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New York Peace Society Records

Identifier: SCPC-DG-026

Scope and Contents

Material in the SCPC includes minutes and annual reports, correspondence, yearbooks, membership lists, miscellaneous forms and lists, pamphlets, and four scrapbooks, three of which relate to the National Arbitration and Peace Congress, held in 1907. The material was transferred to the SCPC in 1940, at the time when the Society was merged into the World Alliance for International Friendship Through Religion. Included are the documents of the Society's work in organizing the League to Enforce Peace, during World War I.


  • Creation: 1818-1940
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1906-1940


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Physical Access Note

All or part of this collection is stored off-site. Contact Swarthmore College Peace Collection staff at at least two weeks in advance of visit to request boxes.

Historical Note

The New York Peace Society (New York Peace Society), organized by David Low Dodge in the summer of 1815, was the first peace society in the United States. The Society existed in four different stages, beginning in 1815, and lasting until 1940. In 1828, the first New York Peace Society became a branch of the American Peace Society. Subsequent to this merger, a second society was begun in New York City in 1837, lasting until about 1844. This group was active in advocating for arbitration in the dispute of U.S. claims against Mexico. In 1844, a third New York Peace Society was organized, but it soon disbanded (exact dates are unknown). Other forms of a group with the same name existed through the second half of the nineteenth century, one forming a branch of the Universal Peace Union.

In 1906, the New York contingent of the Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration initiated reorganization of the New York Peace Society. In February of that year a constitution was adopted and Oscar S. Strauss was elected President. Charles H. Levermore was Secretary of the organization from 1917 until 1924. Andrew Carnegie was one of its foremost supporters. The name was changed, from the Peace Society of the City of New York, to the New York Peace Society, at the time of incorporation in 1910. In October 1940, the New York Peace Society voted to merge with the World Alliance for International Friendship Through Religion, and in November of that same year the World Alliance agreed to the merger.


7.25 linear ft. (18 boxes)


The New York Peace Society was the first peace society in the United States beginning in 1815, and lasting in various incarnations until 1940.


The SCPC has treated the various incarnations of the New York Peace Society as one organization in the arranging of the files. The New York Peace Society records from the first half of the twentieth century are the most extensive. Records are arranged into three major sections: the first section contains the nineteenth century material, organized chronologically, and twentieth century administrative records; the second section contains New York Peace Society correspondence from the first half of the twentieth century; the third section of files contains material about various early twentieth century peace congresses and conferences, sponsored or supported by the New York Peace Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of The New York Peace Society and the World Alliance for International Friendship through Religion (after the two organizations merged). Gift of Scott Peterson, 1996 [Acc. 96A-060]

Existence and Location of Copies

Part of this collection is available on microfilm (reels 79.1-79.12). Microfilm is available on-site by appointment and through interlibrary loan from the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

Separated Materials

Four scrapbooks (not filmed) were removed to the Oversized Items Collection: Scrapbooks. These date from 1904-1909, 1909-1911, 1911-1912, 1912, and 1918-1919. A large white-bordered American flag (not filmed) was removed to the Oversized Items Collection: Banners [details: wool and muslim; contains 48 stars; 16 feet, 3 inches x 27 feet 1 inches; border of 32 inches x 45 inches] Oversized photograph of 1912 luncheon at Hotel Astor

Bibliographic References

Guide to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, 2nd ed., p. 49.

Legal Status

Copyright to the New York Peace Socuety materials is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

Prepared by Peace Collection staff, and updated by Wendy E. Chmielewski in January, 2005. Revised by Anne Yoder in August, 2005. The finding aid was prepared by Chloe Lucchesi- Malone in August, 2009. Finding aid updated by Wendy E. Chmielewski, March 2020.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

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 or requesting repoductions from Swarthmore College Peace Collection Library

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