Edith Reeves Solenberger Papers, 1897-1979
Collection: DG 176
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399
Telephone: 610-328-8557 (curator)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (curator)
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Solenberger, Edith Reeves (1886-1976)
Edith Reeves Solenberger Papers
Dates of 1897-1979
Language of Materials
Materials in English
four linear feet [papers only]
Edith Gertrude Reeves Solenberger (1886-1976) was a Quaker peace activist who participated in a broad range of organizations. She was Co-Clerk of the Lansdowne Monthly Meeting, a founder of the Lansdowne-Upper Darby branch of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and an officer of the Delaware County WILPF Council. Edith Reeves graduated from Radcliffe College, earning an AB in 1907 and an AM in 1910. Her career included social work, writing, and public speaking. She was WILPF's referent on Native Americans in the 1950s. Edith Solenberger was interested in disability issues and had a notable impact on the treatment of children with physical disabilities in the Philadelphia area.
Restrictions to Access
Yes, this collection is located off site. Please contact SCPC staff at least two weeks in advance of visit.
Alternate Form of Material
Gift of Robert Solenberger, 1994, 1995, [Acc. 94A-082, Acc. 95A-036]; Purchase, [Acc. 08B-061]
Processed by Kate Myer, October 1993, revised by Anne Yoder, May 1995; revised by Wendy E. Chmielewski, September 2008
[Identification of item], in the Edith Reeves Solenberger Papers (DG 176), Swarthmore College Peace Collection
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
DG 043 Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section (Local Branches, Series B, 5 PA)
Diary of Edith Reeves available at the University of South Dakota;
Diary of Edith R. Solenbeger and photograph at Schlesinger Library, Harvard University
Edith Gertrude Reeves Solenberger (1886-1976) was a Quaker peace activist who participated in a broad range of organizations. Edith Reeves was born in 1886 in South Dakota. She attended the University of South Dakota and graduated from Radcliffe College, earning an AB in 1907 and an AM in 1910, with an interest in crippled children. Reeves married Edwin Solenberger of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania and moved to that community in August of 1913. Edith Solenberger was Co-Clerk of the Lansdowne Monthly Meeting, a founder of the Lansdowne-Upper Darby branch of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), and an officer of the Delaware County WILPF Council.Her career included social work, writing, and public speaking. She was WILPF's referent on Native Americans in the 1950s.
Together with her husband, Edwin, Edith traveled to the 1955 Pacific Yearly Meeting as a representative of the Lansdowne Monthly Meeting. Other Quaker sponsored trips included those to Canada to learn about the Doukhobors, a Russian immigrant-based pacifist Christian group. Warm friendships developed as a result of her trips in 1951, 1955 and 1956.
As a WILPF member, Edith Solenberger represented that organization at the 1951 Japanese Peace Treaty Conference in San Francisco. Other conferences she attended were the first and second Pendle Hill Pacifist Conferences, Wallingford, Pennsylvania. in1940 and 1941, and the All American Friends Conference, Richmond, Indiana, 1942.
Other organizations which attracted Solenberger's interest ranged from the America First Committee to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. Subject matters of interest to her included academic freedom, chemical warfare, disarmament, fallout shelters, referenda on war, the role of the clergy in wartime, and world reorganization.
In addition to her special collection on Doukhobors, Solenberger collected information on Native American issues, and she corresponded with legislators on this topic--especially concerning the Kinzua Dam Project--from 1957 to 1964. Edith Solenberger sponsored a young Native American student with whom she corresponded from 1963 to1969.
Within the Philadelphia community, Edith Solenberger had a notable impact on the treatment of children with physical disabilities. This crusade began as early as 1910 with her work with the International Society for Crippled Children in Elyria, Ohio, and lasted until1968.As Edith Reeves, she authored the semiunal volume of its day on this topic in 1911 entitled Care and Education of Crippled Children in the United States.. The Easter Seal Society for Crippled Children and Adults issued a Letter of Introduction describing Edith Solenberger as a Charter Member of the Society's Board of Directors. She was a pioneer in work on behalf of disabled children. In 1949, she visited post-war Europe inspecting hospitals institutional homes, schools and agencies for persons with orthopaedic handicaps.
Persons of interest to her included Jane Addams, Gandhi, the Duke of Windsor, and Norman Thomas. She was concerned with the treatment of refugees, post-war Germany, and United States involvement in Vietnam prior to her death at age 90 in 1976.
Edith Reeves Solenberger's life journey ranged from a frontier childhood in the South Dakota Territory to international scholarly travel, and included family commitments, rearing four children, and spiritual and intellectual dedication to many diverse causes.
