Scope and Contents
In 1945, Ellen Starr Brinton, Curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, corresponded with Eckstein about transferring her papers to the SCPC. No agreement was reached, but Eckstein did show interest. After her death, her papers and books were donated to the SCPC by her nephew in exchange for CARE food parcels.
Anna B. Eckstein was born in Coburg, Germany in 1868, the daughter of a German officer. Eckstein left Germany in 1886(?) for America, where she became a naturalized American citizen and joined the Boston [Massachusetts] Peace Society. She became a school teacher and later the principal of the School of Modern Languages in Boston.
Eckstein was influenced by various religious and peace thinkers, including Baroness Bertha von Suttner, Boston pastor Carles Gordon Ames, and the American writer Martha Griffith Brown. Eckstein became an ardent champion of world peace, going on many world tours to promote this ideal. She gave numerous lectures and wrote many articles on peace problems of the United States and of Europe. Eckstein was a vice-president of the American Peace Society from 1905 to 1911 (she took an active role in the 2nd National Peace Congress, held in Chicago in May 1909). Edwin Ginn sponsored her after she left the School of Modern Languages in order to engage wholly in peace work.
Eckstein saw as her greatest work the collection of signatures for "The World Petition to Prevent War Between Nations," to be signed by heads of the 44 signatory powers of the Hague Conventions. It was to serve as a "mutual pledge of the 44 nations to respect, as inviolable, every nation's fundamental factors of life and natural liberty. . . ., to adjust all international interests by treaty, and by arbitration reduce the necessity of armaments." She presented the first version of the petition in 1907 to the second Hague Conference with some two million signatures, at which time she was received by the Queen of the Netherlands and her Ministers. Eckstein began to prepare another petition for the 3rd Hague Conference. By 1914 Eckstein had some 6 million signatures, but estimated that local peace groups had collected many more not included in that count. Eckstein's efforts in this regard were ended by the advent of World War I.
Eckstein was an honorary member of the Liberal Christian League in London and of many other social and education societies.
After her retirement, she moved back to Coburg, Germany. During the Nazi regime, she was curbed in her peace activities. In 1942 she tried to have her manuscript "The Will to Power Harmonized" published, but the Nazi authorities refused permission. Eckstein died in Coburg on October 16, 1947.