are carbon copies of letters dictated by Olmsted and filed in subject transfer files at his law offices in Philadelphia and Media (Pennsylvania) [note: there are also many letters from Allen Olmsted in the papers of his wife, Mildred Scott Olmsted (DG 082)]. Correspondents include Brent Dow Allinson, Gertrude Baer, Emily Greene Balch, Roger Nash Baldwin, Witter Brynner, Joseph S. Clark, Sophia H. Dulles, Caleb Foote, Frederick Fuges, Dorothy A. Hickie, Alan R. Howe, Dorothy H. Hutchinson, Agnes M. Irwin, Esther Everett Lape, Dr. Philipp Loewenfeld, Emily C.P. Longstreth, Walter C. Longstreth, Ruth Mellor, Agnes M. Morley, Ray Newton, Anne H. Price, Lyle Tatum, George Willoughby, Mary Winsor, Richard R. Wood, and C.H (Mike) Yarrrow. Also included is correspondence with German emigrés about affidavits in support of visas, and the transcript of Olmsted's dismissal hearing by the American Legion (1927).

A biographical section of this collection contains newspaper clippings about Allen Olmsted (1958-1986), family history, scrapbooks from his high school and college years, academic memorabilia and essays, and a notable quantity of documents about the Harvard Men's League for Woman Suffrage (1911-1912).
Diplomas and certificates were removed to the Oversized Items Collection: Documents. Photographs were removed to the Photograph Collection; sound tapes were removed to the Audiovisual Collection; and, memorabilia was removed to the Memorabilia Collection.

Arrangement of Collection
This collection was reprocessed and rearranged in 2006. At this time, Series designations were deemed no longer necessary; instead, underlined headings have been used to indicate the type of material that exists in the boxes.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Box 1 off-site
Copy of checklist
Finding aid for the records of the American Civil Liberties Union, Temple University [includes some Allen Olmsted papers]
List of items removed to DG 082 (Mildred Scott Olmsted)
Biographical Information: General
Biographical information
Media coverage, 1958-1986
Family history: parents, siblings, extended family
Children [includes Peter's statement re: being a C.O., ca. WWII]
Biographical Information: School Life
Earlyand high school years (Buffalo, New York)
Scrapbook from school years, ca. 1902-1904
Biographical Information: School Life -- Harvard University (Class of 1909)
Essays written, 1907
Essays written, 1908
Other academic material

Box 2 off-site
Biographical Information: School Life -- Harvard University (Class of 1909)
Scrapbook, 1909-1914
Memorabilia [2 folders]
Theater memorabilia
Biographical Information: School Life -- Harvard Law School (Class of 1912)
Financial records journal
Scrapbooks (x2)
Diary, 1910-1914; notebook of class notes re: international law
Bookletsand pamphlets
Essays written [includes one re: woman suffrage]
Harvard Men's League for Woman Suffrage, 1911-1912: correspondence

Box 3 off-site
Biographical Information: School Life -- Harvard Law School (Class of 1912)
Harvard Men's League for Woman Suffrage, 1911-1912: controversy with Board of Overseers re: allowing women suffragists to speak on campus
Harvard Men's League for Woman Suffrage, 1911-1912: miscellaneous [includes transcript of speech given by Allen S. Olmsted at Wellesley]
Prospect Union Night School: essays by students, 1912
Biographical Information: Enlistment in Army
Involvement in World War I, 1917-1919 [includes diary (March 21, 1918 - March 6, 1919) [for transcription click here]and court-martial record for letter he wrote on September 3, 1918]
Involvement (classes, etc.) in American School Detachment, University of Paris (France), March-June 1919
Biographical Information: Professionaland Private Life
Passports, 1921-1922 [one includes Mildred]
Address books, 1905-1907
Address books, 1909-1912
Address book, ca. 1950s

Box 4 off-site
Biographical Information: Professionaland Private Life
Address books, undated
Financial records
Job applications, 1915-1919
Vocational analysis, 1922
Admittance to the Bar, 1916 (and beyond): cases argued, miscellaneous legal papers
Service as Judge of Court of Common Pleas, Delaware County (Pennsylvania), 1958-1960
Running for election as Judge, 1959
FBI files about Allen S. Olmsted
Home in Rose Valley (Pennsylvania)
Home in Rose Valley (Pennsylvania): correspondence, etc., 1932-1974
Leasing of apartment to renters in Rose Valley (Pennsylvania)
Deathand estate affairs, 1977
Writings/Speeches/Interviews, __-1925
Writings/Speeches/Interviews: correspondence re: article "Cost of Transportation," 1915-1916
Writings/Speeches/Interviews, 1925-1959

