Peace Action Records, 1986-date
Collection: DG 151
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081-1399 U.S.A.
Telephone: (610) 328-8557 (Curator); Fax: (610) 328-8544
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Curator); URL: http://www.swarthmore.edu/Library/peace/
The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for these papers/records.
Peace Action Records
Language of Materials
Materials in English
39 linear feet [papers only]
Brief statement about person/group and what is included in the papers/records (nmore than a few sentences)
Yes, Parts of this collection are stored off site. Patrons must request materials at least twweeks in advance of visit.
Alternate Form of Material
Gift of Carolyn Cottom, David Cortright, Nick Carter, Ian Jones, Monica Green, Peace Action (1988, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998)
Processed by SCPC staff; finding aid prepared by Anne Yoder, (May) 1996; revised 1998. This version of finding aid by Wendy E. Chmielewski, (August) 2012.
[Identification of item], in the Peace Action Records (DG 151), Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Copyright has been transferred tthe Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Right tsome items may have been retained by the creators/authors (or their descendents), in this collection, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Please contact the SCPC Curator for further information.
Online Catalog Headings
These and related materials may be found under the following headings in online library/archival catalogs.
See tripod record
Coalition for a Nuclear Free Harbor Collected Records (CDG-A)
Freeze Campaigns Collected Records (CDG-A)
SANE, Inc. Records (DG 058)
United States Comprehensive Test Ban Coalition Records (DG 178)
Peace Action is the direct outgrowth of twnuclear/arms control groups, namely SANE and The Freeze. SANE, which was established in 1957, had been at the forefront of opposition tarms testing, the Vietnam War, and such weapons systems as the MX missile. It had a strong national office, supported by a large nationwide constituency that paid dues for membership; these members were gained through door-to-door canvassing in targeted areas. However, SANE's membership was mostly passive when it came tpolitical action. The Freeze campaign, on the other hand, was a coalition of nuclear freeze groups that had grown out of New England town meetings in 1980. The Freeze message sparked the imagination of the nation and spread quickly, creating a substantial grassroots movement of persons committed tstopping the nuclear threat through lobbying and other means. Unfortunately, the impetus of the movement had dissipated by 1985. Disagreements among The Freeze coalition's leaders about the future of the movement meant a lack of a coherent national identity. Also, The Freeze was made up of many local, state and regional offices (with nnational office) that tended tset their own policy; this caused further fragmentation of the coalition's impact, and mixed messages for its constituency.
In 1985, merger negotiations began between SANE and The Freeze. One component of the latter, Freeze Voter, decided tremain a separate entity; but the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign ([NWFC) wished tjoin with SANE tcreate the largest single organization in the peace movement, with over 180,000 members combined, 270 local and state chapters, and 30 affiliates. In 1987, staff and leaders of the NWFC and SANE traveled the country in what was dubbed the "Listening Project," thear what members and staff of both groups had tsay about the merger. They found that there was conflict about the nature of the newly merged group, with Freeze activists insisting that the emphasis on the grassroots be maintained. The possible make-up of merged state/local chapters was alsa source of contention. A transition team met throughout the year tiron out these difficulties.
Finally, in (November) 1987 the merger became official. Initially, an attempt was made tgive both SANE and the NWFC equal weight in the new structure. It was tbe a membership-based organization, but retain the vigorous local organizing of the NWFC. The name SANE/FREEZE (SANE/Freeze) was chosen. David Cortright, Director of SANE, and Carolyn Cottom, Director of the NWFC, were named as CDirectors, with Rev. William Sloane Coffin becoming the first Board President. A Board of Directors was appointed with equal representation from both groups. One thousand activists, attending the first SANE/Freeze National Congress, voted its approval of these plans. They alssanctioned the following priorities: Electoral: Elect progressive candidates, promote and clarify peace issues, and work in coalition with other progressive groups; Legislative: Ratify the INF Treaty, ban nuclear weapons testing, block Trident D-5 missile production and deployment, eliminate Star Wars funding, and work in coalition tend U.S.military intervention; Organizational: Integrate SANE members and FREEZE grassroots organizations, broaden the organization's financial base, and build a multi-racial membership.
