Swarthmore College Peace Collection



Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon Papers, 1835, 1850, 1909-1973

Collection: DG 089


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
Mygatt, Tracy D. (1885-1973); Witherspoon, Frances (1886-1973)
Title
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon Papers
Inclusive Dates
1835, 1850, 1909-1973
Call Number
DG 089

Language of Materials
Materials in English
Extent
3.125 linear feet [papers only]
Abstract
Tracy Dickinson Mygatt (1885-1973) and Frances May Witherspoon (1886-1973) were prolific writers and absolute pacifists who worked together in movements for women's rights, world peace, civil liberties, and civil rights. Both women authored plays, articles, poems, sermons, and stories, individually and in collaboration. They were founders of the War Resisters League and later served as honorary chairs. Frances Witherspoon was a co-founder and Executive Secretary of the New York Bureau of Legal Advice. Tracy Mygatt was very active with the Campaign for World Government from 1941 to 1973.

Administrative Information
Restrictions to Access
None
Usage Restrictions
None
Alternate Form of Material
None
Acquisitions Information
Gift of
the estates of Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon, through Abraham Kaufman, and from Lucy P. Carner, 1973, 1974, 1977; includes several later articles about the women featured in this collection
Processing Information
Processed by ??, under NEH Grant No. RC-27706-77-739; reprocessed by Anne Yoder, April 2007; updated by Wendy E. Chmielewski
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon Papers (DG 089), 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
Allen, Devere Papers (DG 053)
Emergency Peace Campaign (U.S.) Records
(DG 012)
Episcopal Peace Fellowship Records (DG 118)
McReynolds, David (DG 134)
Muste, Abraham John Papers (DG 050)
New York Bureau of Legal Advice Collected Records

Peace Action Center Records (DG 093)
Scott, Lawrence Papers (DG 090)
War Resisters League Records (DG 040)
Women's Committee to Oppose Conscription Records (DG 068)
Women's Peace Union, U.S. Branch Records (DG 044)

Historical Background
Tracy D. Mygatt (1885-1973) and Frances Witherspoon (1886-1973) both graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1908, then lived and worked together for more than 60 years in the cause of world peace. Soon after graduation they became involved in the struggle for women's suffrage and served as the first organizers of the Women's Suffrage Party in eastern Pennsylvania. In 1913, they moved to New York City where they joined the Socialist Party. Both engaged in providing food and shelter in churches for the unemployed (called "church raids"). They were members of the Woman's Peace Party; Witherspoon was employed for a brief period as Assistant Secretary of the WPP office in New York, and both women served as editors of its newsletter, Four Lights.

Mygatt organized the Anti-Enlistment League in 1915, together with Jessie Wallace Hughan and John Haynes Holmes, in an effort to gain signatures of young men whose opposition to all war, offensive and defensive, was unconditional. Both Mygatt and Witherspoon served on the committee of the Emergency Peace Federation, and took part in demonstrations planned by the American Committee Against Militarism. In 1917, at the invitation of the Woman's Peace Party, they both lobbied in Washington (D.C.) against U.S. entry into World War I. That same year Witherspoon became a co-founder and Executive Secretary of the New York Bureau of Legal Advice, which provided the first organized help for conscientious objectors in the country.

Between the world wars, Mygatt and Witherspoon worked with the Women's Peace Union and supported the Frazier amendment to the constitution which would have made war legally impossible. Both also helped to found the War Resisters League in 1923. They were awarded the WRL Peace Award in 1961 and served as honorary chairs of the organization until their deaths. They were also early members of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and charter members of the Episcopal Pacifist Fellowship.

Both women were prolific writers. They wrote plays, articles, and books, independently and as collaborators. A number of Mygatt's plays (frequently on anti-war themes) were published and produced by small theater groups. They co-authored The Glorious Company, which was published in 1928 and received considerable acclaim. They also co-authored a book on first century Christendom, Armor of Light, which was under contract for nearly a year but was never produced. In 1934, Mygatt wrote Julia Newberry's Sketch Book, a Victorian biography about Julia Newberry (of Chicago) and Mygatt's mother, who were first cousins and childhood companions.

Tracy Mygatt worked for the Campaign for World Government for over 30 years, starting in 1941. She was the Campaign's delegate among non-governmental organizations to the United Nations until 1968. After moving in 1969 to Stapely Hall, a retirement home in Philadelphia (PA), she continued to serve as part-time East Coast Secretary of the Campaign.

