Swarthmore College Peace Collection

Women's Peace Society Records, 1914-1933

Collection: DG 106


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
The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for these papers/records.
Creator
Women's Peace Society
Title
Women's Peace Society Records
Inclusive Dates
1914-1933
Call Number
DG 106

Language of Materials
Materials in English
Extent
5 linear inches [papers only]
Abstract
Women's Peace Society was not interested in using political or economic means to end what it termed "war-madness". Rather, its members chose educational methods such as handing out literature, participating in demonstrations, speaking at public events, and holding school contests. In August 1921, it sponsored a conference at Niagara Falls where it cooperated with Canadian peace women in starting the Women's Peace Union of the Western Hemisphere. The Women's Peace Union chose to work politically and urged a constitutional amendment to remove government war-making power. Other events undertaken by WPS included a Disarmament Parade in November 1921 and a No More War Day demonstration on Wall Street on July 25, 1921.

Administrative Information
Restrictions to Access
None
Usage Restrictions
None
Alternate Form of Material
None
Acquisitions Information
Gift of the Women's Peace Union, ca. 1947
Processing Information
Processed by SCPC staff; checklist prepared by Martha P. Shane; this finding aid created by Eleanor A. Fulvio, August 2010.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Women's Peace Society Records (DG 106), 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


Historical Background
On September 12, 1919, a group of women including Fanny Garrison Villard, Elinor Byrns, Katherine Devereaux Blake, and Caroline Lexow Babcock resigned from the executive committee of the Women's International League of New York State because of "a fundamental lack of unity in the membership as a whole and in the executive committee". Some of these women were absolute pacifists, or non-resistants, and wanted to start a new organization whose underlying principle would be "a belief in the sacredness and inviolability of human life under all circumstances".

The Women's Peace Society was thus founded in October l9l9. In 1920, its letterhead read: "Universal and complete disarmament. Abolition of mob violence. Free trade, the world over."

All members were asked to sign the following pledge:

"Believing that under no circumstances is it right to take human life, I hereby apply for membership in THE WOMEN'S PEACE SOCIETY pledging myself to further its high aims by every means in my power"

A second paragraph found on many membership forms read: "And I declare it to be my intention never to aid in or sanction war, offensive or defensive, international or civil, in any way, whether by making or handling munitions, subscribing to war loans, using my labor for the purpose of setting others free for war service, helping by money or work any relief organization which supports or condones war".

This peace group was not interested in using political or economic means to end what it termed "war-madness". Rather, its members chose educational methods such as handing out literature, participating in demonstrations, speaking at public events, and holding school contests. In August 1921, it sponsored a conference at Niagara Falls where it cooperated with Canadian peace women in starting the Women's Peace Union of the Western Hemisphere. The Women's Peace Union chose to work politically and urged a constitutional amendment to remove government war-making power. Other events undertaken by WPS included a Disarmament Parade in November 1921 and a No More War Day demonstration on Wall Street on July 25, 1921.

In 1926, the Society claimed a membership of 2500 with members in every state plus Austria, Cuba, England, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey. WPS was headquartered in New York City and led by Fanny Garrison Villard (Mrs. Henry Villard, 1844-1928), the daughter of William Lloyd Garrison and mother of Oswald Garrison Villard. In the last years of Mrs. Villard's life and after her death in 1928, the work of the Society was carried on by its executive director, Annie E. Gray. In her annual report of 1929, Gray tells of distributing 200,000 pieces of literature, putting on regular radio programs, attending dinner meetings, producing plays in public schools, and trying, with ever decreasing success, to raise necessary funds. The last document printed by the Women's Peace Society at SCPC is dated 1933.

Collection Overview
The bulk of this small collection is early correspondence (1920-1923; 1926), mostly to and from Elinor Byrns, an early vice-chairman and later the literature chairman of the Women's Peace Society. Her letters (1920-1923) were found with the Women's Peace Union records, an organization in which Byrns was also active.

There is one folder of correspondence (1920-1921) of Jessie Hardy MacKaye who was chairman of the Milwaukee branch of WPS. There is the printed letter of resignation from the Women's International League of New York by the founders of WPS (1919).

There are several WPS minutes and reports (1919-1921 and 1931), as well as printed brochures, flyers, and letters to the membership (1919-1933).

Material about Fanny Garrison Villard includes a booklet of tributes made at her 80th birthday luncheon given by WPS in 1924. The organization's News Letter (December 1926-August 1930) is available with SCPC Retired Periodicals.

Correspondents include Mary Abbott, Caroline Lexow Babcock,Christine Ross Barker, Elizabeth Black, Elinor Byrns, Stella Crossley Daljord, Marian H. Holmes, Jessie Wallace Hughan, Jessie Hardy MacKaye, Margaret Loring Thomas, Fanny Garrison Villard, Mary Winsor, and Emma Wold.

Items removed:
The News Letter was placed with SCPC Retired Periodicals.
Photographs removed to Photograph Collection

Arrangement of Collection
Correspondence was arranged in chronological order, and an attempt to assign dates to undated printed material was made.




Detailed Description of the Collection

Box 1
Checklist

Series I. MINUTES/REPORTS (1919-1921; 193l)
Box 1 (continued)
 
Series II. LITERATURE/MISCELLANEOUS DRAFTS (1919-1933)
Box 1 (continued)
 
Series III. NEWSLETTERS (1926-1930)/PHOTOGRAPHS
Box 1 (continued)
Newsletters found with SCPC Retired Periodicals.
Photographs found in SCPC Photograph Collection

Series IV. CORRESPONDENCE (1920-1926)
Box 1 (continued)
Jessie Hardy MacKaye (1920-1921)
Elinor Byrns (1920-1923)
Annie E. Gray (1926)

Series V. MATERIAL ABOUT FANNY GARRISON VILLARD (1914-1928)
Box 1 (continued)



This file was last updated on March 7, 2011.