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Archives & Manuscripts

Massachusetts Peace Society Records

 Collection
Identifier: SCPC-DG-020
Much of the material in folder 1 of box 1 is duplicated in Noah Worcester's Friend of Peace (available in the SCPC Periodical Collection), and probably most other Massachusetts Peace Society items could be found through a close reading of this periodical and early serial publications of the American Peace Society.

Folder titles are arranged below under Massachusetts Peace Society [I] and Massachusetts Peace Society [II], which refers to the two different periods when the organization was in existence.

Correspondence of the 20th century Massachusetts Peace Society was donated by Mabel Call in January 1947. Correspondents (besides those listed below) include: Percy Bliss, Le Baron Russell Briggs, Marion L. Burton, J. Augustus Cadwallader, Arthur Deerin Call, Crystal Eastman, Edward A. Filene, Sidney L. Gulick, Lucia Ames Mead, George W. Nasmyth, Harry Clinton Phillips, L.S. Rowe, William H. Short, Benjamin F. Trueblood, Lyra D. Trueblood, James L. Tryon, and L. Hollingsworth Wood.

Dates

  • 1816-1917
  • Majority of material found within 1911-1917

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Access is provided through microfilm.

The original documents in this collection are stored off-site. Please contact Curator to discuss need for original material instead of microfilm. Please contact Peace Collection staff at least two weeks in advance of a visit to discuss retrieval of off-site materials.

Copyright and Rights Information

None.

Extent

5 Linear Feet (5 linear ft.)

Abstract

The Massachusetts Peace Society was first formed in 1815, and a new organization reformed in 1911. The records of both groups have been combined here to form one archival collection.

The Massachusetts Peace Society (MPS)was the second [third?] such society to form in America on December 28, 1815, organized primarily by Noah Worcester (1758-1837), a Unitarian minister. By 1819 the MPS had over 850 members, with branches established throughout the state and beyond. The MPS merged, into the newly formed American Peace Society in May 1828. A new Massachusetts Peace Society was reorganized on April 27, 1911, with Samuel B. Capen as President and James Tryon as Secretary. It was possibly a branch of the American Peace Society. World War I put an end to the activities of the MPS.

Historical note

There were two periods in which there was an existing Massachusetts Peace Society, and the records of both groups have been put together here to form one archival collection.

The Massachusetts Peace Society was the second [third?] such society to form in America and was organized on December 28, 1815. It was founded primarily by Noah Worcester (1758-1837), a Unitarian minister. The membership list of the new Society included an array of clergymen and Boston merchants, as well as prominent men at Harvard University and in local and state government. The organization accepted persons who did not hold to a full pacifist position, attempting to unite all those who believed that war as a method of resolving conflict was both unchristian and inhumane. By 1819 the MPS had over 850 members, with branches established throughout the state and beyond. Membership fees and the sale of publications were the chief sources of financial support for the MPS, and the organization's main work was to enlighten public opinion through tracts and articles. Worcester, the Corresponding Secretary, established a periodical in 1816, entitled Friend of Peace, which was published at irregular intervals; by 1828, fifty numbers had been issued. In addition, Worcester published numerous tracts, with as many as 27,500 being distributed in 1828 alone. These were sent both to Americans and to foreigners. Support for the MPS dwindled during the 1820s and the retirement of Worcester in 1828 bled it of much of its vitality. With the New York Peace Society and other local peace societies, the MPS merged, into the newly formed American Peace Society in May 1828.

A new Massachusetts Peace Society was reorganized on April 27, 1911, upon the departure from Boston of the American Peace Society's offices to Washington, D.C. Samuel B. Capen was elected President and James Tryon as Secretary. It was possibly a branch of the American Peace Society. The MPS held monthly meetings with addresses by prominent men. It raised $4,000 in 1910 and had a series of Sunday afternoon talks in Tremont Temple during 1914-1915. In 1916, it purchased a stereopticon, and Secretary Tryon gave illustrated lectures on peace in many cities and towns of New England. U.S. entry into World War I put an end to the activities of the MPS.

[sources: Pacifism in the United States by Peter Brock (1968) and The American Peace Society: A Centennial History by Edson L. Whitney (1928)]

Arrangement

The files of the Massachusetts Peace Society are organized chronologically.

Ownership and Custodial History

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Parts donated by the Massachusetts Peace Society and by Mabel Soule Call (American Peace Society).

Alternate Form Available

The collection is available on microfilm (11 reels); the scrapbook has not been microfilmed. Microfilm reels 77.1-77.11 available on interlibrary loan from Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

Separated Materials

One scrapbook of newspaper clippings (1914-1917) about the Massachusetts Peace Society was removed to the Oversized Items Collection: Scrapbooks. This item was not included on the microfilm.

Bibliographic References

Guide to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, 2nd ed., p. 40-41.

Legal Status

Copyright to the Massachusetts Peace Society records created by the organization has been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Copyright to all other materials is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

Prepared by Peace Collection staff; revised by Anne Yoder, August 2005; This finding aid was prepared by Chloe Lucchesi- Malone, August 2009.

Source

Creator

Description rules
dacs

Revision Statements

  • 2018: The file list was standardized in Summer 2017 by Mary Olesnavich in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace. Tessa Chambers added the notes in Fall 2017. This finding aid was updated by Wendy E. Chmielewski, March 2019.

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

Contact:
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Swarthmore 19081-1399 USA US
610-328-8557
610-328-8544 (Fax)