In 1968, when she was past 80 years of age, Frances Witherspoon appealed to fellow Bryn Mawr College alumnae to oppose the war in Vietnam. Through her efforts, and with the aid of Mygatt and Lucy P. Carner, over 1,000 alumnae signed advertisements, published in the New York Times, calling for an end to the war.

Over the years Mygatt and Witherspoon both wrote numerous letters to members of Congress and other government officials, and many letters to the editor, about world government, civil rights, disarmament, and the other causes to which they devoted their lives.

Tracy Mygatt, increasingly helpless and nearly blind, died on Nov. 22, 1973, at the age of 88. Frances Witherspoon, gravely ill at the time, died shortly after on Dec. 16, 1973, at the age of 87.

Collection Overview
Considering their long history of peace work and their 70+ years of companionship, this collection seems quite small. Most of it consists of their writings, especially draft copies of their plays. Edith Wynner wrote to Frances Witherspoon on Nov. 7, 1973: "Georgia Lloyd told me something of your problem with accumulated papers and what to do with them" and urged that everything be donated to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Lucy P. Carner, who as a dear friend of Mygatt and Witherspoon was responsible for clearing out their personal material after their deaths in Nov. and Dec. 1973, wrote to Wynner: "...I have before me your letter of November 7th about sending peace material to Swarthmore, and I want to assure you that it is now ready to be carried there shortly after the first of the year. We have followed your advice and left the sorting to Swarthmore. One batch of material had already gone to Swarthmore before we realized the bulk of their hoardings. The rest will be carried when the roads permit, by an obliging cousin of mine who will take them to Swarthmore." Much of the correspondence preserved relates to the publication and performance of Mygatt's and Witherspoon's plays (see both correspondence files and writings files). However, it is possible to find more correspondence, and other information related to their many involvements, in other archival collections in the SCPC (see Related Collections listed above).

A scrapbook, which was assembled in 1912 on by Mygatt and Witherspoon, was photocopied and pages put in their correct biographical or writings folder.
Photos (personal, group, Margaret and Priscilla Casanova, unidentified) were removed to the Photograph Collection. The book The Glorious Company may be found in the Book Collection. A folder related to Lucy P. Carner's correspondence re: Mygatt's and Witherspoon's deaths was removed to Carner's own archival collection (CDGA: Carner, Lucy P.). A copy of Mygatt's published play "Watchfires" is available in the Subject File: Literature re: Peace -- scripts for plays/dramatic readings/pageants, 1917. Original drawings (ca. 1876-1915) by Julia Newberry were removed to the Subject File: Art in War and Peace.

Arrangement of Collection
These papers are arranged in the following order: Series A: Biographical Material (Mygatt, Witherspoon, joint material), which includes family papers; Series B: Correspondence (Mygatt, Witherspoon, joint material); Series C: Involvements (Mygatt, Witherspoon, joint material); Series D: Writings (Mygatt, Witherspoon, joint material); Series E: Reference Material.






Detailed Description of the Collection

SERIES A: BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL
Box 1
Tracy D. Mygatt: personal information
Tracy D. Mygatt: obituaries/memorials
Frances Witherspoon: personal information; obituaries/memorials
Frances Witherspoon: article by Frances H. Early "Feminist-Socialist-Pacifist Consciousness and the Great War: Reflections on the Thought and Work of Frances Witherspoon," 1989 [acc. ??]
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: joint personal information
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: joint personal information -- oral history done by Columbia University (correspondence and transcript)
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: joint personal information -- financial and legal records
Mygatt family material, 1835-1963
Mygatt family material: diaries of Minnie H. Clapp (mother of TDM), 1879-1880; 1884-1900
Mygatt family material: paper by Amanda Bickel "Minnie Clapp Mygatt: Study in a Victorian Sex Life" [based on her diaries], 1987
Mygatt family material: writings of H.R. Mygatt (brother of TDM?)
Witherspoon family material, 1850-1933

