Relief and Reconstruction Program records
Scope and Contents
Materials in this collection include reports and announcements, application materials, correspondence, student work, instructional materials, course schedules, survey responses, and newsletters. The materials date from 1941 to 2008, with the bulk of the materials pertaining to the program's operation between 1943 and 1945. The majority of correspondence in this collection consists of letter sent and received by Douglas Steere, the program's director and professor of philosophy. There are a substantial number of undergraduate and graduate student papers on such topics as relief and education in the Nordic countries, public health, facilitating aid to war victims, volunteerism, nutrition, and implementing social services. The collection also includes responses from Unit members from a survey conducted by Henry Dasenbrock and newsletters with updates from Unit members.
- Majority of material found within 1943-1945
- Haverford College. Relief and Reconstruction Unit (Organization)
The collection is open for research use
Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)
Biographical / Historical
Haverford College's Relief and Reconstruction program was established in early 1943 to provide training to students interested in relief and rehabilitation work in Europe during World War II. Directed by Douglas Steere, the program offered both undergraduate and graduate coursework and was open to male and female students. Many of the male undergraduate students were religious conscientious objectors. The program also worked with conscientious objectors in Civilian Public Service camps and sent students to the camps to complete field work. The program was built around language study, specialized study on Central and Eastern Europe, social work practices, and the philosophy of reconstruction. Stuednts also received daily training in manual skills, including masonry, carpentry, and first aid, as well as "special techniques," which included public sanitation, nutrition, and bookkeeping. The Relief and Reconstruction program worked in close cooperation with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), although there was not an official partnership with the organization.
The Relief and Reconstruction graduate program cohorts, known as units, were comprised primarily of female students. Graduate training consisted of four 12-week quarters and 12 weeks of field work to earn a Master of Arts degree. Haverford graduated two of these units, deciding not to admit a third unit in September 1945. The second Relief and Reconstruction unit completed their training in January 1946.
1 Linear Feet (3 boxes)
The materials in this collection pertain to Haverford College's Relief and Reconstruction program, and include reports and announcements, application materials, correspondence, student work, instructional materials, survey responses, and newsletters. The materials date from 1941 to 2008, with the bulk of the materials pertaining to the program's operation between 1943 and 1945.
Arranged topically and chronologically. Student work is arranged alphabetically by last name.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The following materials were a gift of Mary Esther Dasenbrock in August 2004: Responses to a questionnaire sent out by Henry Dasenbrock and returned by Relief and Reconstruction Unit members Sarah Comfort Cary Richardson, Mary Esther Dasenbrock, Barbara Haggard Frey, Priscilla Goldthwait, Jean Gross, Betty Johnson, Laurama Pixton, Constance Rendall, Joy Fowle Smith, Lois Stanton, Rebekah Taft, Elizabeth Bowen West; a copy of the courses taught in the 1940s; and a list of members in the unit.
Processed by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, completed September 2021.
- Relief and Reconstruction Program records
- Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger
- September, 2021
- 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 reproductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library
370 Lancaster Ave
Haverford PA 19041 USA US