Swarthmore College Peace Collection, 500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399, USA

by Anne Yoder, Archivist, 10/2000

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for the records of the United States Section of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Records of the U.S. Section were first sent to the Friends Historical Society of Swarthmore College in the summer of 1929 when the WILPF National Office moved from one office to another in Washington (DC). This accession included some material that Jane Addams had sent to the national office. In 1930, Addams donated a collection of books and personal papers relating to peace and social justice to the Friends Historical Library. Much of this material concerned her work with the WILPF, where she served as international president from its founding in 1919 until 1929, when she became honorary international president, remaining in this position until her death in 1935.

These two accessions became the foundation for the establishment in 1935 of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection (originally called the Jane Addams Peace Collection, and then the Swarthmore College Peace Collection Memorial to Jane Addams). By 1947, forty feet of material had been collected re: the WILPF International Office, and 150 feet of records from the U.S. Section. As more and more material was accessioned through the years, the WILPF material has become a major archival collection with much inherent value for scholars and anyone interested in the role of women in society and in the peace movement. Various SCPC staffpersons have taken a turn at processing the records, starting with Ellen Starr Brinton (the SCPC's first curator) in the 1930s through 1951. Archivist Eleanor Barr processed later accessions and oversaw the microfilming of the collection in 1987 (some parts had been microfilmed earlier). She edited the collection guide as well, called Records of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, United States Section, 1919-1959: Guide to the Scholarly Resources Microfilm Edition.

By 1997, enough additional WILPF accessions had been sent to the SCPC to warrant a further extended period for processing the files. Several visits to the WILPF National Office in 1997-1999 yielded even more files. Some of this material easily fit into the series parameters already established by previous archivists; however, much of it did not due to various causes. In fact, there were numerous problems related to the final processing of this material:
- There had been enough staff turnover and/or restructuring over the years that it was often difficult to discern who had created a file (often, a file included material from staffpersons who had succeeded each other in a job).
- Some boxes of material were just a jumble of papers that had no common creator or theme.
- There were thousands of duplicate items to be weeded out and discarded.
- There were gaps in the files where items from certain months or even years were missing.
- There was a different approach to filing by WILPF staffpersons through the years, where instead of perhaps keeping things according to what type of item it was (such as a pamphlet), they were later kept according to their subject matter, just to name one instance.
- As WILPF's secretarial staff decreased dramatically through the years, no set filing system was in place in later years for a new staffperson to use. Often more than one department and/or staffperson would have a file about the work that had been done on a WILPF initiative/program instead of one person being responsible to keep documentation about it.
Another difficulty arose from the fact that the microfilming of previously processed material had not been cut off at 1959. In fact, certain parts of some series were microfilmed through the 1970s. This made it impossible to start a whole new finding aid structure from 1960-1999 as was wished. Instead, new material has been added to existing series when possible, with new series added. An attempt has been made to carefully note what material is on microfilm, and other information that a researcher might wish to know. The researcher must be aware, however, that filing inconsistencies are a reality for this collection, both because of its great size and its inherent complexity, but also because of its being processed by more than one archivist through the years, all of whom had differing methodologies and understandings re: WILPF. It is highly recommended that a PICO search be done for any topic or name being researched; this will provide a list of the various places within the whole WILPF collection where material might be found. Links to the PICO search engine are included in each section of the WILPF finding aid.

The material processed in 1997-2000 does not represent a complete set of files of the National Office through 1999. There is still much filed away at the National Office in Philadelphia. More is still in the personal collections of WILPF officers (and staffpersons?), or has been given to local historical societies instead of being sent to the SCPC. Hopefully, some of the gaps will be filled in the future [note to donors: please do not send material to the SCPC that it already has; search the finding aid carefully first before contacting the Curator].

