Summary: The FOR is
Statement of Purpose; Challenges
In War and Peacetime
Post-war; other International Work
Influence of FOR
Defeat of Universal Military Training
Other Organizations & Groups
National & International Offices
The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) is an interfaith peace organization whose members "recognize the essential unity of all creation" and who commit themselves "to explore the power of love and truth for resolving human conflict." From its beginning the FOR has opposed war and has worked for a just and peaceful society. Nonviolence is accepted as both a transforming way of life and strategy for social change. Though founded by Christian pacifists, the FOR now affirms the diversity of religious traditions and seeks to achieve its goals by the united efforts of people of many faiths. Members join by signing a statement agreeing with the principles of the Fellowship and their intention of working to carry them out.
The FOR had its origin in England a few months after the outbreak
of the first World War. A group of 130 Christian pacifists met at
Cambridge University in the last days of December 1914 to express
their repudiation of the war system and their determination to work
for a new social order based on Christian teachings. A core group
chose the name Fellowship of Reconciliation for its biblical
significance. In the fall of 1915 Henry T. Hodgkin, an English
Quaker and a leading founder, came to the United States and spoke
widely around the country, sharing the message about the spiritual
crisis and the war. Finding a receptive public, he invited about a
hundred interested persons to a conference at Garden City, Long
Island on November 11-12, 1915. The result was the decision by a
vote of 68 attendees to form an American Fellowship. A month later
there were 300 members, and by 1920 the number reached 1800. Local
groups were formed across the country.
The first officers were chairman Gilbert A. Beaver, secretary Edward W. Evans and treasurer Charles J. Rhoads. Norman Thomas served as co-secretary with Evans from 1917-1919. Bishop Paul Jones was secretary 1919-1929, and John Nevin Sayre became co-secretary in 1924. Additional leaders during the World War and post-war period included the following, some as council members:
Roger N. Baldwin
Harold A. Hatch
John Haynes Holmes
Jessie Wallace Hughan
Frederick J. Libby
Ethel P. Moors
Oswald Garrison Villard
The Fellowship of Youth for Peace was formed in 1924, and four
years later it became the Youth Section of the FOR. National
conferences of FOR members were held annually 1916-1941, and less
regularly thereafter. The World Tomorrow, a Christian
socialist journal, was published 1918-1934 as an unofficial organ of
the FOR. Editors included Norman Thomas, Devere Allen, John Nevin
Sayre, Anna Rochester, Reinhold Niebuhr and Kirby Page.
Since the formative period of the FOR the Statement of Purpose has
expressed its fundamental principles, and also has served as a basis
for its membership, program, and activities. The wording of the
early versions was explicit about the Christian nature of the
Fellowship, in accordance with the original English statement.
Before long some members thought that all pacifists should be
welcomed, and that the "Christian label" was unnecessary and
divisive. In order to reconcile divergent views, a questionnaire was
sent to the members in 1930. The result was a new version of the
Statement of Purpose which recognized other sources of religious
guidance, in addition to the teachings of Jesus. By the end of the
1950s, new ways of thinking in the post World War I era pointed to
the need for another revision, and one was adopted in 1965. It
states that "the Fellowship seeks the company of those of whatever
faith who wish to confront human differences with nonviolent,
compassionate and reconciling love." Since 1965 there have been only
occasional minor changes to update the wording.
Some issues of an ideological nature have challenged the principles of the FOR. In 1933 the council and national staff were divided over the use of force in industrial struggle. The matter was finally resolved by a referendum to the members. 90% of the responses affirmed the use of nonviolence on all fronts, not just the international. A number of resignations followed and some members withdrew, but a larger number of new members joined. Reorganization took place in the council and staff, and the course for the future was settled.
In 1940 a less crucial matter arose from the efforts of US communists to form a united front in opposing entrance into the war in Europe. Confusion among FOR members led to a policy statement by the FOR executive committee which said that it was impossible to work with communists and their sympathizers because they rejected pacifism in principle. The statement also affirmed the right of such persons to civil liberties. This policy has remained unchanged and upheld.
