Swarthmore College Peace Collection

Ellen Starr Brinton Papers, 1895-1980

Collection: DG 051

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
Brinton, Ellen Starr (1886-1954)
Ellen Starr Brinton Papers
Inclusive Dates
Call Number
DG 051

Language of Materials
Materials in English
20 linear inches [papers only]
Ellen Starr Brinton (1886-1954), Quaker, feminist and internationalist, served as the first curator of the Jane Addams Peace Collection (later the Swarthmore College Peace Collection) from 1935 until her retirement in 1951.

Administrative Information
Restrictions to Access
Usage Restrictions
Alternate Form of Material
Acquisitions Information
Gift of Elizabeth Wheeler (cousin of Ellen Starr Brinton), 1954 [Acc. 54-038]
Processing Information
Processed by Barbara Addison, September 1992; this version of finding aid by Wendy E. Chmielewski, July 2009; updated by Anne Yoder, Archivist, November 2014
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Ellen Starr Brinton Papers (DG 051), Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, 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
Archives of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection (DG 000)

Historical Background

Ellen Starr Brinton (1886-1954), Quaker, feminist and internationalist, served as the first curator of the Jane Addams Peace Collection (later the Swarthmore College Peace Collection) from 1935 until her retirement in 1951.

During World War I, Ellen Brinton assisted with educational publicity work under the Food Administration in Philadelphia and also wrote for a newspaper there. She was a field representative in the Philadelphia office of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom during the 1920s and early 1930s. During this time Brinton was particularly interested in the political situation in Cuba and human rights violations there. She also worked with other WILPF representatives to establish ties with women's organizations in Latin America. When the Daughters of the American Revolution published attacks on WILPF in the 1920s, Brinton was one of the League members who wrote articles in rebuttal. She specifically addressed the DAR's color barrier in the admissions policy of their organization.

As first curator of the Peace Collection, Brinton established collection and arrangement policies for the WILPF papers and other material. Her various historical interests initiated several collections such as the peace seals, stamps, and covers collection and the material pertaining to Benjamin West's painting "William Penn's Treaty With the Indians." Brinton traveled to Europe before and after World War II to secure valuable peace records. During her 1937 trip to Europe, Brinton correctly assessed the growing political turmoil, especially in Germany, where she spent time with peace activists. During this trip she also met Rosa Kulka, a member of the Czechoslovakian WILPF. Brinton's attempts to assist Kulka, her sister and two nieces escape Nazi-occupied Europe are documented in these papers. Brinton's interest in the history of the American peace movement, Quakerism, international relations, and archival theory led her to write many articles on these and other topics.

After her retirement, Ellen Starr Brinton was one of the founders of a venture to promote interracial understanding which became the Media, Pennsylvania, Fellowship House. She died on July 2, 1954.

Collection Overview
The Ellen Starr Brinton papers consist of personal correspondence (1935-1953), travel journals and address books, as well as notes, manuscripts and typescripts of articles and related correspondence and subject files (1895-1980). Part of her correspondence focuses on Cuban-American relations (1935-1937). Other correspondence includes letters to and from Rosa Kulka, who was Chairman of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (German Group) of the Czechoslovakian branch in Brunn from 1924 to 1938. Kulka and her family were Jewish pacifists who tried unsuccessfully to come to the United States to escape persecution in Czechoslovakia. The correspondence includes Brinton's attempts to locate Kulka and her family after the war.

Topics of Brinton's research include the Daughters of the American Revolution, Elihu Burritt, Benjamin West's painting "Penn's Peace Treaty With the Indians," the Universal Peace Union, and Mexican-American relations; there is a card file of notes for a proposed biography of Jane Addams. Her notes and manuscripts for articles and books, and the manuscript draft ("Dreamer of Dreams") of her unpublished work on the American peace movement are also located in this collection.

Correspondents include Emily Greene Balch, Heloise Brainerd, Benny Cederfeld, A. Ruth Fry, Rosa Kulka, Paul Vanorden Shaw, Phyllis M. Tiller, Herminio Portell Vila, Elizabeth A. Wheeler, and Lyra Trueblood Wolkins, who contributed reminiscences about her father, Benjamin Trueblood.

Items removed:

Arrangement of Collection
The Ellen Starr Brinton papers were received from Elizabeth Wheeler, her cousin, in 1954. The material was in good order, apparently having been arranged by Brinton herself. A preliminary checklist was written in 1959. In 1992, the collection was fully processed, and a new checklist was made. Biographical material about Ellen Brinton was brought together and transferred to the beginning of the collection. She had arranged her material about her published works by subject rather than by title of the work, since she occasionally wrote more than one article about a subject. A new grouping, called archival topics, was created to bring together her writings on that subject, which had been scattered throughout the collection. She had also arranged her unpublished work by research topic: her folder headings were retained. Notebooks, journals, and a card file were placed at the end of the collection. Three stamp albums were removed to a separate area, but later these were disassembled and the pages placed into a box in this collection of papers.
Box 1: Biographical information and correspondence
Box 2: Writings and research