This checklist does not include any post-1999 material (except Branch newsletters). It is expected that material from 2000 on will become a whole new part of the Collection, instead of trying to add it to the pre-2000 material.
More information about WILPF can be found in the collections of Jane Addams, Emily Greene Balch, Ellen Starr Brinton, Lucy Perkins Carner, Ann Morrissett Davidon, Dorothy Detzer, Lella Secor Florence, Rose Dabney Forbes, Hannah Clothier Hull, Dorothy Hutchinson, Mildred Scott Olmsted, Mercedes Randall, Dorothy Medders Robinson, Rosika Schwimmer, Edith Reeves Solenberger, Anna Garlin Spencer, Helena Stöcker, Helena Maria Swanwick, and Lydia Wentworth, among others.

Memorabilia, oversize items, photographs, buttons/pins, scrapbooks, postcards, graphics and audiovisual material were removed and put into the appropriate SCPC collections. Measurements for this material is not included in what is listed below.

Certain of the microfilmed boxes are stored off-site, and are noted as such on the checklist. Microfilm may be borrowed by patrons through inter-library loan.

Notes about the current parts and series of the WILPF finding aid follows. Instead of rewriting Eleanor Barr's historical and/or scope notes, these are available as on-line links. Some previously established series were renamed in this latest finding aid, as noted below.

PART I: WOMAN'S PEACE PARTY [on mf reels 12:1-23] approx. 11.5 feet
Consists of general organizational files of the national office (in Chicago) such as meeting minutes and correspondence, as well as material from the State Branches. There may be some overlap between the files of the State Branches of the WPP and of what is in the State Branch files of WILPF [see Part II, Series B].
The records now located in the SCPC were received in three separate shipments. The first came from the WILPF office in Washington, DC. The second were in "lost" boxes found at Swarthmore [College?] in 1940. The third set were found in Hull-House in Chicago in 1939.

It seems likely that the "lost" boxes came from the Labadie Collection (University of Michigan), where they had been deposited by James Warbasse at the suggestion of James Baldwin. Earlier, Crystal Eastman had stored them in Dr. Warbasse's attic. Ellen Starr Brinton, SCPC curator, persuaded Agnes Inglis, curator of the Labadie Collection, to transfer the correspondence of the Woman's Peace Party and the papers of Rebecca Shelley to the SCPC; this occurred in 1940.
[from information written by archivists in 1970, 1979]

Boxes 1-8 (& part of box 9) of Series A have been microfilmed, as well as boxes 1-18 of Series B.

PART II: WILPF INTERNATIONAL OFFICE (Geneva, Switzerland) [not on mf] approx. 1.5 feet
Archived records of the WILPF International Office are at the University of Colorado in Boulder. A microfilm edition of that collection covering the period 1915-1978 was published in 1983 by the Microfilming Corporation of America [see Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Papers, 1915-1978: A Guide to the Microfilm Edition]. At that time, some of the records held by the SCPC were transferred to the University of Colorado so that they could be included in the microfilm edition [see mf reels 133:__]. Much more of the International records that were still held by the SCPC in 1997 were transferred to the University of Colorado, so that the collection would not be split between two repositories. The material kept by the SCPC has not been microfilmed. It consists of biographical information about international WILPF leaders, circular letters (i.e., form letters sent to WILPF Sections, etc.), and miscellaneous items. The SCPC plans to microfilm the complete set of WILPF International Congress reports from 1915-1998, so that they will be more readily available to the public (see Appendix C for a list of international congresses). See SCPC office files for narrative about the International Office records that resided at the SCPC until 1997. See Appendix A for lists of officers and staff through 1986. See Appendix B for scope, content & arrangement notes written by Eleanor Barr in January 1985 [these may no longer be accurate]. See Series E for a list of periodicals held by the SCPC. See Series A,4, 1915-1999: International WILPF Events & Meetings for material from the 1st International Congress of Women at the Hague in 1915.

None of the boxes in this series are on microfilm.

PART III: U.S. NATIONAL [parts on mf]

Series A,1: Historical Records, 1919-1999 (previously called General Historical Records) [on mf reels 130:1-4] approx. 16 feet
Contains such material as the WILPF constitution and by-laws, policies, research notes, histories, biographical information on WILPF U.S. leaders, handbooks and directories.

Boxes 1, 3, 5:1-5:3, 6-9 of this series are on microfilm.