In (March) 1988, the co-directorship was dissolved, reflecting some of the difficulties of the merger. Varying leadership styles and visions were more easily meshed in theory than in practice. Duane Shank was named the Acting Executive Director. Cortright became his special assistant on political strategy as well as fundraising, and Cottom his special assistant in charge of the international campaign testablish a comprehensive test ban. The NWFC had been calling for a comprehensive nuclear test ban between the United States and the Soviet Union since 1984. The Comprehensive Test Ban (ConnecticutB) Campaign picked up where the NWFC had left off. One of the most successful ConnecticutB campaigns was initiated by SANE/Freeze in 1987-1988 in Iowa, where a farm recession made many receptive tthe idea. The statewide effort, called "Stop Testing, Start Investing in Our Communities," showed the possible connections between ending nuclear testing and thus releasing funds for essential human needs. SANE/Freeze Field Organizer, Ira Shorr, and volunteer statewide coordinator, Francine Barnwarth, recruited volunteers from thirty cities and towns twork on the campaign. The cost of the arms race for each county, city and individual was figured out and distributed tthousands of persons. Twenty-twtown councils and county boards of supervisors approved test ban resolutions. Since then, the International Comprehensive Test Ban Campaign and the United States Comprehensive Test Ban Coalition, with Peace Action as a strong supporting member of both, have continued twork for a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty which would prohibit all underground nuclear testing, in addition tthe open-air tests prohibited by the Partial Test Ban Treaty.
SANE/FREEZE worked thalt all nuclear weapons production and testing by the Department of Energy (DOE). As part of its 1991 legislative agenda, it called on Congress t"end the construction of DOE bomb factories and gain military compliance with federal environmental laws." The Keep Them Shut! campaign and DOE Lobby days helped spur citizen attention and action around the country. It alsprotested the upswing in production and sales of chemical weapons, campaigned for the INF Treaty, and protested the MX missile system. Currently the Peace Action Education Fund (the 501(c)(3) arm of the organization, which solicits only tax-deductible contributions) works teducate the public, the media, and policy makers about the dangers of high military spending, nuclear proliferation, and the conventional arms trade. At the (December) 1988 National Congress, SANE/Freeze decided tmake creating a peace economy its major goal, ahead of stopping the arms race. It stated: "As an organization, we will seek tarticulate a long-range vision of a radically different, peaceful world while at the same time pursuing practical programs which can lead on a step-by-step basis toward this goal. As human beings and as an organization, we are choosing a new course toward lasting world peace. . . . We will strive tredirect the vast wealth and technological capacity of the United States from war-preparedness tthe urgent task of eliminiating hunger, disease, and social injustice." A nationwide Peace Economy Campaign was established in 1989, with local campaigns begun in 150 cities and states. Five regional training sessions were held by SANE/Freeze ttrain local community organizers and activists. Local groups supported community human needs programs, held petition and referenda drives, and lobbied for economic conversion legislation. SANE/Freeze joined with other groups and coalitions tenhance the impact of its lobbying on a grassroots level and with Congress. SANE/Freeze alsestablished an "Inaugurate Peace" campaign tmobilize public pressure of the Bush administration for a reordering of federal spending priorities. In 1992, it supported the Congressional Black Caucus alternative budget. Ira Shorr began directing this work in 1989. The Peace Economy Campaign is still a chief priority of Peace Action. SANE/Freeze did not limit its efforts for peace tthe United States. Its lobbying efforts helped convince Congress tcut military aid tEl Salvador. It opposed the U.S. military build-up in the Persian Gulf, and advocated sanctions during the Persian Gulf War. It supported the Middle East Peace Process. When the war began in Bosnia-Herzegovinia, it opposed unilaterial U.S. military action and called its members and other U.S. citizens tsupport pro-democracy organizations in the former Yugoslavia. It called for sanctions against South Africa until apartheid was completely abolished. Bettering relations between the former Soviet Union and the United States was alsa priority over the years.
In 1988, Rev. William Sloane Coffin led a delegation tthe Soviet Union, and Soviet delegations have been sponsored by SANE/Freeze as well. An SANE/Freeze International office was established in New York City in 1988 and is still in existence. It seeks tbring a global perspective tissues, spread the organization's message tthe global community, and work with foreign groups tachieve its purposes. Its staff members have organized many events tincrease understanding between citizens of various countries. SANE/Freeze International alsbecame a non-governmental representative tthe United Nations.
