Skip to main content

Peace Collection

Image of Dove with olive branch, Poster, Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, 1970 [cropped]

Department Overview

Swarthmore College Special Collections, including the Friends Historical Library, the Peace Collection, and the College Archives, are open to approved researchers.

Use this form to learn about Covid-19 safety protocols and to schedule an appointment.

Documenting non-governmental efforts for nonviolent social change, disarmament, and conflict resolution.

Established over 90 years ago, the Peace Collection is the most extensive research library and archive collection in the United States focusing solely on movements for peace around the world. The collection includes primary resource materials such as manuscripts, photographs, posters, audiovisual items, stamps, bumper stickers, political buttons, flags, and other ephemera. There are also secondary resources such as books, periodicals, and academic journals that document non-governmental efforts for nonviolent social change, disarmament, and conflict resolution between peoples and nations.

The Peace Collection was established in the early 1930s when Jane Addams donated her books and papers related to peace and social justice, as well as her Nobel Peace Prize, to Swarthmore College.  The organization she helped found, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, began to store its early records at Swarthmore in the late 1920s.  

The Peace Collection has grown to encompass the papers of many individuals and the records of numerous organizations, reflecting the spread of the peace movement (from about 1815 to the present) in the U.S. and around the world. The Peace Collection also holds material on the subjects of religious and secular pacifism, disarmament, conscientious objection, nonviolence, civil disobedience, anti-militarism, the Vietnam war era, African-American protest, civil rights, racial justice, feminism, civil liberties, the anti-nuclear movement, and other reform movements. More than half of the  primary resources in the collection document the prominent role of women in the peace movement and activities in the public realm.