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Archives & Manuscripts

Topsfield Foundation Records

 Collection
Identifier: SCPC-DG-256
This collection contains the records of the Topsfield Foundation and three projects that the Foundation oversaw in the 1980s and 1990s: the Grassroots Peace Directories, OPTIONS, and Access. The Foundation records have been organized by project.

Dates

  • Majority of material found within 1983-1997

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

This collection is stored off-site. Please contact the Curator at least two weeks in advance of a visit to the Peace Collection to discuss retrieval of off-site materials.

Copyright and Rights Information

None.

Extent

33.74 Linear Feet (33.74 linear feet.)

Overview

The Topsfield Foundation was founded by Paul J.Aicher in 1982. Aicher, a former engineer later turned philanthropist created a Foundation to aid grassroots citizens' groups in working against nuclear proliferation. In 1984 the Foundation began publishing the state-by-state Grassroots Peace Directories to provide networking information for these organizations and the larger peace movement. In the mid-1980s Aicher created two additional projects: ACCESS, a security information service based in Washington, D.C., to further the exchange of information and viewpoints on international affairs and conflict transformation; and helped form OPTIONS to improve and deepen the debate over security policy and to increase public participation in policy formation. In the 1990s the Topsfield Foundation changed its focus to community dialogue and community building through grassroots organizations. In 2004 the Topsfield Foundation was renamed as the Paul J. Aicher Foundation to honor its founder. Paul J. Aicher died in 2002.

Historical

The Topsfield Foundation, originally located in Pomfret, Connecticut, was founded by Paul J.Aicher in 1982. Aicher, a former engineer later turned philanthropist created a Foundation to aid grassroots citizens' groups in working against nuclear proliferation. Aicher was a close friend of peace and civil rights activist, Homer Jack, and was influenced by Jack's work. After moving to Pomfret Aicher became active in local grassroots efforts to organize a local nuclear freeze movement. During the 1980s the Topsfield Foundation granted $50,000-$100,000 a year to groups around the country working to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Recognizing a need for a way for small local organizations to find information about each other's work the Foundation began publishing the state-by-state Grassroots Peace Directories to provide networking information for these organizations and the larger peace movement. In the mid-1980s Aicher created two additional projects. ACCESS, a security information service based in Washington, D.C., served to further the exchange of information and viewpoints on international affairs and conflict transformation. Eventually ACCESS became a project of the Unitied States Institute of Peace. The second project OPTIONS was academically based and set out to improve and deepen the debate over security policy and to increase public participation in policy formation.OPTIONS was first based at Brown University and later at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. With the end of the Cold War in the 1990s the Topsfield Foundation formed Study Circles Resource Center (SCRC), to bring together community activists focusing on community dialogue and community building through grassroots organizations. By the first decade of the twenty-first century the Foundation concentrated on the following issues: racial equity; education; neighborhoods; early childhood development; youth; poverty; diversity, immigration; and community-police relations.

In 2004 the Topsfield Foundation was renamed as the Paul J. Aicher Foundation to honor its founder. In 2008 the SCRC changed its name to Everyday Democracy. Paul J. Aicher died in 2002.

Arrangement

The Foundation records have been organized by project. Series I. Grassroots Peace Directory Series II. Access Series III. OPTIONS Series IV. FREEZE Series V. Connecticut Affordable Housing Research

Custodial History

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Topsfield Foundation/ Paul J. Aicher Foundation date/s [Acc. 2014-049].

Related Materials

  1. Homer Jack Papers (DG 063)
Related Materials For related materials, search the library's online catalog

Legal Status

Copyright may have been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection or may have been retained by the creators/authors (or their descendants), in this collection, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Please contact the SCPC Curator for further information.

Processing Information

This collection remains unprocessed. This finding aid was created by Darien Sepulveda and Wendy E. Chmielewski in February,2015.

Creator

Description rules
dacs

Revision Statements

  • 2018: The file list was standardized in Summer 2017 by Mary Olesnavich in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace. Elisabeth Miller added the notes in Fall 2017.

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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