Series A,2: Board, Officer and Member Meetings/Conferences and Papers of Non-Staff Leaders, 1919-1999 (previously called Meeting Minutes, Resolutions & Reports) [on mf reels 130:5-25] approx. 31 feet
Contains material from Board meetings, Executive Committee meetings, and annual meetings/conferences. Through 1971, material from more than one meeting/conference was kept in one folder; afterwards, a separate folder was kept for each meeting/conference. The series includes one box of Board-related material that documents Board Member elections, lists & retreats. Added to this series are the papers of such WILPF leaders as Erna Harris, Anne Ivey, Naomi Marcus, Bertha McNeill and Emily Parker Simon. The papers of Kay Camp are near the end of this series, out of alphabetical sequence, because more material from her is expected in the future.

Boxes 1-22 of this series are on microfilm.

Series A,3: Anniversaries and Other Celebrations, 1919-1999 (previously called Anniversaries & Celebrations) [on mf reels 130:19-22] approx. 4.75 feet
Contains material re: WILPF's 20th - 85th anniversaries, the Jane Addams centennial celebrations in 1960, and other events.

Boxes 1-5 of this series are on microfilm.

Series A,4, 1920-1959: Committees and Conferences [on mf reels 130:23-32] approx. 13.25 feet
Contains material generated by WILPF committees or at WILPF conferences. Box 11 contains folders received after microfilming from these years had been done. Boxes 12-30 are from Heloise Brainerd who headed the Committee on the Americas for many years, and contain her extensive correspondence with women in Latin America and the U.S. These boxes had formerly been filed in the WILPF International section, but were moved here in 1997 to be with other WILPF committee material from this time period (The Committee on the Americas was responsible to the international co-chairs of WILPF, but was financed by the U.S. Section). See Appendix A for an historical introduction to the Committee on the Americas. See Appendix B for historical information about the C.O. Committee and the Refugee Committee.

Boxes 1-10a of this series are on microfilm.

Series A,4, 1960-1999 -- Part 1: Committees [not on mf] approx. 8.75 feet
It was decided in 1997 to split the 1960-1999 series into two parts. This part includes the files of the various committees from this time period, such as meeting minutes and reports. Unfortunately, there is much missing material from the 1970s on.

None of the boxes in this series are on microfilm.

Series A,4, 1960-1999 -- Part 2: Events [not on mf] approx. 4.5 feet
It was decided in 1997 to split the 1960-1999 series into two parts. This part contains the files of various events. They are arranged as per the following: general; attendance at or participation in events by staffpersons and/or WILPF leaders; and, sponsorship / co-sponsorship of events by WILPF. For the most part, files kept by various staffpersons re: events were collected together into this series.

None of the boxes of this series are on microfilm.

Series A,4, 1915-1999 -- International WILPF Events & Meetings [not on mf] approx. 1.5 feet
This series consists of material from the WILPF Triennial International Congresses, the International Executive Committee and International Officers Meetings. These were kept because of the U.S. Section's involvement with these international meetings/events in some way.

Series A,5: Literature, 1919-1999 [previously called Literature and Releases] [on mf reels 130:33-37] approx. 6.5 feet
Early folders include everything printed (such as form letters, press releases, public statements) or published by WILPF. In later years, various staffpersons of WILPF kept different kinds of literature files -- some were arranged by subject, some by date, some included a miscellany of items but were not a complete set of everything put out by WILPF. In the end, most post-1959 policy statements, speeches, reports, articles by staffpersons, testimony, press releases and form letters were routed to other series, so that only material published by WILPF is included in this series, except in the case of some leaflets.

Boxes 1-14 of this series are on microfilm.

Series A,6: Legislative Office, 1946-1999 [not on mf] approx. 9.25 feet
The records of this WILPF office, located in Washington (DC), are arranged by general correspondence; lobbying efforts; publicity; policy statements / outreach; issue correspondence & action; coalitional work on issues; events sponsored and/or attended; and, papers of staffpersons. The papers of Annalee Stewart are mostly mixed in with the general files. Her personal files were removed to CDGA: Stewart, Annalee. Much of the reference material that she had collected was discarded in 1998. The office was closed for a year or more in the 1990s, but a new director is now in place who will probably be sending more material for this series in the near future.

