Scope and Contents
CNVA records span the years from 1957 when this organization began as Non-Violent Action Against Nuclear Weapons until 1967 when the decision was made to merge with War Resisters League [January 1968]. The New England Committee for Nonviolent Action [NECNVA] records continue until 1972 when it became the Community for Nonviolent Action, whose records continue into 1973. As the name suggests, the Committee for Nonviolent Action directed its resources against war-related activities by organizing and participating in nonviolent demonstrations including the attempted voyage of the Golden Rule and the sailings of Everyman into atomic test sites, the San Francisco to Moscow and Quebec- Washington-Guantanamo Walks for Peace, and Polaris Action against nuclear submarines. The bulk of CNVA material pertains to these projects, found especially in Series VI where releases, correspondence, and accounts document these activities, and in Series VII, which is a collection of original scrapbooks containing newsclippings, logs, and printed releases.
There are incomplete minutes of the CNVA executive committee as well as NECNVA, other branches, and sub-committees. Releases printed by CNVA include flyers, mailings for fund solicitation or to people of prominence, and news releases. There are memoranda used for inter-office, inter-branch, and inter-organization communication, both printed for wide distribution or drafted in typed or handwritten form.
There is correspondence throughout these records which is found mostly in Series V. Of importance are letters written by A.J. Muste, Neil Haworth, Bradford Lyttle, and Lawrence Scott, leaders of CNVA. NECNVA records contain correspondence of Marjorie and Robert Swann, a file on Polaris Action which it directed, and the papers of David Brown, a staff member. There is also material from other branches, particularly from CNVA-West which had many active members involved in various protests.
There are complete series of the periodicals CNVA Bulletin, Polaris Action Bulletin, and Direct Action. These records also contain photographs, correspondence and mailings with other peace organizations including the World Peace Brigade, a subject file and CNVA reference material.
Besides those mentioned above, correspondents include Barbara Deming, Scott Herrick, Gene Keyes, Ed Lazar, Barbara Lehmann, Jerry Lehmann, Barnaby Martin, Theodore W. Olson, Barbara Reynolds, Earle Reynolds, Bayard Rustin, F. Paul Salstrom, Jack Smith, John Stephens, Eric Weinberger, Jerry Wheeler, and George Willoughby.