Box 3: Writings and research (cont.)
Box 4: Stamps/Seals/Envelopes collected

Detailed Description of the Collection

Box 1
Biographical information, [1924]-1980
Subject correspondence [arranged alphabetically]
Cuba: correspondence with unidentified persons, 1933
Cuba: correspondence with H. Portell Vila and others, 1935
Cuba: correspondence with H. Portell Vila and others, 1936-1937
Czechoslovakia: correspondence with Kulka, Pollak, Siebenstein families, 1938-1947 [scanned letters]
Czechoslovakia: correspondence among ESB, Emily Greene Balch, and the Kulka, Pollak and Siebenstein families, 1939-1941
Denmark: correspondence with Benny Cederfeld, 1937-1947
England: correspondence with A. Ruth Fry, 1946-1947
England: correspondence with Phyllis Tiller, 1944-1947
European trip: correspondence, memoirs, 1948
European trip: documents, newsclippings, 1948
Midwestern USA trip: correspondence, miscellaneous, 1949
Midwestern USA trip: correspondence, miscellaneous, 1951
Soviet Union: correspondence, 1941-1943
Miscellaneous correspondence, 1930, 1952-1953, undated
Box 2
Published works by ESB [arranged alphabetically by subject]
Archival topics:
"Archives of Causes and Movements: Difficulties and Some Solutions as Illustrated by the Swarthmore College Peace Collection," [1951?]
"Inexpensive Devices to Aid the Archivist," [1950?]
"The Swarthmore College Peace Collection: A Memorial to Jane Addams," 1947
"Benjamin West's Painting: Penn's Treaty With the Indians"
"Benjamin West's Painting: Penn's Treaty With the Indians" -- offprint, and 5 postcard-size illustrations of the painting, 1941
"The Society of Friends"
"Are Friends Friendly?," 1953
"Books By and About the Rogerenes," 1945
Letter to the Editor, Friends Intelligencer, 1941
Letter to the Editor, Friends Intelligencer, 1954
"Old Meetings and New Neighbors," 1953
"The Rogerene Quakers," 1939
"The Rogerenes," 1943
"The Welsh Quaker Heritage [Montgomery County]," 1947
"The Yearly Meeting House of Mt. Pleasant, Ohio," 1952
"Meetinghouse at Mount Pleasant," 1952
Miscellaneous topics:
-- "La Accion Femenina en Pro de la Paz," 1934
--"Collecting Peace Covers [Stamps]," 1940
--"Historic Arguments Against the Army," 1947
-"-League of Nations Anti-War Force," [1930s?]
--"Mexico Today," 1935
--"The Munitions Industry and Pennsylvania," 1935
--"Record Vote Pennsylvania Legislature 1933" [printed chart prepared? by ESB for WILPF]: chart correspondence, [1933?], 1938
--"Wie en Krieg verhindert Wurde," [1954?] [article about the National Council for Prevention of War]
Unpublished works, research, and notes by Ellen Starr Brinton [arranged alphabetically by subject]:
-- "Archival Advice to Peace Organizations," 1946, 1947, 1952
--"Christians and Jews," [ca. 1953]
--"Daughters of the American Revolution" (An Unwritten History of the D.A.R., and The D.A.R. Comes of Age): typescripts, manuscripts, correspondence [1947]-1948
--Daughters of the American Revolution research, 1895-1938
--"Dreamers of Dreams" [history of the peace movement]: typescript, chapters I-V [1952?]
--"Dreamers of Dreams": typescript, chapters, I-V, with ESB's annotations, [1952?]
--"Dreamers of Dreams": notes and reference material, 1952
--"Dreamers of Dreams": notes and reference material, 1953-1954
--"Dreamers of Dreams": correspondence and readers' comments, 1952-1954
--"Dreamers of Dreams": correspondence with Lyra Trueblood Wolkins about her father, Benjamin Trueblood, 1953-1954

Box 3
Unpublished works by ESB (continued):
--"Elihu Burritt and Ocean Penny Postage": typescripts and notes, [1939?]
--"Friends and the Peace Movement": correspondence and notes, [1940s]
--"How Long Should a Peace Organization Live?": annotated typescript, [undated]
--"Ohio Research on M. Williams, Joel Wright, and T. Rotch": correspondence, notes, brochures, 1950-1951
--"Our Neighbor - Mexico": typescript, 1930
--"Treasures, Trifles, Trash!": typescript and correspondence, 1952-1953
--"Universal Peace Union and Independence Hall": typescript, notes, and correspondence, [1939]
Miscellaneous topics
Awards won for peace stamp collection: correspondence
Articles mentioning Ellen Starr Brinton
Notebooks, journals, card file
Two notebooks, [undated]
Chronology of Jane Addams' life, 3 x 5 cards on ring, [undated]
Trips and travels, 1937
Travel diary and address book, 1948
Reference letters from John Nason and Annalee Stewart for ESB's European trip, 1948
Transparencies of some ESB photographs

Re-File material

Box 4
Stamps / Seals / Envelopes: pages removed from three scrapbooks re: peace and international relations [see Triptych for scanned versions of all items]

This file was last updated on June 10, 2019