Mercedes Moritz Randall, writer and peace worker, was born September 11, 1895, in Guatemala City where her father Albert Moritz was an American merchant. She received her B.A. from Barnard College in 1916 and a master's degree in history from Columbia University. She taught both English and history in New York City between 1916 and 1923. She married John Herman Randall, Jr., a professor of philosophy at Columbia, in 1922, and the couple had two sons, John Herman Randall, III, and Francis Ballard Randall, both of whom became professors. The Randalls lived at 15 Claremont Avenue in Morningside Heights, New York City, and summered in an old farmhouse in Peacham, Vermont. Mercedes Randall died on March 9, 1977, at the age of 81.
Already involved with pacifist and social concerns during World War I, Randall became a member of the Young Democracy. Colleagues in this group included Devere Allen, Frances Witherspoon and Tracy Mygatt, and these friendships endured throughout their lives. She was one of the early members of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, holding many executive offices including chairman of the National Education Committee. She was president of the Manhattan branch of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
Randall first met Emily Greene Balch in 1918 at a dinner in New York City sponsored by the Collegiate Anti- Militarism League. Balch was the first International Secretary of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the two women worked closely together on many WILPF projects. Miss Balch asked Randall to be her literary executor, and, in 1964, Randall wrote a biography of Balch entitled Improper Bostonian: Emily Greene Balch. Later, in 1972, she edited Beyond Nationalism: The Social Thought of Emily Greene Balch. Randall led the campaign that resulted in Balch receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946.
Randall wrote much Women's International League for Peace and Freedom material including pamphlets, reports, articles, and mailings. In 1944, she wrote a pamphlet "The Voice of Thy Brother's Blood", a plea for action to help the Jewish refugees of World War II. This was distributed by both Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the American Jewish Committee. She and Balch together wrote the pamphlet "Highlights of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom History, 1915-1946". Other writings included the appendix to the 1945 edition of Peace and Bread by Jane Addams and the introductions to Women at the Hague by Jane Addams and Occupied Haiti by Balch. She also compiled indexes for several Women's International League for Peace and Freedom periodicals.
Her publisher, Twayne, described Randall as having "devoted herself to problems of international and interracial peace and justice." After her death in 1977, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom periodical Peace and Freedom (April- May 1977) wrote: "Mrs. Randall believed strongly that the peace movement was historically important and that similar studies should be made of some of the other pioneer women and their early followers who showed clearly the connection between pacifism and freedom and feminism and economic change all over the world. She kept track of all such books that appeared and urged the peace leaders to write before they died so that others could have the record."
An online remembrance by one of Mercedes Randall's sons (Francis B. Randall?), is available at: /freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~knower/mercedesmoritzrandallcareer.htm>.