Swarthmore College Peace Collection

Peace Pilgrim Papers, 1908-1986

Collection: DG 104


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
Repository
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Creator
Peace Pilgrim
Title
Peace Pilgrim Papers
Inclusive Dates
1908-1986
Call Number
DG 104

Language of Materials
Materials in English
Extent
3.75 linear feet [papers only]
Abstract
Peace Pilgrim was born Mildred Lisette Norman in 1908. Between 1953 and
l964, she had walked 25,000 miles across the U.S. for peace. Peace Pilgrim eventually made seven pilgrimages, crossing North America. She was killed in an automobile accident on July 7, 1981, at the age of 71.

Administrative Information
Restrictions to Access
None
Usage Restrictions
None
Alternate Form of Material
None
Acquisitions Information
Gift of Peace Pilgrim, Eugene Maurey, Richard L. Polese, Elaine Sommers Rich, Ann Rush, George Dolnikowski, l976, l98l, l982, l983, 2001
Processing Information
Processed by These records were first processed under a grant from the Ford Foundation; Checklist prepared by Martha P. Shane (September 1986), with additions in 2001 and 2006, by Wendy E. Chmielewski; This finding aid was prepared by Chloe Lucchesi- Malone, August 2009
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Peace Pilgrim Papers (DG 104), 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
Accessions: 1976 [Acc. 76A-111],; [Acc. 76A-117]; 1981 [Acc. 81A-11], [Acc. 81A-042], [Acc. 81A-052], [Acc. 81A-078], [Acc.81A-085], [Acc. 81A-086], [Acc. 81A-087], [Acc. 81A-089], [Acc. 81A-l08], [Acc. 81A-l09], [Acc. 81A-110], [Acc.81A-123]; [Acc. 82A-002], [Acc. 82A-038], [Acc. 82A-046], [Acc. 82A-077], [Acc. 82A-136]; [Acc. 83A-075, [Acc. 83A-114], [Acc. 01A-050, [Acc. 06A-020]

Historical Background
Peace Pilgrim was born Mildred Lisette Norman on July 18, 1908, in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, the eldest of three children.

Little is known about her life before she left Pasadena, California, in January 1953 on her first peace pilgrimage, except that she had been married to Stanley Ryder, divorced, and a business woman. She took then what became her lifelong vow: "I am a pilgrim, a wanderer. I shall remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until I am given shelter and fasting until I am given food".

Wearing her characteristic navy blue slacks and shirt with a tunic saying "Peace Pilgrim" on the front and "25,000 Miles on Foot for Peace" on the back, she walked the highways of North America, accepting only food and shelter and speaking in churches or to groups whenever invited. Peace Pilgrim, as she was always called, declining to divulge her earlier name or life, talked about peace between nations, among groups, but, most important, inner peace.

Her peace message was to overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love. Her small pamphlet "Steps Toward Inner Peace" outlined her preparations for this peace, including simplification of life and purification of the body, bringing the inner and outer well-being into harmony.

By l964, she had walked 25,000 miles and she stopped keeping count and was willing to accept rides more often, using the time saved to speak to more people. She made seven pilgrimages, crossing the United States and Canada with shorter trips to Mexico as well. She was killed in an automobile accident on July 7, 1981, at the age of 71, in Knox, Indiana.

On the back of the book, Peace Pilgrim, Her Life and Work in Her Own Words, published after her death by friends, is the following description of Peace Pilgrim: "Penniless and homeless, and walking with no organizational backing whatsoever, Peace Pilgrim touched the lives and hearts of countless thousands of Americans. Some were charmed by her simple but cheerful presence; many others were profoundly inspired by her message and her lifestyle. She literally lived her beliefs."

Collection Overview
The bulk of Peace Pilgrim's papers are newsclippings (1953-1986) which describe her travels during her seven pilgrimages across the United States and Canada. Correspondence includes her brief letters to friends describing her travels, and an exchange of letters between her and a friend Eugene Maurey. Her writings include a pamphlet "Steps Toward Inner Peace" and her newsletter Peace Pilgrim's Progress (1953-c.1979) in which she discussed both her philosophy of peace and her journeys. There are also poems and songs by her. Her answers to 1224 questions provide insights into her beliefs and resolution of problems.