The Edith Reeves Solenberger papers, distributed between correspondence, handwritten notes on various subjects, printed literature on organizations, and clippings files, are organized by headings: Correspondence, Articles by her, Conferences attended and Committees served (chronologically arranged), Countries which concerned or interested her, Organizations, Reference Files and Special Collections: The Doukhobors, American Indians, and Work Related to Crippled Children. The majority of correspondence in the Crippled Children Special Collection is between Edith Reeves Solenberger and Edgar F. "Daddy" Allen, President of the International Society for Crippled Children (1924-1937). Beyond 1937, she maintained her volunteer activities for this cause with the Philadelphia Society for Crippled Children and Adults, of which she was a charter member. These special collections include correspondence as well as published information.
Accession 08B-061 was acquired through purchase in 2008. This accession includes a school copy book of Edith Reeves, dated 1897-1899; a diary, dated 1900; an herbarium (n.d., but perhaps from 1913); wedding announcements and correspondence, 1913; telegram from Edith Reeves on women's rights, 1912; University of South Dakota [?] graduation program for Althea Margaret Reeves [Edith's sister?], 1914; three family photographs-two of Emerson G. Reeves [Edith's father], one of Emma Sprague Reeves [Edith's mother]. Edith Reeves, and Harrison Sprague Reeves [Edith's brother], circa 1892; one lock of hair [unidentified]
Memorabilia-lock of hair; herbarium
Arrangement of Collection
The arrangement of the Edith Solenberger Papers closely follows their original order. When clear, Edith Solenberger's folder titles were retained. All materials were removed from their original folders and placed into acid-free folders. Those papers within the areas described above appear in either chronological or alphabetical order, depending on which better serves the nature of the information contained therein.
The third special collection, Work Related to Crippled Children, was created as Box 10 and contains the documentation of her fifty years' commitment to bettering the treatments and education for crippled children and adults.
The 1994 accession further expands the documentation of the Solenbergers--Edith, and Edwin who accompanied her--under the auspices of the Lansdowne Meeting of the Society of Friends. From the early 1950s until 1968, the Meeting issued "Minutes" introducing Edith to British and European Meetings where she was warmly received. (Edwin Solenberger was not a Quaker.)
Also from this later accession came an expanded biographical file including clippings, which document her broad spectrum of involvement in social causes, as well as copies of her speeches, articles published in Friends Intelligencer, conference proceedings, and letters to editors.
Family information about her ancestors, immediate family and descendants can be found in the biographical information folder and correspondence files, particularly in the holiday letters sent annually from the late 1950s through the 1960s.
Material from Accession 08B-061 has been integrated with the other biographical material in Box 1.
Re-File Box, received 1997
Detailed Description of the Collection
Removal Sheet and finding aid
-Composition book, 1897
- Diary, 1900
-Wedding-newspaper announcements, correspondence, visiting cards
-Other items: telegram Edith Reeves to Franklin B. Gault, on women's rights, 1912; University of South Dakota graduation program, 1914
Writings of Edith Reeves Solenberger
Articles and speeches, pre-1950
Articles and speeches, 1950-1968
Bibliographies, Book Reviews of interest to Edith Reeves Solenberger
-with Karl Franke, German Family, 1947-1948
-1945-1959 [see also Doukhobours correspondence]
-1961-1969 [see also Doukhobours reference files; American Indians]
1938 Conference on World Economic Cooperation; National Peace Conference
1940 (First) Pendle Hill Pacifist Conference
1940-1941 Committee on Conscientious Objectors,Peace Section of AFSC
1941 (Second) Pendle Hill Pacifist Conference
1942 All American Friends Conference, Richmond, Indiana
1951 Japanese Peace Treaty Conference WILPF Representative
Germany, post WWII recovery
Korea, Asia, India
America First Committee
Dept. of State, U.S. Government
Emergency Peace Campaign
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Foreign Policy Association
Friends Peace Committee
Friends World Problems Committee (later Friends Committee on National Legislation)
Keep America Out of War Congress
League of Nations/World Court
"Red Network", Fifth Column, American Communist Party
Society of Friends: Lansdowne Monthly Pacific Yearly Meeting (Minute for ERS to Attend the Pacific Yearly Meeting, 1955)
War Resisters' International
War Resisters League
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
- Disarmament Committee of1935, Delaware County
-National (U.S.) Section
-Lansdowne-Upper Darby Branch
World Affairs Council of Philadelphia