A major challenge concerning the very nature of the Fellowship of Reconciliation arose in the early 1960s. In January 1963 the Internal Revenue Service revoked the long standing tax-exempt status of the FOR as a religious institution. A five-year investigation of its program and activities of some members led to the conclusion that it was an "action" organization &endash; not a religious one. After 18 months of negotiations an understanding was reached which resulted in restoration of the tax exemption in June 1964. This case was crucial since it raised questions about the pursuit of peace as a legitimate commitment to ultimate values.
The Fellowship has been fortunate in its choice of leaders, both in terms of their qualifications and the length of their service. Four executive secretaries
have held their positions for more than ten years: Paul Jones,
John Nevin Sayre, A.J. Muste and Alfred Hassler. (See the
list of Executive Secretaries/ Directors at the end of this
Historical Introduction.) The most prominent, and also the one who
had the greatest influence on the peace movement, was A.J. Muste. He
came to the helm of the FOR in August 1940, a time of crisis in the
first year of World War II. Muste was uniquely qualified by his
religious heritage, experience in the labor movement, and
experimentation with Marxism. In 1936 he returned to Christian
pacifism and the FOR with a strong commitment. After retiring in
1953, Muste remained closely connected to the FOR as Secretary
Emeritus. He was a prime example of one who actively practiced what
Other executive secretaries also left their distinctive marks on the FOR. John Nevin Sayre served faithfully and continuously in various capacities from 1924 to 1967, especially in the international field. Alfred Hassler's leadership, including publications work, extended from 1942 to 1974 and included the critical years of the Vietnam war.
Much of the agenda of the FOR has been determined by the wars
which have dominated the 20th century. It is natural that the
principal focus has been on the prevention of war, supporting
disarmament and arms control, opposing conscription and the
militarization of society. In wartime the FOR has worked extensively
with conscientious objectors by providing counseling, help for
dependents, special attention to men in prison or alternative
civilian service, and help with legal assistance. War victims have
been a special concern: the internment of Japanese Americans in 1942,
the uprooting and treatment of European Jews, and the saturation
bombing of German civilians by the Allied powers.
Intervals between wars have afforded opportunities for working on social problems in an effort to reduce the causes of conflict. These have been some of the issues: labor disputes, working conditions, economic and racial inequities, prisoners, capital punishment, militarism, and violence in society. Several of the many special projects should be mentioned. Two "Food for China" campaigns followed periods of famine in the early 1950s and 1960s. One featured the sending of little bags of grain to the White House to support the proposal for sending surplus food to China. An unexpected result was the President's decision not to bomb China when so many Americans cared about the Chinese. Another creative FOR response was the "Shelters for the Shelterless" project in 1961 when the government's civil defense program was promoting fallouts shelters. Similar creativity was used during the 1990 Gulf War when symbolic oil barrels with the message "No Blood for Oil" were mailed to Washington.
Barely 20 years after the bombing of Hiroshima, the peace
organizations were propelled onto the world stage by the war in
Vietnam. The FOR and four other groups sponsored the first
national protest in December 1964. The next year, as the anti-war
movement grew, the demonstrations expanded rapidly in number and
size, especially in Washington. FOR's young staff members were
leaders in planning and carrying out mass disciplined mobilizations.
They also conducted extensive draft resistance and counseling.
As the protests grew in 1965, so did the appeals for changes in US policy. Anti-war organizations believed that the public was not adequately informed about military action in Southeast Asia. The FOR developed some of its own channels of communication. One was the use of full-page ads in the New York Times and other papers which included coupons for feedback. The first one presented a message from the Clergymen's Emergency Committee which was formed by the FOR. An important source of information about Vietnam proved to be investigative teams sent by the FOR. The first group was from the clergy committee who reached a large audience with their spoken and written reports. Their two-page statement in a New York Times ad was endorsed by 10,000 religious leaders in 40 countries. The text was reprinted in various languages and countries. Out of this effort came the FOR-sponsored International Committee of Conscience on Vietnam. By the end of the war there were 19 active national groups protesting the war and providing humanitarian aid. In the next five years the FOR sponsored three more fact-finding missions to South Vietnam. One of them broke the story of the infamous "tiger cages" for political prisoners.