SERIES B: CORRESPONDENCE
Box 2
Tracy D. Mygatt: general correspondence, 1911-1929
Tracy D. Mygatt: general correspondence, 1930-1949
Tracy D. Mygatt: general correspondence, 1950-1973
Tracy D. Mygatt: general correspondence, undated
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Devere Allen, 1919
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Norman Boardman, 1965-1971
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Walter Russell Bowie, 1932-1964
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Margaret Casanova, 1956-1972
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Barbara Deming, 1965-1973
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Eileen Mygatt Dimelow and Carol Ann Dimelow (family members), 1937-1972
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from French cousins, 1949-1969
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from E.M.H. [family member?], 1933, undated
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from John Haynes Holmes, 1919-1963
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Jessie Wallace Hughan, 1935-1945
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Hubert Humphrey, 1957
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Eyo Ito, 1954-1966 [includes signed copy of his book Heralds of Dawn]
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Edna Ruth Johnson, 1970-1971
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Frances Layer, 1965-1973
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Georgia Lloyd, 1959-1973
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Jessie and William Lloyd, 1947, 1969
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from A.J. Muste, 1946-1957
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Jeannette Rankin, undated (ca. 1960s-1970s)
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Edith de Rougemont (aunt of TDM), 1928-1961
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Dick Sheppard, 1937
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Norman Thomas, 1935-1941
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Helen Topping, 1969-1970
Tracy D. Mygatt: letter/s from Lawrence W. Towner, 1970-1972
Tracy D. Mygatt: samples of personal stationary

Box 3
Frances Witherspoon: general correspondence, 1919-1973, undated
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Bella Abzug, 1973
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Lucy P. Carner ("Cetta"), 1934-1970
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Sam. J. Ervin Jr., 1973
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Bruno Grunzig, 1919
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Elizabeth Holtzman, 1973
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Jessie Wallace Hughan, 1953
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s to/from Edward M. Kennedy, 1969-1973
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Alfred E. Kuenzli, 1969
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Ogden R. Reid, 1969-1979
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from John Nevin Sayre, 1960-1969
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Richard Schweiker, 1973
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Norman Thomas, 1966
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Harold and Joe Witherspoon (re: family history/genealogy), 1965-1968
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Letitia Witherspoon (sister), 1946-1954
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Lorraine Witherspoon (niece), 1973
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Samuel A. Witherspoon (father), 1851
Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Samuel A. Witherspoon [Jr.] (brother), 1939
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: letters written to each other, ca. 1922-1937
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: Christmas cards sent jointly
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: general correspondence (written to them jointly), 1926-1929
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: general correspondence (written to them jointly), 1960-1970, undated
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: letter/s from Jessie Wallace Hughan (written to them jointly), 1929-1945

SERIES C: INVOLVEMENTS
Box 3 (cont.)
Tracy D. Mygatt: Anti-Enlistment League, ca. 1915
Tracy D. Mygatt: Campaign for World Government, 1953-1972, undated
Frances Witherspoon: New Bureau of Legal Advice, ca. 1917-1920
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: Emergency Peace Federation, ca. 1915-1919
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: War Resisters League [includes 1961 WRL Peace Award given to TDM and FW]
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: Women's Peace Union, 1924-1942, undated
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: efforts toward gaining signatures from Bryn Mawr College alumnae to protest Vietnam War, 1967-1968

SERIES D: WRITINGS

Box 4

Tracy D. Mygatt: miscellaneous letters to the editor / articles / poems / etc., 1914-1929
Tracy D. Mygatt: miscellaneous letters to the editor / articles / poems / etc., 1930-1939
Tracy D. Mygatt: miscellaneous letters to the editor / articles / poems / etc., 1940-1949
Tracy D. Mygatt: miscellaneous letters to the editor / articles / poems / etc., 1950-1959
Tracy D. Mygatt: miscellaneous letters to the editor / articles / poems / etc., 1960-1971
Tracy D. Mygatt: miscellaneous letters to the editor / articles / poems / etc., undated
Tracy D. Mygatt: incomplete items and handwritten manuscripts
Tracy D. Mygatt: book Julia Newberry's Sketch Book (published 1934)
Tracy D. Mygatt: book Julia Newberry's Sketch Book -- reviews
Tracy D. Mygatt: plays -- miscellaneous programs, brochures and reviews
Tracy D. Mygatt: play "Bird's Nest," 1922 -- published version; music for play "The Minuet" by Stanley Muschamp; review
Tracy D. Mygatt: play "Children of Israel," 1922 -- published version; playlist
Tracy D. Mygatt: play "Dan'el Brewster's Marriage," undated -- unpublished drafts

