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Committee for a Nuclear Overkill Moratorium Records

Identifier: SCPC-DG-146

Scope and Contents

The NOMOR records consist of: correspondence, minutes of committee meetings, press releases, serial publications, newspaper clippings, and reference materials from other organizations. There are gaps in the correspondence for the years 1981-1983 and 1986. Also incomplete or missing are: financial data for the years 1983-1986; media coverage of NOMOR for 1979-1986; and fundraising information for 1982-1986.

Three photos (of missiles) were included. These were retained in the reference files. Correspondents and individuals active in NOMOR include: Robert C. Aldridge, Marjorie Craig Benton, Richard Carlson, Robert A. Cleland, Randall Forsberg, Martha L. Schmidt, Ben Solomon, Robert Warren Stevens, Tyler Thompson, Melvin A. Traylor, Jr., and Kale Williams.


  • Creation: 1976-1986


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

The collection is open for research use.

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.

Copyright and Rights Information


Historical Note

In March, 1976, a group of people seeking to slow the nuclear arms race began meeting in Chicago under the auspices of the American Friends Service Committee. Their aim was "to call for a moratorium on the production of nuclear weapons as a unilateral American initiative...for a first step toward stopping and reversing the upward spiral of the international arms race." These meetings led to the formation of NOMOR, Committee for a Nuclear Overkill Moratorium, in October 1976. The position of Executive Director was held by Robert A. Cleland from September 1977 until May 1986. Ben Solomon, founder and treasurer (1976-1986), wrote many of the position papers which underpinned the philosopy of the organization. NOMOR helped to launch the North Shore Peace Initiative in 1979. .In 1981, NOMOR joined with five other Chicago-area peace organizations to form the Illinois Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign.

In an effort to take its message to the public, NOMOR engaged in letter-writing campaigns to newspapers and public figures, and sought coverage in local and national media. It sponsored conferences, workshops, and benefits, both to educate the public and to raise funds, a perennial problem. Notable among these events was the "Symphony for Survival", a concert featuring members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

NOMOR maintained liaision with other groups having sympathetic aims, such as the North Shore Peace Initiative, Pax Christi, and the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies. It shared sponsorship for two major conferences: "Turning Point '77" (1977, co-sponsored with SANE); and "The Church's Reponse to the Nuclear Arms Race" (1978, co-sponsored with Clergy and Laity Concerned and others.)

The two periodicals published by NOMOR were News from NOMOR and Freeze Facts (a limited-distribution sheet for participants and supporters of the Symphony for Survival).

NOMOR probably received its greatest support from the local academic community. It had a Hyde Park-Kenwood chapter in the University of Chicago area; many NOMOR supporters also came from regional institutions such as the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus and the Argonne National Laboratory. The Chicago Area Faculty for a Freeze on the Nuclear Arms Race had aims similar to NOMOR's and worked closely with it.

In spite of efforts to make NOMOR a nationally recognized organization, its constituency never broadened outside of the Chicago region, possibly because its aims overlapped with better-known groups such as the National Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy.

NOMOR ceased operation in the summer of 1986.


4 Linear Feet (10 Boxes)


Founded in Chicago in 1976, NOMOR's aim was "to call for a moratorium on the production of nuclear weapons as a unilateral American initiative...for a first step toward stopping and reversing arms race." The founders and activists of NOMOR engaged in media campaigns, sponsored conferences, workshops, and benefits, and was involved with the "Symphony for Survival." News from NOMOR was published between 1978 and 1986. In spite of regional support, especially from the academic community, NOMOR was not able to make the transition to a nationally-recognized organization, possibly because its aims overlapped with those of other similar groups. NOMOR ceased operation in the summer of 1986


As they were found when deposited, the NOMOR records are divided into three sections: Series A. Historical and organizational files. They are arranged by subject, then chronologically within each file. In the correspondence files there is some overlap with correspondence found in section II. Series B. Files for specific individuals, organizations, and events. They are arranged alphabetically, then chronologically within each file. They include both correspondence and reference material Series C. Reference files, arranged alphabetically by subject, contain only secondary printed materials.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Deposited by Robert Cleland, June 1986 [acc. 86A-077]

Separated Materials

  1. Two buttons
  2. One bumper sticker

Legal Status

Copyright to the NOMOR records created by the organization has been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Copyright to all other materials is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

Processed by Barbara Addison in May, 1993.

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

Revision Statements

  • 2018: The file list was standardized in Summer 2017 by Min Cheng in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace. Elisabeth Miller added the notes in Fall 2017. This finding aid was updated by Wendy E. Chmielewski, April 2020.

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 reproductions from Swarthmore College Peace Collection Library

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