Lydia G. Wentworth, born in 1858, was a writer and ardent peace advocate who lived most of her life in Brookline, Massachusetts. She taught school until forced to retire in 1888 because of a nervous breakdown. Despite illness which confined her to bed for over thirty years, she carried on a prolific correspondence and contributed hundreds of articles to newspapers and magazines. Many of these were used as editorials or were printed in leaflet form and distributed to peace societies.
Wentworth believed that socialism and pacifism were synonymous. In her judgment, the pacifist was the only true patriot, and she campaigned vigorously against the nationalism which taught that war is a necessary evil, wholly unavoidable. She urged women to play a role in promoting peace by seeking election to public office, and becoming leaders in the peace movement. In the mid-1940s, she began to correspond with Ruth Welty, one of the founders of the Matriots Foundation, an organization dedicated to changing "the dominant masculinity in our civilization." Wentworth herself was on the advisory committee of the Women's Peace Society, and was a member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Association to Abolish War, and the Boston League of Women Voters. She also contributed financially to many causes and organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ,and the Save the Children Fund.
Wentworth died in 1947.
The Lydia C. Wentworth Papers consist of correspondence with many friends, newspaper editors and organizations; manuscripts, printed articles and poems; and newsclippings. Her correspondents include Caroline Lexow Babcock, Emily Green Balch, Dorothy Detzer, Annie E. Gray, Charles T. Hallinan, John Haynes Holmes, Jessie Wallace Hughan, Frederick J. Libby, Robert Luce, Lucia Ames Mead, Alice Park, Henry W. Pinkham, Arthur Ponsonby, E.L. Pratt, Belle Rankin, Sydney Strong, Fanny Garrison Villard, and John M. Work.