Box 5
Tracy D. Mygatt: play "Good Friday," 1919 -- published version; correspondence; publicity; reviews
Tracy D. Mygatt: play "His Son," 1928 -- published version
Tracy D. Mygatt: play "Jasmine," undated -- unpublished drafts
Tracy D. Mygatt: play (short) "Keep the Home Fires Burning," undated -- published version
Tracy D. Mygatt: play "Kingdom Come!," undated -- unpublished draft [also included is a synopsis by Mygatt and Witherspoon]
Tracy D. Mygatt: play "Lallijima, the Spirit of the Pole," 1909 -- handwritten unpublished draft [co-authored by Tracy Dickinson and Lucy Perkins]
Tracy D. Mygatt: play "The New Star," undated -- unpublished draft; correspondence
Tracy D. Mygatt: play "The Noose," 1918 -- published version; draft version; publicity; playlists; review
Tracy D. Mygatt: play "The Noose," 1918 -- article "Whiteness and Political Purpose in The Noose, an Antilynching Play by Tracy Mygatt" by Frances Early, 2002 [acc. 02A-061]
Tracy D. Mygatt: play "On the Siding: A Romantic Comedy in One Act," undated -- unpublished draft
Tracy D. Mygatt: play "Points of Honor," undated -- unpublished draft; playlist
Tracy D. Mygatt: play "Seconds," undated -- unpublished draft
Tracy D. Mygatt: play "The Sword of the Samurai," 1926 -- publicity; memorandum of agreement; reviews [no copy of play]
Tracy D. Mygatt: story "Come, My Coach!," undated -- unpublished draft
Tracy D. Mygatt: story "How the Squirrels Took Winter Cottage," undated -- unpublished draft
Tracy D. Mygatt: story "In Exchange For A Son," 1929 -- published version; draft version

Box 6
Frances Witherspoon: miscellaneous letters to the editor / articles / pamphlets / etc., 1936-1945?
Frances Witherspoon: miscellaneous letters to the editor / articles / pamphlets / etc., 1960-1969
Frances Witherspoon: miscellaneous letters to the editor / articles / pamphlets / etc., undated
Frances Witherspoon: play "Circus Day," 1927 -- unpublished draft
Frances Witherspoon: play "The Other Room," 1927 -- published version; playbill
Frances Witherspoon: play "Eleanor Intervenes," 1935 -- unpublished draft; memorandum of understanding
Frances Witherspoon: play "Trader's Wife," 1939 -- unpublished draft
Frances Witherspoon: story "Southern Express," 1929 -- published version
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: joint writings, 1915-1928
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: "An Office of Commemoration For the Dead Who Died in the Great War," 1931-1934 -- published versions
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: articles re: women (published by The Christian Herald), 1929
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: book Armor of Light (and dramatic production), 1930-1931, 1940 -- correspondence; playlists; publicity; reviews [photos removed to Photograph Collection]
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: book (?) chapter "The Eternal Christ," 1945? [chapter VII]
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: book The Glorious Company, 1928-1929 -- correspondence; publicity; reviews

Box 7
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: books The Glorious Company and The Armor of Light -- scrapbook of publicity and reviews (started in 1928)
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: book The Glorious Company -- condensation for Readers Digest, 1944 (not published)
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: play "Stranger Upon Earth," 1936 -- early unpublished drafts
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: play "Stranger Upon Earth," 1936 -- later unpublished draft
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: play "Stranger Upon Earth," 1934-1941 -- correspondence; contract/s
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: play "Thoroughfare," undated -- unpublished draft
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: play "Whirlpool," undated -- unpublished draft
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: play "Windows to Storms," 1938 -- unpublished draft; memorandum of agreement
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: pamphlet "S.O.S. For Our World," 1946 -- published version; draft version
Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon: story "The Legend of the Roadmender: A Story for Armistice Day," 1930 -- published version [excerpt from book The Armor of Light]

SERIES E: REFERENCE MATERIAL
Box 8 (1/2 box)

Campaign for World Government / Crusade for World Government
World Movement for World Federal Government
People's World Convention, 1950
U.S. Senate hearings on making war legally impossible, 1927-1934
Church services
Poetry
Miscellaneous, 1918-1944
Miscellaneous, 1945-1959
Miscellaneous, 1960-1969
Miscellaneous, 1970-1973
Miscellaneous, undated



This file was last updated on January 13, 2010.