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Archives & Manuscripts

Emily Greene Balch Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SCPC-DG-006

Scope and Contents

The papers of Emily Greene Balch contain her diaries (l876-l955, scattered), journals (c. 1894-1948, scattered) and notebooks, all of which provide autobiographical background. There is a draft of an autobiography (c. 1952) with corrections and also transcripts from interviews (1950) with Mercedes M. Randall, her literary executor and biographer. Genealogical information is provided by early correspondence to and from members of her family (1840s-1890s), her mother's diary (1849), and publications about Balch family history. A small collection of material deals with friends and other people who were important in Balch's life, while another collection of articles, booklets, and releases describes Balch as others knew her.

There are tributes to her by her alma mater Bryn Mawr College, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)), Wellesley College, and John R. Randall, Jr., who wrote a pamphlet, Emily Greene Balch of New England: Citizen of the World (1946). Material is included about the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to her in 1946, with lists of the sponsors and the Nobel lecture she delivered in Oslo in 1948. The Nobel scroll she was awarded is kept at Swarthmore College, while the gold medal is housed at Bryn Mawr College.

Correspondence to and from Balch spans the years from 1875 until her death in 196l. A gap from 1907 until 1913 may have been caused by a fire at Wellesley in 1914, when many papers were destroyed. A considerable amount of important correspondence (1920-c. 1941) relates to the affairs of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), an organization in which Balch was very active. Included among Balch's correspondents are Grace Abbott, Jane Addams, Gertrud(e) Baer, Francis Noyes Balch, Francis Vergnies Balch, Katharine Lee Bates, Katherine Devereux Blake, Ellen Starr Brinton, Gertrude Bussey, Helen Cheever, Hilda Clark, Katherine Coman, Kathleen D. Courtney, Dorothy Detzer, Madeleine Z. Doty, Camille Drevet, Gabrielle Duchene, Anna Melissa Graves, Lida Gustava Heymann, Hannah Clothier Hull, Aletta H. Jacobs, Eleanor Daggett Karsten, Paul Underwood Kellogg, Louis P. Lochner, Kathleen J. Lowrie, Lucia Ames Mead, Mildred Scott Olmsted, Ellen F. Pendleton, Alice Thacher Post, Edith M. Pye, Clara Ragaz, Cor Ramondt Hirschmann, Mercedes M. Randall, Vida D. Scudder, Mary Sheepshanks, Rebecca Shelley, Florence G. Taussig, Mabel Vernon, and Lillian D. Wald.

Her writings (1884-1956) include articles and speeches--some published, others in manuscript, draft, or note form--as well as letters to the editor, book reviews, poems, a song, and research notes. There are many writings pertaining to Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Some books written by Balch are not microfilmed but can be found in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection library.

Three subject files also are part of the Balch papers. These are not on microfilm. The first, the Single Accession Subject File, was donated by Balch in 1957 and is in its original order. The second, the Multiple Accession File, is a composite file created from subject folders found in many different places among her own files. Correspondence and writings by Balch were removed from both of these subject files and incorporated into Series II and III, which are on the microfilm. Checklists giving the folder titles and span dates for these subject files are available in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Additional unfilmed material includes a third subject file that was created by Kathleen Whitaker Sayre and given to Balch, and a collection of peace literature and reference material.

Collections closely related to the Balch papers, also at Swarthmore, include the records of the Woman's Peace Party, the United States Section of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)), the American Neutral Conference Committee, the People's Council of America for Democracy and Peace, and the papers of Jane Addams, Dorothy Detzer, Hannah Clothier Hull, and Mercedes M. Randall. The collected records of the Woman's Peace Party and significant portions of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)--U.S. Section records are available on microfilm from Scholarly Resources Inc.

Dates

  • 1842-1961
  • Majority of material found within 1875 - 1961

Creator

Language of Material

Materials are in English.

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Access is provided through microfilm.

This collection is stored off-site. Please contact the Curator at least two weeks in advance of a visit to the Peace Collection to discuss retrieval of off-site materials.

Copyright and Rights Information

None.