Another outcome of the missions was the communication established by the FOR with the Buddhist pacifist resistance movement, sometimes called the "third force". Some of their leaders, notably the monk Thich Nhat Hanh who joined the FOR, came to the US on speaking tours. Further attempts to inform the public were made through the books by Nhat Hanh and Alfred Hassler (executive secretary of FOR, 1960-1974) which the FOR sponsored.
The prolongation of the war resulted in conflict in the anti-war movement between the pacifists and the proponents of liberation, which was reminiscent of the dispute over the use of violence in the class struggle in the early 1930s. Again the issue had an impact on the FOR council and national staff. Even after the fighting in Vietnam ended there was a painful period for US pacifists, revolving around human rights issues and the way they were handled by the post-war government of Vietnam.
Even before the fighting in Vietnam ended, the FOR launched a trans-national peace effort which linked war and the environment to poverty and other social problems. The program, called Dai Dong, promoted contact between the peace movement and thousands of scientists and economists around the world. In 1972 the United Nations held its first Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, and Dai Dong held an Independent Conference on the Environment as an alternative forum.
When the UN convened Special Conferences on Disarmament in New York in 1978 and 1982, the FOR had an alternative forum on a smaller scale called Plowshare Coffee House. The same format was used in 1979 at MIT when the World Council of Churches had a conference on "Faith, Science and the Future".
After the Vietnam war, nuclear disarmament became the major focus of most peace organizations. Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and other critical events, a new stage of the arms race was feared. FOR took the lead in calling a meeting of some 30 pacifist leaders in February 1980 to reflect, share thoughts, and search for new alternatives to national security. This was the first step toward the Nuclear FREEZE Campaign which, within two years, became the largest grass-roots movement in US history. Support for the disarmament in the religious community was promoted by FOR's Covenant Peacemaking Program. A specific disarmament project of FOR and American Friends Service Committee was their eight-year campaign to close down the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in Colorado. It exposed severe damage from radiation, and led to Citizens' Hearings in Washington.
Concurrent with the protests, marches and demonstrations of the disarmament movement in the eighties there were positive and creative actions which were attempting to turn the tide of the cold war. The FOR launched a major program of US-USSR Reconciliation which included a variety of people-to-people projects intended to humanize the "enemy" image of Soviet-American relations. These efforts contributed to the changes which took place at the end of the decade. The FOR had made contacts in Eastern Europe in the 1960s through clergy members of the Christian Peace Conference in Prague which fostered East-West relations during the cold war.
The FOR had been engaged in reconciliation work in other parts of the world from its early years. The longest relationship was that with Latin America, going back to 1929-1932 when FOR had a full-time staff worker in Central America. Intensive work was done in South America in the 1960s with help from IFOR personnel. Fighting in Central America in the early eighties, stemming from Washington's fears of communism, led to FOR's investigation and the decision to form a Task Force on Latin America and the Caribbean in 1983. Panama became an area of special concern with the US invasion in 1989.
In the Middle East there have been continuous efforts to build peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Since the beginning of the Persian Gulf War, a major concern of the FOR has been the suffering of the Iraqi people. Humanitarian aid and reconciliation efforts have continued. In the Balkans the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991 led to the Bosnian Student Project, bringing young people into homes and schools in the US in order to continue their education.
Although the Fellowship of Reconciliation has never been a large
organization in terms of numbers, it has had a significant influence
on the peace movement in the US, especially in the pacifist wing, and
in some cases on the society in general. From the earliest years a
major focus has been on the human rights of conscientious
objectors who were very harshly handled in the first World War.