A Southern regional office was opened in Atlanta "traise the visibility of peace issues in the South and tprovide a base for a strong peace movement presence at the Democratic National Convention in (July) 1988." A Western regional office was alsopened in California. State affiliates, many of them carry-overs from SANE, included, as of 1988: SANE/Alaska, Alabama Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, Connecticut Freeze Campaign (Hartford), SANE Nuclear Freeze Hawaii (Honolulu), Illinois SANE/Freeze (Chicago), Kansans tEnd the Arms Race, Maine Freeze Campaign, Maryland SANE/Freeze (Baltimore), Massachusetts Freeze, Michigan SANE/Freeze, Minnesota SANE/Freeze, New Hampshire Action/PLS, New Jersey SANE/Freeze, New York SANE Peace Council, Buffal(New York) SANE/Freeze, North Carolina SANE/Freeze (Charlotte), OhiSANE/Freeze (Columbus), Pennsylvania Campaign for a Nuclear Disarmament (Harrisburg), SANE/Freeze of Rhode Island, Tennessee Peace &;Disarmament Campaign (Nashville), Texas SANE/Freeze (Georgetown), Virginia Network for Nuclear Disarmament (Hampton), and Wisconsin Nuclear Weapons Freeze (Madison). Affiliates have changed names or even dropped affiliation since 1988, and others have been added tthe list. Many local groups, often carry-overs from the Freeze, have had a loose relationship with the state affiliates. All of these entities have been vital in proclaiming the message of the national office tthe grassroots., and involving them in its programs. Canvassing played a major role in the organization's fundraising and membership drives, as well as in changing public opinion on issues. The national office's Canvass Director[s] supervised paid regional and/or state office directors, whin turn supervised paid mobile canvass units. During election years, these canvass units were sent in tswing districts tbuild membership and enhance local organizing. When possible, this was timed tcoincide with leadership training workshops and visits by Board President William Sloane Coffin. Coffin visited approximately six communities per month for twyears, and at each he met with local affiliates and groups, appeared at media events, and spoke at public gatherings, often sponsored by colleges/ universities or peace groups. The honoraria from these visits raised extensive funds for SANE/Freeze. The Canvassing Department closed in 1993, though some canvassing is still carried out by state affiliates for their own purposes.
In 1993, SANE/Freeze changed its name tPeace Action. This title, its leaders claimed, would "quickly communicate the organization's primary concerns and methods. 'Peace Action' suggests the need tthink, then act, for peace and justice." A "Kick-Off Campaign" was launched tpull together the varying programmatic strands, such as the existing peace economy and disarmament campaigns, under a common theme. Peace Action has continued many of the same programs that had been initiated in former years, while exploring better ways of communicating its message. In 1996, it initiated Peace Voter '96, a non-partisan campaign timpact the 1996 elections with the organization's concerns and values. The goal of the campaign is t"emerge from the 1996 elections as a stronger, more effective organization with real political clout that Republicans, Democrats, and independent candidates have learned trespect." Initially in 1987, SANE/Freeze envisioned growing tone million members by 1997, with chapters in every congressional district, and affiliates in every state. By 1993, however, the organization boasted only 50,000 members. Staff reductions and budget cuts have alstaken place over the years, and program goals have had tbe refined treflect the shift in public support for peace organizations. Rev. Nick Carter was the Executive Director from 1989-1990. Monica Green (whwas the Director of Field Work 1989-(May) 1990, and Director of the Columbus, Ohioffice until 1989) ably led the organization from 1990 through 1995. Gordon Clark, formerly the Director of New Jersey Peace Action, became the new Executive Director in (January) 1996. Peace Action publicizes its aims through research and sharing the results in various formats, organizing members twrites letters tthe editor, lobbying Members of Congress, publishing newsletters on a national and state/local level, organizing public protests, placing advertisements in the media, preparing weekly hotlines on current federal legislation, publishing voting records, creating videtapes, and hosting regional meetings and national annual conferences.