None of the boxes of this series are on microfilm.

Series B: Branches, 1919-1999 [not on mf] approx. 68 feet
In the early years of WILPF, much of the work of the organization was carried out by the Pennsylvania Branch and the New York Branch. The files of the Pennsylvania State Branch, in particular, are extensive, with much important correspondence. As the word about WILPF was spread and its network of interested members increased, Branches sprang up all over the United States. Most of what appears in Series B was received by the National Office as members reported on their Branch activities. Some Branch newsletters are sent directly to the SCPC. Prior to 1997, the series was arranged as follows: B,1 New Jersey; B,2 New York; B,3 Pennsylvania; B,4 Other States; B,5 Pennsylvania (post-1950; B,6 Other States (post-1950); B,7 (Jane Addams Branch & Regional Branches); B,8 Branch Reports to National Office. Staff at the SCPC found this arrangement confusing though, so in 1997 a new arrangement was set up that would list the states in alphabetical order from A-W, followed by the Jane Addams Branch (for at-large members), Regional Branches/Conferences, Branch reports, and Branch newsletters. The latter were transferred to the end of Series B for ease in filing incoming newsletters through the years ahead. It is noted in the checklist when a Branch has a newsletter in this subseries. Susanna Morikawa, Archivist, was responsible for the 1997-2000 processing of this series, with some follow-up work done by Anne Yoder, Archivist. For notes about the history of some Branches, see Appendix A.

None of the boxes of this series are on microfilm.

Series C: Correspondence, 1919-1999 [on mf reels 130:38-92] approx. 35 feet
Letters in this series were arranged through 1959 into year spans, with the files in each span in alphabetical order by subject and/or personal name. These files include the correspondence of Mildred Scott Olmsted (National Organization Secretary) as well as that of other staffpersons and WILPF leaders. From 1960-1999, this was less likely to be a series in which everyone's correspondence was placed. In 1997, some boxes of correspondence from 1960-1969 were discovered that had been partially processed by a previous archivist; this material should probably have been kept with its originators' files, but because it was already separated out it was deemed to be too much work to put it all back where it belonged. Therefore, it was sorted into subseries: miscellaneous; foreign; re: trips/delegations/visits; re: events; with organizations / groups; re: WILPF initiatives / projects / involvements; with Branches. For 1970-1999 correspondence, this series contains only miscellaneous letters that seemed to have no place in any other series. Most correspondence from this time period can be found in other series in the files kept by staffpersons about their various work efforts/involvements.

The fire that occurred at the WILPF office in 1970 caused some smoke damage to the pre-1970 correspondence files. It is likely that some correspondence was damaged too much to keep, as there are gaps in the holdings of this series.

Boxes 1-60 are on microfilm.

Series D: Publicity and Media Coverage, 1919-1999 (previously called Newspaper Clippings) [not on mf] approx. 1.25 feet
This series contains publicity put out by WILPF about its activities, including advertisements and press releases, as well as media coverage of WILPF. See also 13 oversize scrapbooks of newspaper clippings etc. Researchers should be aware that much of publicity & media coverage material is found throughout other series, particularly in Series A,4 -- Part 2: Events.

None of the boxes in this series are on microfilm.

Series E: Serial Publications, 1919-1999 [on mf reels 130:93-96] approx. 3.5 feet
This series contains misc. periodicals and packets/letters sent monthly to Branches. Box 1 contains the small number of issues from six titles, none of which were a large enough run to make a phase box for. All other periodicals are in the SCPC's Periodical Collection; see list included in the checklist for this series. See Appendix A for a list of editors for the two major periodicals of the National Office (Four Lights and Peace and Freedom). In 1997, many titles that were from the WILPF International Office or Sections were sent to the WILPF International archives in Boulder.

Boxes 1-5 of this series are on microfilm.

Series F: Photographs [not on mf]
This is no longer a series. Photographs from 1915-current are in the SCPC's Photograph Collection. Contact the Curator for more information.

Series G: Audiovisuals (previously called Films, Tapes and Slides) [not on mf]
This is no longer a series. All audiovisual material, such as videocassettes and filmstrips etc., are in the SCPC's Audiovisual Collection. Contact the Curator for more information.

