Swarthmore College Peace Collection

Edith Reeves Solenberger Papers, 1897-1979

Collection: DG 176

Contact Information
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399
Telephone: 610-328-8557 (curator)
Fax: 610-690-5728
Email: wchmiel@swarthmore.edu (curator)
URL: http://www.swarthmore.edu/Library/peace/

Descriptive Summary
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Solenberger, Edith Reeves (1886-1976)
Edith Reeves Solenberger Papers
Inclusive Dates
Dates of 1897-1979
Call Number
DG 176

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.

Administrative Information
Restrictions to Access
Usage Restrictions
Yes, this collection is located off site. Please contact SCPC staff at least two weeks in advance of visit.
Alternate Form of Material
Acquisitions Information
Gift of Robert Solenberger, 1994, 1995, [Acc. 94A-082, Acc. 95A-036]; Purchase, [Acc. 08B-061]
Processing Information
Processed by Kate Myer, October 1993, revised by Anne Yoder, May 1995; revised by Wendy E. Chmielewski, September 2008
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Edith Reeves Solenberger Papers (DG 176), 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
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

Historical Background
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.

Collection Overview
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]

Items removed:
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, Miscellaneous material received in 1997, after the collection was processed

Detailed Description of the Collection

Box 1
Removal Sheet and finding aid
Biographical material
-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

Box 1a
-1945-1959 [see also Doukhobours correspondence]
-1961-1969 [see also Doukhobours reference files; American Indians]

Box 2
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

Box 3
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)
United Nations
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

Box 4
Reference files: persons
Addams, Jane
Edward VII, Duke of Windsor's abdication
Kennedy, John F.

Box 5
Reference files: literature relating to ERS's activities (arranged chronologically)
General: 1919-1929
Conscription of women: 1940s
Post WWII challenges to peacemaking1946
Lansdowne Friends 1950-1959
World Council of Churches Assembly 1954
United Nations1958
Church Peace Union 1958-1969
Women in prison 1968-1969
Misc. interests

Box 6
Subject files
Academia: colleges, war attitudes on campus
Academic freedom
Anti-war clippings, 1938-1940
Cartoons in time of war
Causes of war, 1938
Chemical/biological/radiological warfare
Civilian Public Service
Conscription, conscientious objection
Conscription legislation:
- Burke-Wadsworth Bill, 1940
-Shepherd-Hill Bill, 1940
-Clippings file re C.O.s, draft
Conscription: Solenberger's interviews, 1944-1947
Defense policy/Freedom of the Seas
Disarmament/Economic Aspects
Fallout/bomb shelters
Hitler, as Chancellor: speeches printed in newspapers
Military force/power in U.S. foreign policy

Box 7
Subject files
Nuclear bombs
Pacifism, the churches and peace
Peacetime conscription
Referenda on war
Refugees, including Jewish
Rule of Law
Venereal disease/prostitution
World reorganization, Peace terms and proposals

Box 8
Correspondence with and notes about, in ERS handwriting
ERS trip to British Columbia, 1951
ERS visit with Doukhobors, 1955, correspondence
ERS visit with Doukhobors, 1956
Correspondence with J. Passmore Elkinton, 1956-1957
Doukhobors, literature about 1963-1970
Doukhobors, literature about "Sons of Freedom/Freedomites"
Recipe book: Doukhobor and Quaker recipes

Box 9
American Indians
Conscription, conscientious objection by American Indians, 1940s
Reference files re: American Indian causes and issues, 1950-1959
Literature from 1950s re Menominee Tribe
Navajo education, Indian schools 1950-1951
Impact of Kinzua Dam Project, 1957-1960, correspondence
Kinzua Dam Project Treaty of 1794 Committee
Kinzua Project, Kennedy letter to Basil Williams, 1961
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Kinzua Project of the Indian Committee, 1960-1964
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Kinzua Project, 1963 Minutes and Annual Reports
Kinzua Project correspondenc (1961-1963),Walter Taylor, Representative to the Seneca Nation
Kinzua Dam and H.R. 1794, S.B. 1836, reparations to the Seneca Nation
Indian Affairs, Association Executive Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs, 1961-1963
Reference files re: American Indian causes and issues 1960-1969
Correspondence with Cheryl Johnson, 1963-1965
Correspondence with Cheryl Johnson, 1966-1969

Box 10
American Indians
Reference files: American Indian publications by several American Indian support organizations
Work Related to Crippled Children
Correspondence: 1910-1924
Correspondence: 1925
Correspondence: 1926-1930
Correspondence: 1931-1968

Re-File Box [on-site]
Material from Re-File Box, 1997

This file was last updated on July 14, 2016