The national office of Peace Action is at 1819 H Street NW, Suite 640, Washington, DC 20006 (202-862-9740; e-mail: email@example.com). The international office is at 777 U.N. Plaza, 12th Floor, New York, New York 10017 (212-949 7033). Peace Action maintains a Web page at http://www.web.com/peacenet. Board of Directors members have included: Rev. William Sloane Coffin (President 1987-1990), Olivia Abelson, Dot Baker, Joan Bolte, Lois Booth, Gloria Bouis, Bob Brand, Kay Bridgeford, Steven Brion-Meisels, Beth Broadway, Acie Byrd, Elizabeth Ainsley Campbell, Rev. Kiuyl Chung, Norm Cohen, Elizabeth Campbell Elliott, Judy Feinstein, Al Fishman, Don Gardner, Mark Harrison, Gerald Horne, Mike Keller, Jerry Kendall, Michael Klare, Barbara Kopit, Judy Lerner, Jane Milliken, Jack O'Dell, Shirley Romaine, Angela Sanbrano, Jan Sanders, Robert Schwartz, Don Shaffer, Angelia Smith, Jessie Stratton, Sue Strong, Sylvia Temmer, William Towe, and Cora Weiss. Advisory council members have included: Rev. William Sloane Coffin (President in 1993), Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Ossie Davis, Peter Yarrow, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Toshi and Pete Seeger, Colleen Dewhurst, Harry Belafonte, Rabbi Balfour Brickner, Noam Chomsky, David Cortright, Hon. Ronald Dellums, David Kappel, Michael Klare, Hon. Hilda Howland Mason, Marcus Raskin, Marian Wright Edelman, Coretta Scott King, and David McReynolds.
The Peace Action collection is a continuation of the SANE and SANE Education Fund (DG 58) collection, which alsresides at the SCPC (the papers of the National Weapons Freeze Campaign are at the University of Missouri at St. Louis). It documents the merger of SANE and the NWFC, as well as the goals and work of the merged organization, through meeting minutes, correspondence, program files, press clippings and other publicity, statements and communications with Congress and other leaders, as well as publications and resources in other formats. The correspondence of the collection is primarily by staffpersons such as David Cortright, Carolyn Cottom, Duane Shank, Nick Carter, Peter Deccy, and Ira Shorr, with the most generated by William Sloane Coffin and Monica Green.
AV materials audio-cassette, reel-to-reel tape, videos, computer discs
Arrangement of Collection
The material in this collection arrived in good condition, but its original order was not kept in most instances. Instead, the collection was arranged in the following way:
Series A contains general administrative material such as financial and legal papers, meeting minutes and correspondence of the Board of Directors, files relating tthe merger of SANE and the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, and personnel files.
Series B is comprised of the general correspondence of staff members and the Board President, as well as in-house memos.
Series C contains the various publications (except for newsletters which are in another location), as well as several files from the Communications Department and the Publications Department.
Series D Programmatic files under the headings of work on disarmament, elections, the Peace Economy Campaign, the Persian Gulf War, and U.S.-U.S.S.R. relations. Since work on these issues was accomplished with the help of numerous coalitions, the files which document these coalitional efforts were included in Series D. Getting the word out about the mission and goals of the organization took many forms: these were arranged under Outreach in Series E according twhether they had tdprimarily with fundraising, informational mailings, publicity, or articles/letters tgovernment/reports etc. Staff members and the Board President visited state and local groups and files relating tthese trips are alsunder
Series E. Files of the Field Division/ Membership Division are in Series E, and include the correspondence and other material which document the organization's canvassing efforts.
Series F is really a continuation of Series E. It contains material by and about state affiliates and local groups, and alsincludes information about state canvassing efforts. These files help document the changes that occurred when SANE groups merged with NWFC groups, with some affiliating with SANE/Freeze and others choosing not tdsbut helping out with SANE/Freeze efforts at times.
Events sponsored by the national office, including the yearly national congresses, and events attended by staff members are documented in Series G.
Series H contains reference material, primarily related tdisarmament, the peace economy, and the Persian Gulf War.
Series I is comprised of the material from the SANE/Freeze International office in New York City (now called Peace Action International), relating tits administration, correspondence, work, and events sponsored and attended.
