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Art for World Friendship Records

Identifier: SCPC-DG-066

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the personal files of Maude Muller, the founder of Art For World Friendship; the administrative files of the organization, including financial reports, information on exhibits, advertising of the aims of the organization, correspondence with WILPF, educators, and supporters around the world. There is also a large collection of original art work by children (see items removed from collection below; and exhibit listed under "Related Collections").


  • Creation: 1946-1969


Language of Material

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

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.

Conditions Governing Use


Historical Note

Art for World Friendship originated in 1946 in Delaware County, Pennsylvania as a local project undertaken by a few members of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. It was the first organization to exchange child art on an international level. The founder, Maude Muller, was inspired by the suggestion of a speaker at an U.N.E.S.C.O. Conference (which she attended as a delegate of WILPF) that artists of the world should exchange their work as an aid to international peace and understanding. This seemed difficult to arrange between adult professional artists, but why not children? During the first year 1000 pictures from foreign countries were matched with a like number from American schools in the Philadelphia area. At the height of the project (ca.1955-60), practically every state in the union sent pictures for exchange and more than ninety nations on six continents were represented, including some from beyond the Iron Curtain. Pictures were received from the Soviet Union in 1964. More than 50,000 pictures a year passed through the Media headquarters.

Pictures were exchanged on a group basis under the supervision of a teacher or other adult leader, but each child who sent a picture received one in exchange to keep (preferably from a child his or her own age). Traveling exhibits of drawings from foreign children were assembled and rented for a small fee and shown all over the United States. Word of the project was spread abroad through international WILPF contacts, t he Voice of America, U.S.I.S. bulletins. The State Department's magazine Free World also carried stories on Art for World Friendship, as did the Peace Corps magazine Volunteer. As far as funds permitted, art supplies were sent to schools in underdeveloped countries where students needed them in order to participate in the project. In the United States, WILPF branches found the project a powerful peace education tool and a good way to introduce the work of the organization to their local communities. All of this was managed from Maude Muller's home in Media, Pennsylvania, with the help of a paid secretary for one day a week and the devoted services of half a dozen volunteers. Finances were a constant problem. The project was made a national committee of WILPF, but such committees never had large budgets. Art for World Friendship was given a part of the income from the Children's Theatre, another project of WILPF. Eventually AWF was made a project of the Jane Addams Peace Association, the tax-exempt educational arm of WILPF. Appeals were made to foundations and WILPF sponsors and friends of the project. American schools which participated were asked to pay a small fee. By 1968 Mrs. Muller was too ill to continue with this work. It was found impossible to interest another WILPF branch in taking on Art for World Friendship. Besides, by this time other organizations (including UNICEF) were carrying on international exchanges of children's art, so Art for World Friendship was dissolved.


19 linear ft. (19 linear ft.)


Art for World Friendship originated in 1946 as a project undertaken by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. It was the first organization to exchange child art on an international level and was entirely run by volunteers.


Series A includes the personal papers of Maude Muller and her involvement with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Series B contains the administrative records of Art for World Friendship. Series C contains the Art for World Friendship correspondence with educators and supporters from all over the world. This series is organized first alphabetically by U.S. state; and then alphabetically by countries outside of the United States. In Series D there are newspaper clippings, articles, and other examples of media coverage on AWF projects. Artwork and photographic reproductions were removed to the various appropriate collections in the SCPC.

Custodial History

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Maude Muller; the Jane Addams Peace Association, 1969.

Related Materials

For related materials, search the library's online catalog.

Separated Materials

Items removed:

  1. Slides
  2. Drawings and paintings by children around the world, including those drawn by students at Media High School, Media, Pennsylvania, were removed to Oversized Items. All but a few pieces of artwork were sent off-site in April 2012.
  3. Linoleum cuts were removed to the Memorabilia Collection.
  4. Photos were removed to the Photograph Collection.

Bibliographic References

Guide to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, 2nd ed., p. 11; Guide to Sources on Women in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, p. 5.

Legal Status

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

The original processing of this collection was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (Grant #RC-27706-77-739); collection was re-foldered and re-boxed, June 2006; this version of the finding aid was created by Wendy E. Chmielewski, June 2009 and added to by Anne Yoder, 2012.

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. Tessa Chambers 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 or requesting repoductions from Swarthmore College Peace Collection Library

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