Box 5 off-site
Biographical Information: Professionaland Private Life
Writings/Speeches/Interviews, 1960-1969
Writings/Speeches/Interviews, 1970-1977
Interview: recollections of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) politics, 1975
Writings/Speeches/Interviews, undated
Correspondence with wife Mildred
Correspondence with son Anthony
Correspondence with daughter Enid
Correspondence with son Peterand Peter's wife, Polly; essays by Peter [includes statement of C.O. status]
Correspondence: letters to Peter's ex-wife, Polly, 1962-1963
Correspondence about son Peter, 1936-1967
Correspondence with grandchildren; essays by grandchildren
Literature re: vacations, ca. 1931
Correspondence re: vacations, 1931-1943
Correspondence re: vacations (Mexico), 1941
Correspondence re: vacations, 1944-1945

Box 6 off-site
Correspondence re: vacations, 1946-1973
Correspondence re: vacations (Europe), summer 1965
Correspondence re: vacations (Africa), 1966
Correspondence re: vacations (Paris, France), 1969
Correspondence re: vacations, 1974-1975
Outgoing correspondence, 1902-1920
Outgoing correspondence, 1921 (October-December)
Outgoing correspondence,1922-1925

Box 7 off-site
Outgoing correspondence, 1926-1938

Box 8 off-site
Outgoing correspondence, 1941-1978

Box 9 off-site
Incoming correspondence: letters from Annie Harpwood, 1907-1912
Incoming correspondence: letters from Helen Heywood, 1912-1915, undated
Incoming correspondence: letters from Ninon Lacey, 1913-1916, undated
Incoming correspondence: letters from Dick Newhall, 1913-1915
Incoming correspondence: letters from Grace Legate Olmsted, 1905-1912, 1919, undated
Incoming correspondence: letters from Jeanne Troilet, 1919-1924, 1938-1971

Box 10 off-site
Incoming correspondence, 1905-1915

Box 11 off-site
Incoming correspondence, 1916-1935

Box 12 off-site
Incoming correspondence, 1936-1978

Box 13 off-site
Incoming correspondence, undated
Involvement/correspondence with the American Birth Control League, Inc., 1922-1932
Involvement/correspondence with the American Civil Liberties Union, 1920-1922
Involvement/correspondence with the American Civil Liberties Union, 1940-1947 [re: conscientious objectors]
Involvement/correspondence with the American Foundation, 1930-1931
Involvement/correspondence with American Friends Service Committee, Rights of Conscience Committee, 1955-1958
Involvement/correspondence with the American Legion, 1920s
Involvement/correspondence with the American Legion, 1920-1921 [re: amnesty for political prisoners], 1926-1927
Involvement/correspondence with the American Legionand the American Civil Liberties Union re: the break-up of a peaceful meeting of workers in Wilkes-Barre (Pennsylvania), 1924
Involvement/correspondence with the American Legion, 1927: sedition charges against Allen S. Olmsted
Involvement/correspondence with the American Legion, 1930s
Involvement/correspondence with the CCCO, Courts Committee, 1940-1957

Box 14 off-site
Involvement/correspondence with the CCCO, 1949-1950: fundraising for Larry Gara case
Involvement/correspondence with the Emergency Peace Campaign, 1936-1937, 1944-1945
Involvement/correspondence with the Joint Peace Committee of Chesterand Providence Meetingsand the Peace Now Committee, 1944-1947
Involvement/correspondence with the Pennsylvania Branch of the League of Nations Association, 1930-1937
Involvement/correspondence with the Philadelphia Peace Council: general
Involvement/correspondence with the Philadelphia Peace Council: correspondence, 1926 [2 folders]
Involvement/correspondence with the Philadelphia Peace Council: correspondence, 1927-1930
Involvement/correspondence with the Speaker's Bureau of International Affairs, 1929-1937
Involvement/correspondence with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, 1927-1973
Involvement/correspondence (as Treasurer) with the Special Committee for a Mass Meeting on the Naval Construction Bill (with Senator Gerald P. Nye), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), February 5, 1928
Efforts on behalf of German immigrants to America: Irmgard Bamberger, 1938
Efforts on behalf of German immigrants to America: Wilhelmand Nelly Flam, 1939
Efforts on behalf of German immigrants to America: Dr. Berta Letimeier, 1938
Efforts on behalf of German immigrants to America: Ing. Ernest Shwartz, 1938
Efforts on behalf of German immigrants to America: Dr. Franz Rehrl, 1938

Box 15 off-site
Efforts on behalf of German immigrants to America: Hansand Ilse Unterleitner (and children), 1938
Efforts on behalf of German immigrants to America: Hansand Ilse Unterleitner, 1939-1942 [2 folders]
Reference material
Reference material re: conscription
Reference material re: the American Legion

This file was last updated on March 15, 2017 .