Biographical note

Emily Greene Balch (1867-1961) was the second U.S. woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. After graduating from Bryn Mawr College in 1889, Balch studied at the Sorbonne, helped to found the Boston settlement, Denison House, and then embarked on her academic career in the economics and sociology department at Wellesley College. Her exhaustive study of eastern and southern European immigrants, which challenged nativist opinions of the time, was published in 1910. Balch's extracurricular work with the Women's Trade Union League and opposition to World War I resulted in dismissal from Wellesley, and thereafter she helped lead the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She tried to widen the purview of the League of Nations, visited Haiti and advocated withdrawal of occupying U.S. forces, and in l939 urged the United States to welcome refugees from Nazi Germany. Called a "Citizen of the World" Balch worked for peace throughout her life--through disarmament; internationalization of important waterways, aviation, and the polar regions; drug control; and the elimination of the causes of discontent and conflict among peoples.

Extent

25.75 Linear Feet (25.75 linear ft.)

Abstract

Emily Greene Balch (1867-1961) was the second U.S. woman to have won the Nobel Peace Prize. Balch embarked on her academic career in the economics and sociology department at Wellesley College. Balch's extracurricular work with the Women's Trade Union League and opposition to World War I resulted in dismissal from Wellesley, and thereafter she helped lead the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Called a "Citizen of the World," Balch worked for peace throughout her life--through disarmament; internationalization of important waterways, aviation, and the polar regions; drug control; and the elimination of the causes of discontent and conflict among peoples.

Arrangement

The two main sources of the Emily Greene Balch papers were Emily Greene Balch herself and Mercedes M. Randall, Balch's first biographer. The papers contributed by Balch were received between 1936 and 1957. Some material was in good order, but much was marked "unsorted" and therefore needed to be organized. In preparing the book, Improper Bostonian: Emily Greene Balch (1964), Randall arranged the Balch papers for her own use. The Peace Collection sometimes kept her groupings of material by subject or time period in the final arrangement. When Randall's original file folders added information, they were kept with the items with which they were found. In l983 a generic arrangement was undertaken to replace lengthy item inventories that previously had been used. Five series were organized: Series I, Biographical; Series II, Correspondence; Series III, Writings by Emily Greene Balch; Series IV, Subject files; and Series V, Peace Literature/Reference Material. The first three of these are microfilmed. Series IV and V are not microfilmed, but Balch correspondence and writings found there were moved into Series II and III and thus are filmed. Correspondence to and from Balch is found in Series II. Letters are together in chronological order by year, month, and day. If only the month is known, the letter appears at the end of that month. If only the year is known, the letter appears at the end of that year. Undated correspondence is together, following dated correspondence. When a page is missing from a dated letter, it may be found with undated correspondence. The same chronological arrangement is used with writings as with correspondence. Some of the undated writings have identification numbers which refer a researcher to the Appendix at the end of this guide. Only a very few short books by Balch are filmed. Others can be found in the library of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

Custodial History

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for these papers.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Emily Greene Balch; Mercedes Randall, 1975 [Acc. 75A-008], 1977 [Acc. 77A-003]; Ann Cope, 1989 [Acc. 89A-002]; Pattee Library, Penn State University, 1989 [Acc. 89A-148]; Dorothy Mayo Harevy, 1990 [Acc. 90A-013]; Frances Jean Wells, 2004 [Acc. 04A-072].

Existence and Location of Copies

Microfilm reels 129:1-129:24; reel 11.

Related Materials

  1. American Union Against Militarism Records (DG 004)
  2. Jane Addams Collection (DG 001)
  3. People's Council of America for Democracy and Peace Collected Records (CDG-A)
  4. Woman's Peace Party Records (DG 043)
  5. Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Records (DG 043)

Separated Materials

Items removed:

  1. Photographs
  2. Books

Bibliographic References

Guide to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, 2nd ed., p.12.

Bibliographic References

Guide to Sources on Women in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, p.7.

Legal Status

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

Processed by Martha P. Shane, 1988, revised by Wendy E. Chmielewski, 1996; this finding aid created by Wendy E. Chmielewski, June 2009.

Creator

Source

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Swarthmore College Peace Collection Library

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