Direct intercession with President Wilson in 1918 brought about
changes at a federal prison. The following years led to legal
recognition of all religious objectors by 1940, and plans for
alternative civilian service. FOR staff devoted much effort to
counseling and helping COs and their families. At the end of World
War II there was a major effort by the US Army and veterans
organizations to impose Universal Military Training on all
young men. FOR leaders formed a coalition called National Council
Against Conscription which conducted an 8-year campaign (1944-1952)
and defeated the plan.
The FOR was a significant channel for the transmission of Gandhian principles and the practice of nonviolence to the USA, particularly for the civil rights movement under Martin Luther King's leadership. From the 1920s on a good number of FOR members had direct contact with Gandhi and his ashrams in India. Books by two of his disciples were published in the 1930s and widely used in the FOR: The Power of Nonviolence by the American Quaker Richard Gregg and War Without Violence by Krishnalal Shridharani, an Indian graduate student. The combination of the publications and personal experiences became helpful for the training of leaders in the practice of nonviolence for three decades.
Also in the 1920s racial justice and harmony in the South became a special concern of the FOR. Fulltime regional secretaries worked there from 1929-1946, providing leadership for integrated grassroots work. In the 1940s two young African American men on the national FOR staff worked throughout the country with youth and race relations institutes. In 1942 the combination of Gandhian nonviolence and interracial direct action resulted in the formation of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). It was intimately related to the FOR, sharing staff and office space until 1957. Jointly sponsored workshops and institutes led to the struggle for the integration of public facilities in Washington, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver and other cities. The Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 led to very close collaboration between the FOR and Martin Luther King. His rise to prominence facilitated the acceptance of FOR's commitment to nonviolence on the part of Black ministers. Out of this relationship came the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957. Ongoing training in the philosophy and practice of nonviolence by the national FOR staff still continues in countries around the world.
Fellowship publications have been effective in spreading the peace message both within and beyond the membership. The World Tomorrow was published 1918-1934 as a Christian socialist journal, but not as an official FOR organ. Its editors and contributors were nationally known, and it was widely circulated. It was followed by Fellowship which has continued without interruption since 1935. Indexing and abstracting in eight periodical services in the 1990s extends its usefulness beyond the membership. In earlier decades the publications program included short books, pamphlets and leaflets, often used as study resources. The greetings card program, started in the 1940s, adds another dimension to the public outreach.
The interfaith nature of the Fellowship of Reconciliation is a distinctive contribution to the peace movement. Although it was founded by Christians, over the years its adherents have broadened their concept of the spiritual sources of love and truth. The membership now embraces people of many faiths, and there are affiliated groups which include the Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim Fellowships as well as Christian denominational ones. These people with a common bond and a resolve to work together nonviolently for a better world are in a unique position to serve today's diverse society.
Other organizations and groups which FOR helped to launch or
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 1916
American Committee on Africa, 1953
Brookwood Labor College, 1918
Church Peace Mission, 1950
Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNVA), 1957
Committee on Militarism in Education, 1925
Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), 1943
National Conference of Christians and Jews, 1923
National Council Against Conscription (NCAC), 1944
Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign (FREEZE movement), 1980
Servicio Paz y Justicia en América Latina (SERPAJ), 1971
Society for Social Responsibility in Science, 1949
Southern Christian Leadership Conference, 1957
War Resisters League, 1923
Workers Defense League, 1937
National & International FOR Offices
The national office of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR-USA) was located successively at seven addresses in New York City from 1916 to 1957, when it was moved to Nyack, NY on the Hudson River. The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for the records of the FOR-USA. The organization is affiliated with the International FOR (IFOR) which was founded in 1922. It now includes some 40 national Fellowships on all continents. The IFOR secretariat has been located in Alkmaar, Netherlands since 1977. The archives are in Berlin with the Central Archives of the Evangelical Church of Germany.