Because smany staffpersons' files contained similar and/or duplicate material on program and outreach efforts, the decision was made tcombine their files as much as possible within series. An attempt was made tnote when a file came from a particular person. The Peace Economy Campaign (PEC) files in Series D were mostly from Ira Shorr and Monica Green. However, publicity and other material on local PEC efforts appears in the appropriate state/local file in Series F. Persian Gulf War material in Series D came primarily from Cora Weiss, Ria Pugeda, Ira Shorr, and Monica Green.
Trip files of William Sloane Coffin are in Series E under Visits tField, but press clippings about the trips and about Coffin himself are under Publicity in the same series. Press releases, publicity and statements were separated by format and year and placed in the appropriate locations. Files about the Canvass in Series E and Series F were mostly from Peter Deccy and Sue Udry, though canvassing material was gleaned from other staff members as well.
The difference between regional offices, state affiliate offices, local chapters, and local groups was not always readily discernible from the documents, sthat folder designations etc. may be somewhat unclear on this point. Much general material about canvassing, affiliation, and state and local group efforts relating tSANE/Freeze work was mixed in with material that dealt specifically with a state affiliate's canvassing. This material was separated out treflect the hierarchical nature of the Canvass for this organization, namely that the national Canvass Director[s] supervised the work of the regional and state affiliate office directors. Therefore, 1) general information and statistics about the Canvass is in Series E (Outreach) under "Field Division/ Membership Division" which directed the national Canvass. This includes files from the Women's Caucus, which was a subgroup of the Canvass; 2) information relating tcanvassing directed by regional offices and/or state affiliate offices, as well as affiliation agreements, is in Series F according tthe state of origin. Regional and state canvass files were arranged in conjunction with the material generated by state affiliates and local groups. A small amount of material from DG 58 (SANE) was incorporated intthe Peace Action collection; some older material in the SANE/Freeze papers was removed to DG 058, but for the most part it was left in this collection. Material donated by Frans Verhagen concerning SANE and SANE/Freeze in New York is in Series F. However, his files related tthe Coalition for a Nuclear Free Harbor were removed ta CDG-A of that name. Though New Jersey SANE is a separate collection (DG 132), this was not continued in the Peace Action papers since the New Jersey office is affiliated with the national office.
SERIES A: GENERAL ADMINISTRATION
Detailed Description of the Collection
Box 1 off site
General correspondence -
-Dottye Burt, 1988
-Angela Carter, 1989
-Nick Carter, 1989-1990
-Brenda Chamberlain, 1988 (March - June)
-William Sloane Coffin, 1987- 1988 (March)
Box 2 off site
General correspondence -
William Sloane Coffin, 1988 (April) - 1989 (March)
Box 3 off site
General correspondence -
William Sloane Coffin, 1989 (April) - 1989 (December)
Box 4 off site
General correspondence - -William Sloane Coffin, 1990 (January - July)
-David Cortright as Executive Director, 1987-1988
-David Cortright as Director of Development, 1988-1989
-David Cortright as Senior Associate, 1988-1989
-Carolyn Cottom and David Cortright
-David Cortright, SANE and Freeze merge (acc. 98A-075)
Box 5 off site
General correspondence -
-Monica Green as Director of Field Work, 1989- 1990 (May)
-Monica Green re: SANE/Freeze endorsement of N.O.W. pro-choice rally, 1989 (October) - 1990 (January)
- Monica Green as Executive Director, 1990 (July) - 1992 (January)
Box 6 off site
General correspondence -
Monica Green, 1992 (February) - 1994 (May)
Box 7 off site
General correspondence -
-Monica Green, 1994 (June - December)
-Sharon Griffith, 1988 (March -(May)
-Mark Harrison, 1988 (October) -1989
-Dan Houston, 1988 (March - August)
- Elizabeth Lewis, 1988-1989
-Robert K. Musil, 1987-1988
-Len Newman, (March - July) 1988
- Mary Price re: Dr. Coffin's speaking engagements, 1988 (November)- 1989 (September)
Box 8 off site
General correspondence -
-Duane Shank, 1988-1991
-Kay Shaw, 1988-1989
-Sherri Shultz, 1988-1989
-Michael Wyson, 1989
In-house memos, 1987-1990
Box 9 off site
In-house memos, 1991-1994