Series H,1: Administrative Records -- Legal, 1950-1999 (new series) [not on mf] approx. .75 feet
This series contains information about lawsuits entered into or brought against WILPF, as well as the Amici Briefs it joined.

None of the boxes in this series are on microfilm.

Series H,2: Administrative Records -- Financial, 1950-1999 (new series; formerly Series A,7: Records of the Financial Director) [not on mf] approx. 1.25 feet
This series contains budgets, income/expense statements, information re: bequests/legacies, and fundraising plans etc. Earlier material is filed under the Finance Committee in Series A,4 -- Part 1.

None of the boxes in this series are on microfilm.

Series H,3: Administrative Records -- Personnel (new series) [not on mf] approx. 1.25 feet
This series contains personnel policies, job descriptions, material re: job searches, staff meeting minutes, as well files that document various staff problems and shifts in personnel.

None of the boxes in this series are on microfilm.

Series H,4: Administrative Records -- Staff Papers and/or Departmental Files (new series) [not on mf] approx. 21.5 feet
This series contains the miscellaneous papers of various staffpersons, most of which came to the SCPC mixed in the files of other staffpersons. This series also contains the more complete files of Executive Directors, as well as files of the Membership Department and the Literature/Publications Department, to name a few. It is obvious that not nearly all the files of staffpersons and departments has been received by the SCPC. In particular, there is only one folder from Marilyn Clement who was the Executive Director in 1996-1999. In the case of Eleanor Fowler, who held several positions at WILPF, it was too difficult to separate her correspondence etc. to reflect these different positions; therefore, all of her material was kept together in boxes 3-4.

None of the boxes in this series are on microfilm.

Series H,5: Administrative Records -- Policy Statements / Outreach (new series) [not on mf] approx. 3.5 feet
This series contains the material produced by staff / leaders to spread the word about WILPF and/or to clarify its position on various issues. Included are policy statements, reports, speeches, testimony, articles/ statements, petitions (unsigned), sign-on letters, correspondence with the media and with government officials, and mailings to the Board of Directors, Branches, and others.

None of the boxes in this series are on microfilm.

Series H,6: Administrative Records -- Program and Action (new series) [not on mf] approx. 5.75 feet
This series contains material that documents the work of WILPF. Subseries include: program planning, signed petitions, endorsements, WILPF programs, work on issues, and involvement with other organizations (and/or with coalitions).

None of the boxes in this series are on microfilm.

Series I: Attacks / Red-Baiting, 1917-current (new series) [not on mf] approx. 8.75 feet
This material was formerly a special collection of the SCPC, but since it was probably first started by a WILPF staffperson it was moved to the WILPF collection. Since its inception, WILPF and its leaders have been accused of connections with communism. The FBI sent personnel to various WILPF events and Branch meetings and kept copious notes about WILPF activities. This series includes material about what WILPF termed "Attacks" on itself by various groups/persons and WILPF answers to these accusations. It also includes material re: attacks on pacifists and liberals, photocopies of the FBI files on WILPF from 1921- , and reference material on people/organizations that WILPF called "Red-Baiters." An attempt was made to provide dates for each of the FBI files; however, the FBI often included material from many years before to back up its current accusation (for instance, a report of a Branch meeting in 1960 may include a report of a similar meeting held 30 years before), thus making it difficult to establish accurate span dates.

None of the boxes in this series are on microfilm.

PART IV: JANE ADDAMS PEACE ASSOCIATION (JAPA), 1948-1999 [not on mf] approx. 7.5 feet
This material is arranged into the following subseries: Historical / General Records; Oversight of JAPA; Financial Records (the various funds administered by JAPA); Outreach (correspondence; committees; literature); Program & Action (projects; program work etc.); Papers of Staffpersons.

A mistake was made when creating the folder labels for Part IV, in that the heading "Part III: U.S. Section" was not removed from them as it should have been. The mistake was not noticed until after all the labels had been put on the folders, and it was too labor-intensive to do them all over again.

None of the boxes in this series are on microfilm.

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This file was last updated on July 13, 2009.