There are numerous church bulletins from services in which she participated. A book Peace Pilgrim, Her Life and Work in Her Own Words was published by friends after her death and is available in the SCPC library. There are also articles about her and memorial eulogies.

Two scrapbooks document Peace Pilgrim's fourth and fifth pilgrimages (1965-1968 and 1969-1972) with newsclippings, releases, programs, and correspondence. SCPC has a tunic worn by Peace Pilgrim as well as her walking shoes and other memorabilia. There are several cassettes, some from speeches by her and others made after her death, and many photographs.
Correspondents include Eugene Maurey and Richard L. Polese.

In 2006 Russian translations by George Dolnikowski, of some of Peace Pilgrim's writings were added to the collection.

Items removed:
Audio/Visual material
Scrapbooks

Photographs
Memorabilia -clothing-tunic, shoes, comb


Arrangement of Collection
All of the material in Peace Pilgrim's papers is in chronological order. Newspaper clippings, except for those in the two scrapbooks, have been either mounted or photocopied. Almost all programs, releases, and newsclippings during the years 1965 to 1972 are found in the two scrapbooks in Series IV. Series VIII contains the typed and handwritten Russian translations of Peace Pilgrim's writings by George Dolnikowski.




Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I. CORRESPONDENCE (1953-1982)
Box 1 (continued)
Correspondence
(1953-June 30, 1981 and undated)
After death of Peace Pilgrim (July 1981)
Between Peace Pilgrim and Eugene Maurey (1968-l981)

Series II. WRITINGS BY PEACE PILGRIM
Box 1 (continued)
Writings/songs/poems (1955-1980)
Pleas/petitions
Newsletter: Peace Pilgrim's Progress (1953-c.1979)
Answers by Peace Pilgrim to 1224 questions (no date)
 
Series III. PROGRAMS/ARTICLES/RELEASES
Box 2
Programs/articles/releases (1953-1979)
 
Box 3
1980-1981, undated
After Peace Pilgrim's death (July 1981): Funeral eulogies, etc.
Book: Peace Pilgrim, Her Life and Work in Her Own Words (1982)
Unity Tidbits, later called Virginia's Tidbits.(1967-1981)

Series IV. THREE SCRAPBOOKS
(1) 1965-1968; (2) 1969-1972; (3) Compiled by Eugene Young
(Newsclippings, releases, programs, and correspondence)

Box 3a
Peace Pilgrim Scrapbook compiled by Eugene Young (Acc. 01A-050)- Photocopy of original held by Peace Pilgrim's family. The scrapbook contains materials dating from 1908 to 1994
 
Series V. MEMORABILIA
(Tunic, shoes, etc.)
See Memorabilia Collection
 
Series VI. AUDIO/VISUAL MATERIAL
(Cassettes and photographs)
See Audiovisual Collection

Series VII. NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS
Box 4
1953-1955
 
Box 5
1956-1958
 
Box 6
1959-1975
 
Box 7
1976-1977
 
Box 8
1978-1979
Box 9
1980-date; undated

Series VIII. TRANSLATIONS OF PEACE PILGRIM'S WRITINGS BY GEORGE DOLNIKOWSKI
Box 9 (continued)

Removal Sheet This I Remember, by George Dolnikowski, removed to Book Collection
"Steps Towards Inner Peace" Russian translation
Peace Pilgrim : her life and work in her own words, typed manuscript in Russian, dated February 22, 1990
Peace Pilgrim : her life and work in her own words, "1st installment" handwritten in Russian, no date
Peace Pilgrim : her life and work in her own words, "2nd installment" handwritten in Russian, April 14, 1989
Peace Pilgrim : her life and work in her own words, "3rd installment" handwritten in Russian, May 15, 1989
Peace Pilgrim : her life and work in her own words, "4th installment" handwritten in Russian, November 1, 1989
Peace Pilgrim : her life and work in her own words, "5th installment" handwritten in Russian, November 27, 1989
Peace Pilgrim : her life and work in her own words, "6th installment" handwritten in Russian, January 16, 1990
Peace Pilgrim : her life and work in her own words, "7th installment" handwritten in Russian, January 24, 1990
Peace Pilgrim : her life and work in her own words, "8th installment" handwritten in Russian, March 6, 1990



This file was last updated on August 25, 2009.