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Lawrence Scott Papers

Identifier: SCPC-DG-090

Scope and Contents

This collection includes biographical material and personal correspondence of Lawrence Scott; and administrative material, correspondence, and financial records concerning his various work and projects. It also includes some reference material about these activities.


  • Creation: 1955-1965


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use



Lawrence Scott was born in Missouri in 1908. After graduating from high school in central Missouri he attended college for one year at the College of Emporia (Kansas) and two years at the University of Missouri. From 1928 to 1939 (except for two years at the University of Missouri) he worked on Missouri River Improvement (channel and flood control) under the U.S. Engineer Department, resigning as Chief Inspector of Construction in 1939.

In 1940 he attended Central Baptist Theological Seminary for one year, returned to college the following year and received his A.B. degree from William Jewell College, and then returned to Central Baptist Theological Seminary for completion of work on the Master of Theology degree. While in Seminary he was ordained to the ministry in the Southern Baptist Convention and served pastorates in that denomination, and also in the Northern Convention while in college and Seminary.

Upon graduation, he became Executive Director of the newly founded Kansas City Fellowship House, after having been presented the Rabin Award for interracial work in Kansas City the previous year. During the period at Fellowship House (1946-1950) he was Executive Chairman of the Kansas City Institute on International Relations which was under sponsorship of the Des Moines Region of the American Friends Service Committee.

He and his wife, Viola Scott, became members of the Society of Friends in 1948. They directed five student summer projects for the American Friends Service Committee in Indianapolis, Kansas City, Duluth (twice), and St. Louis. In 1951-1952 they experimented, with a group of others, in a Community of Sharing in Fairhope, Alabama. In 1953-1954 he spent a year engaged in research and writing at Pendle Hill, the Quaker Study Center near Philadelphia.

In 1954 he moved to Chicago, becoming Director of Peace Education for the Chicago region of the American Friends Service Committee. He held this position until the spring of 1957, when he reduced his commitment to AFSC to halftime, and worked halftime as the Coordinator for the Peacemakers. With Peacemakers he worked on two issues-support for Koinonia Community in Georgia against which there was violence that spring, and initiating of action against nuclear weapons testing. From the latter effort came the formation of Sane Nuclear Policy and Non-violent Action Against Nuclear Weapons. He ceased to be Coordinator for Peacemakers since they did not want to be involved and became coordinator for Nonviolent Action Against Nuclear Weapons which planned and carried through civil disobedience in Nevada in August 1957. He continued in this capacity through June, 1959. In this time period Nonviolent Action Against Nuclear Weapons organized the Nevada Project, the Washington Prayer and Conscience Vigil, the Voyage of the Golden Rule, and a peace-making project to London, Paris, Bonn, Berlin, and Helsinki, April-May, 1958.

In May of 1959 he became the Project Director of the Appeal and Vigil at Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland (the U.S. Army's biological weapons research and testing center). This project continued until the spring of 1961, when he with others from the project started the Peace Action Center in Washington, D.C.

Lawrence Scott was Executive Secretary of the Peace Action Center from its start until it closed in November, 1963. During this period the center held a vigil in front of the White House most days; distributed thousands of leaflets on the street and at the entrance to government buildings; and acted as the Washington contact and coordinator for projects in Washington by other peace groups, such as the fast at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Witness for World Order by Friends Coordinating Committee for Peace, and the CNVA sponsored walk from Quebec to Quantanamo. As a result of one of the White House vigils Lawrence Scott (and others) was arrested, and served a 30 day sentence in jail.

From June 1964 to June 1965 he represented Philadelphia and New York Yearly Meetings of the Religious Society of Friends in supervising the reconstruction of more than 30 churches of black congregations in Mississippi whose church buildings had been bombed or burned.

In June 1966 Lawrence Scott helped to found, and became a co-chairman of, A Quaker Action Group. Based in Philadelphia, it sponsored many nonviolent direct action projects of national and international scale, including the reading of the names of the Vietnam war dead on the steps of the capitol building; the voyage (three times) of the boat Phoenix to Vietnam with medical supplies; and the march from Washington, D.C. to Fort Detrick and Edgewood Arsenal against chemical and biological warfare.

In the spring and summer of 1971 he was deeply involved in a series of meetings culminating in the decision to lay down AQAG and put its resources and many of its central people into the new Movement for a New Society and the Philadelphia Life Center.

In 1973 Lawrence and Viola Scott moved from Philadelphia to McNeil, Arizona where they became involved with others in the founding of a Friends rural community. Lawrence Scott died on August 7th, 1986.


7.5 linear ft. (7.5 linear ft.)


Lawrence Scott was a construction engineer, Baptist clergyman, and Quaker activist. He worked as an activist against the testing of nuclear weapons and biological weapons research. He was the supervisor for the Friends Mississippi Project, project director of the Appeal and Vigil at Fort Detrick in Maryland, executive secretary of the Peace Action Center and a founder of A Quaker Action Group.


This collection is in chronological order, arranged according to the various projects with which Lawrence Scott was involved.

Custodial History

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Lawrence Scott, 1975 [Acc. 75A-023]

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

Processed by Swarthmore College Peace Collection staff; This finding aid was created by Darien Sepulveda, March 2013.

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

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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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