Laura Puffer Morgan, throughout her lifetime, worked for organizations and movements that promoted peace, disarmament, world order and international understanding. She was an important analyst and writer on these issues for many periodicals.
Laura Puffer Morgan was born on November 22, 1874 in Framingham, Massachusetts. She graduated from Smith College in 1895 and went on to earn an M.A. from Radcliffe College in 1899. She taught mathematics, first as an instructor and later as an adjunct professor in the University of Nebraska. In 1908 she moved to Washington (D.C.) with her husband, Raymond B. Morgan, who wrote newspaper articles on government affairs. During WWI, Laura Morgan organized the first Women's Liberty Loan Conference in Washington (D.C.), and as a member of the War Service Committee of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae she established a national home for college women in government service. Then, convinced that a military arms race had been an underlying cause of the war, she turned her attention to promoting institutions and agreements that would advance arms control and disarmament, as well as world order and international understanding. In this regard, she worked as a technical analyst, coordinator of organizational efforts, educator, journalist and editor.
Morgan's role as technical analyst was unique for her time. She assessed international defense spending in the light of facts, legitimate comparison, budget constraints, costs and efficiency. Her technical reports from the Washington Conference on Limitation and Reduction of Armaments (1921-1922), the London Naval Conference (1930), and the Geneva Disarmament Conference (1932-1934) were important resources for pacifists and militarists alike. Both groups published her reports, and she testified before the U.S. Congress and the British Parliament.
Though not a strict pacifist herself, Morgan allied herself with the peace movement. She worked as foreign affairs expert and associate secretary for the National Council for Prevention of War; presided over the Committee on Permanent Peace for the National Council of Women; served as president of the District of Columbia branch of the American Association of University Women, and as vice-president at large, directing the AAUW's involvement with organizations that promoted disarmament, and establishing the AAUW's International Relations Committee; chaired the Women's Joint Congressional Committee; led the Women's World Court Committee; and headed the American Inter-Organizational Council in Geneva from 1932-1940.
Morgan believed that if accurate information and a world perspective could be shared with the public, a broad support for internationalism would emerge. She promoted this ideal through her various positions, including her membership on the District of Columbia's Board of Education in the 1920s. As a League of Nations press correspondent (1932-1933), she published articles in 2,500 newspapers and 300 weeklies, and frequently wrote for “The World Tomorrow” and “The American Teacher.” She wrote the monthly “Information Bulletin” for the Geneva Research Center from 1932-1940 while serving on its governing board. After WWII, she edited” The World Through Washington,” an American University newsletter which highlighted U.S. efforts to establish institutions for peace. Morgan maintained an active interest in world education until her death in September 1962 in Washington, D.C.
The majority of Morgan's papers are at Radcliffe College.
[Source: Biographical Dictionary of Internationalists, 1983]