The SCPC was named the official depository of the records of the
FOR by a vote of the Executive Committee in June 1947. The initial
step had been made in 1937 by the curator, Ellen Starr Brinton, who
contacted John Nevin Sayre. He sent the first deposit of 160 items
in 1946, and he continued to be the main liaison for the next twenty
years. Minutes and related papers, followed by large quantities of
pamphlets and miscellaneous materials, were received in
The correspondence of A.J. Muste for 1940-1947 represented the first staff files to be added to the holdings. They were received in 1954, following his retirement as executive secretary. This significant acquisition amounted to almost half of the collection at that time which was then organized in 34 document boxes, as shown in the Checklist of 1955. Three additional boxes of International FOR records appear on a later list.
In 1966 Sayre turned over to the SCPC the following materials: documents about the founding conference of the FOR in 1915, the first membership lists and some early correspondence. These had been in his care until after the publication of Vera Brittain's history of the FOR.
The largest acquisition of FOR records occurred in the summer of 1975. It comprised an accumulation of nearly forty years, and amounted to about 100 cartons. They encompassed the wide range of programs from the 1930s to the end of the Vietnam war, policy issues, and administrative records. Additional related materials continued to arrive in 1976 to 1978. A significant component of these accessions in the 1970s was the files of John Nevin Sayre. Because of their extent and unity, it was decided that they should be a separate document group, DG 117, the John Nevin Sayre Papers.
In the 1980s deliveries came by car from the national office about every two years, as opportunities arose. These consisted mainly of files of program staff members. In the 1990s several executives sent some non-current files. Other materials came from local groups. A large accession in 1998 included some combined files of administrative assistants, and also staff correspondence related to publications and program work.
From time to time single acquisitions have been received from sources other than the national office. They include items like the following:
-Scrapbook of Charles A. Thomson, FOR Latin America Secretary, 1927-1932 (about work in Central America)
-Correspondence of Gilbert Beaver with Henry Hodgkin, Richard Roberts, et al., 1917-1932. It was given to Richard Deats by Jean Beaver during his visit with her in 1986.
-Letters from European families in ten countries who received gift parcels from Boston FOR members after World War II.
-Copies of papers from the FBI files of Joe Felmet, an FOR activist in Winston Salem, NC
-Copies of some correspondence and writings of Harold E. Fey, FOR executive secretary, 1935-1940, sent by a friend of his
-Some Bayard Rustin material (miscellaneous papers related to race relations and nonviolence) sent by Walter Naegle.
Some gaps in the files should be noted. Perhaps the officers and staff in the early years were unaware of the importance of keeping records for historical purposes. Possibly some things were lost or left behind when the office was moved from place to place in New York City and, finally, to Nyack in 1957. The curator of the SCPC wrote to Sayre in November 1957 about the absence of any FOR correspondence prior to 1940. The inquiries he made proved fruitless. He still had his own files pre-dating 1940, but they were not the main executive records. To this day there is a conspicuous gap in the correspondence of A.J. Muste. The SCPC accession records show that in 1954, following his retirement as executive secretary, "his entire correspondence for 1940-1947 was added to the FOR holdings". There is no mention of his 1948-1953 correspondence, nor has any explanation been found. Another puzzling situation is the paucity of materials from Bayard Rustin who was on the national staff 1941-1952. The ten folders of his correspondence have been augmented by miscellaneous materials collected from other sources.
The John Nevin Sayre Papers (DG 117) serve as an important complementary collection. Sayre's tenure on the national staff extended from 1921 to 1967. He was methodical and frugal by nature, and he seemingly saved everything. Except for the sparcity in the early years of the FOR, his files are continuous, and they help to bridge some of the gaps in the organization's files. Also his experience in the international field gives an additional dimension to the FOR records.
The SCPC receives regularly the essential records of minutes and reports of the FOR National Council and Executive Committee. Releases, general mailings and occasional publications are usually sent from the national office. The transfer of inactive files of staff members continues, but irregularly.
The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository
for the records of the Fellowship of Reconciliation in the USA
(FOR-USA). The records begin with the founding conference in
November 1915 and continue to the present. The earliest historical
records include minutes of the conference, correspondence of the
first officers and leaders, membership lists, leaflets stating the
principles of the organization, and circular letters.
The basic administrative records are the minutes and reports of the National Council and Executive Committee (1916-date). By-laws were adopted in 1964. Committee work (administrative and program) is represented by minutes and releases, mainly from the 1940s-1950s. There are minutes of the executive staff meetings, and also staff memoranda, for the years 1946-1980. National and regional conferences have been held since 1916. Programs and other materials provide information about these and other similar gatherings. Anniversaries and other special events, celebrated from 1954 to 1990, are represented by invitations, correspondence and programs.
Files of the executive secretaries/directors constitute an important category of both the administrative and program records. They consist mainly of correspondence, with other items intermingled. The principal files are those of Edward W. Evans (1916-1919), A.J. Muste (1940-1947), John M. Swomley (1953-1960), Alfred Hassler (1960-1974), Barton Hunter (1974-1979), Richard Deats (1979-1984), Doug Hostetter (1987-1993), Jo Becker (1993-1997).
Correspondence is found throughout much of the collection, especially in the program files. Examples of subject areas in which correspondence and other written materials are found include:
Interfaith work (1962-1966) Eastern church leaders like Hromadka, et al.
Vietnamese Buddhist leaders, notably Thich Nhat Hanh
Study teams to South Vietnam: articles, reports, etc.
COs during Vietnam war: personal statements of philosophy (1967-1968)
Charges of subversion & communism against FOR, mainly in 1950s-1970s
Significant correspondents include James Armstrong, Anne Bennett, Daniel Berrigan, Ethelwyn Best, James E. Bristol, Emilio Castro, Edwin T. Dahlberg, David Dellinger, James & Shelley Douglass, Robert F. Drinan, Dan R. Ebener, W.H. Ferry, Caleb Foote, Harrop Freeman, Larry Gara, Richard B. Gregg, Martin Luther King, James M. Lawson, Sidney Lens, Dorothy Maas, David McReynolds, Nhat Hanh, Adolfo Pérez-Esquivel, Robert Pickus, Wilson Riles, Michael A. Robinson, Constance Rumbough, Bayard Rustin, Howard Schomer, Michael Scott, Evan Thomas, Willard Uphaus, Charles C. Walker, Arthur J. Waskow, Herman Will, Gordon C. Zahn, Carl Zietlow.
National FOR periodicals are shelved with the Periodical Collection of the SCPC. Included are The News Letter (1916-1934), Fellowship (1935-date) and newsletters, some of which are from regional and local groups. The journal The World Tomorrow (1918-1934) was published by Fellowship Press, but it was not an official organ of FOR. Additional newsletters and occasional publications are located in the FOR records.
The collection also includes many pamphlets, leaflets and brochures which the FOR published as part of its literature production, mainly during the 1920s-1950s. The Martin Luther King comic book (1957) in English & Spanish editions, was used in the civil rights movement. Greeting cards have been an annual feature since 1945.
Releases/circular letters to members and the public have been issued continuously since 1915; likewise news releases. Also included in the collection are statements on public issues adopted by the FOR National Council (1925-1979), newspaper advertisements (1960-1976) and scattered press clippings.
The collection also includes posters, resource kits, reference materials, buttons, scrapbooks, and audio-visual resources. Photographs (11 boxes grouped by persons and subjects) are located in the SCPC Photograph Collection.
When the collection was initially processed in 1955 it consisted of the following groups:
Early historical material (founding conference, membership lists, correspondence, etc.)
Conferences and retreats, 1940s
Correspondence, 1944-1947 (of A.J. Muste, but not so identified on the list)
Releases & Press releases
Literature; miscellaneous periodicals
These core materials occupied 28 numbered document boxes (12 linear feet).
Subsequently an additional category from regional FOR groups (newsletters and miscellany) increased the collection to 34 boxes. Later a collected group of materials of the International FOR (mainly from John Nevin Sayre) was added in three boxes, and placed at the front of the 34 boxes.
The arrangement was simple and probably adequate for the materials on hand, but there was no provision for expansion or adding ongoing materials like minutes, releases and publications.
The major accessions of 1975 on through the 1990s made it necessary to devise a new scheme. A solution was suggested by the way the document boxes stood on the shelves, and also the use of the term American Section for the main part of the collection. This three-part plan evolved:
Section I. International FOR
Section II. Fellowship of Reconciliation-USA (FOR-USA)
Section III. Regional and Local Groups of FOR-USA
Section I. International FOR &endash; left unchanged.
Section II. FOR-USA - divided into ten Series, A to J.
Series A was designated for the existing 28 boxes of FOR-USA files, prior to the accessions of 1975. The original groups were made Subseries A-1 to A-5, and the sequence was retained. More boxes were added as needed, especially for Minutes.
Series B to J were added, as follows, to provide a framework for the new accessions:
Administration and general
Executive Directors (in chronological order)
Program staff members, A-Z
Program areas & special projects, A-Z
Coalitions & conferences
Vietnam war & post-war period
Dai Dong (transnational peace effort related to environment)
International FOR (IFOR) 1960-1980s
Miscellaneous program areas & staff, 1975-
Some of the materials in Section II were easily combined as
Administrative and General in Series B. Others were grouped as
Coalitions and Conferences in Series F. Series I brings together
under the rubric of the IFOR a considerable amount of materials which
had been scattered in the files of individual staff members.
Series C was made for the files of the Executive Secretaries (organized in chronological order). Exceptions are noted in the Arrangement for the series. The most extensive files are those of Alfred Hassler who was Co-Secretary and then Secretary from 1958-1974. He joined the FOR staff in 1942 as director of publications and editor of Fellowship. His 30 years of files, mainly correspondence, were received in good condition. They have been kept together as a unit, along with his personal files and those of the literature department. The only significant portion transferred elsewhere were the IFOR files, in order to combine them with other international materials of a 30-year period. Hassler's close relation with the IFOR began in 1960, and he was part-time secretary in 1970-1974.
The large majority of materials in Section II is related to the FOR programs &endash; the issues involved, the positions taken, and the actions/responses made. It was decided to have two categories of program files. One is for program staff members (Series D) in cases where individuals were strongly identified with particular fields and the unity of their files deserved to be maintained. The other is for major program areas, often of long-term duration (Series E). The prime example is the race relations work which began in the late 1920s. In this case, and others, numerous staff persons have been involved and there is a distinct advantage in having their subject materials combined. That is true also of major programs related to the Vietnam War and the transnational peace effort called "Dai Dong". Various special programs are also included here. In addition several work areas, like the affiliated peace fellowships and youth work under short-term directors, fit readily into combined staff files, where the focus is more on the program than individual staff members.
Section III. Regional & Local Groups &endash; expanded into three parts.
Series A contains the regional newsletters and miscellany, originally in Boxes 29-33.
Series B has later materials from local FOR groups, 1970-1990s.
Series C has records of individual urban branches. Those from Philadelphia, the most extensive, are explained as follows.
Philadelphia FOR records were appended to the national FOR collection of 34 boxes in 1971. Two groups of materials for 1943-1956 and 1944-1947 were processed and listed, but not logically organized. Another group for 1942-1944 had turned up in 1966 in an office in Philadelphia which had been shared by FOR and WILPF. These three groups in the SCPC were confusing and wasteful of space. In the reprocessing they were integrated as logically as possible. The Philadelphia records were then grouped with those of Boston, New York and Princeton to form Series C, Urban Branches of the FOR-USA.
Section IV was added provisionally in 1998 to allow space for unprocessed materials, some newly received, so that they could be placed close to the processed FOR records, and also noted tentatively on the Checklist. See the list which follows Section III.
Records received from the FOR after 1999 are unprocessed. Temporary finding aids for these accessions are listed at FOR Later Accessions.
This file last updated on April 17, 2008.