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Friends Committee on National Legislation Records

Identifier: SCPC-DG-047

Scope and Contents

Chiefly correspondence and reference files including materials about and correspondence with other organizations including American Friends Service Committee, A Quaker Action Group, Friends Coordinating Committee on Peace, and other organizations of the Society of Friends; information on Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, Committee for Nonviolent Action, Consultative Peace Council, Federal Council of Churches (later National Council of Churches), Fellowship of Reconciliation, National Council for Prevention of War, National Peace Conference, National Service Board for Religious Objectors, SANE, and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; material of and relating to FCNL staff members including E. Raymond Wilson, Edward F. Snyder, George I. Bliss, Wilmer A. Cooper, Jeanette Hadley, Charles H. Harker, and Frances E. Neely; records and correspondence of several affiliated committees including Friends Committee on Legislation of Northern California (organized in 1952), Friends Committee on Legislation, Southern California Section, and Illinois-Wisconsin Friends Committee on Legislation.

Includes reference files relating to disarmament, conscription, universal military training, conscientious objection, pacifism, United Nations, Vietnam war, civil liberties, civil rights, food supply, and Indian rights. Correspondents include Stephen L. Angell, Emile Benoit, Charles J. Darlington, Thomas A. Foulke, Paul Comly French, Hugh B. Hester, Dorothy H. Hutchinson, J. Stuart Innerst, Homer A. Jack, Samuel R. Levering, Mary Cushing Niles, Philip Noel-Baker, Victor Paschkis, Lawrence Scott, Annalee Stewart, John M. Swomley, and George Willoughby.

Some series have more detailed box lists available as a PDF.


  • Creation: 1943-


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.

Historical Note

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) had its roots in the Friends War Problems Committee (FWPC), which worked in 1940 with government officials who were responsible for drafting the Selective Training and Service Act. The fact that provisions for religious conscientious objectors in this legislation were broader than those of the earlier Conscription Act was due in great part to the perseverence of the FWPC. With the increasing emergence of post-war problems relating to the securing of a just and durable peace, the concern arose among Friends that a broad-based organization for dealing with them was needed. This led to a meeting convened in Richmond, Indiana, on June 11, 1943, at which the FCNL was established. A General Committee was set up, with three members selected from the various Yearly Meetings and additional members representing Friends' organizations around the country. It appointed its own Executive Committee. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the FCNL's first Executive Secretary was E. Raymond Wilson. In 1962 he became Secretary Emeritus, and Edward Snyder, who had been serving as Legislative Secretary, took his place.

The FCNL is still active (in 2009). working on such issues as preventing war, Iraq, banning cluster bombs, nuclear disarmament, immigration, Native American rights, and protecting the environment. Its web site may be accessed at


200 linear ft. (200 linear feet.)


A Quaker lobbying group established in 1943 to bring conscience and spiritual values to the political process in Washington; it grew out of the work of the Friends War Problems Committee in 1940.


The early material from FCNL, arranged under the supervision of FCNL staff person, Jeanette Hadley, was sent to the SCPC in 1951. Subsequent accessions were added to the collection without rearrangement by SCPC staff. A very detailed checklist, including much historical background, was created by E. Raymond Wilson and is available at the SCPC for viewing. The online checklist is an attempt to interpret Wilson's somewhat confusing listing of series/boxes/folders; there may be some mistakes accordingly. It should be noted that later accessions do not follow the same Series outline.

Records of the Race Street Draft Committee (1939-1940) and the Friends War Problems Committee (1940-1943), and material from the Civilian Public Service Fund Committee of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (1941-1946) were removed to other collections.

Bound volumes of meeting minutes, newsletters, mailings and other material from the national office of FCNL (1966-current), and from the California FCL, are stored in the Periodical Collection. They will be incorporated into the FCNL Records collection when shelf space is available. Accessions of records received after 19885 are listed at the end of this finding aid, in order of receipt. These materials are unprocessed.

Custodial History

Deposited by the Friends Committee on National Legislation, 1951 and after.

Custodial History

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of FCNL staff, 1951-current.

Related Materials

  1. Edward F. Snyder Papers (DG 241)
  2. E. Raymond Wilson Papers (DG 070)
  3. Friends War Problems Committee Collected Records (CDG-A)

Related Materials

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

Separated Materials

  1. Photographs removed to the Photograph Collection
  2. Audiocassette tapes made by E. Raymond Wilson removed to the Audiovisual Collection
  3. Financial Ledgers (1943-1944, 1944-1945, 1945-1946, 1946-1948, 1978) removed to the Scrapbook Collection
  4. 4 Documents - The Ascendency of the Military in American Life” by National Council Against Conscription and ERW removed from Series D, Box 89
  5. Seven pieces of material on Investigation of the National Defense Program under S. Res. 71 removed from Series D, Box 89
  6. Tristram Coffin - Washington Watch, published by Business Executives Move (BEM), Numbers 1-36, February 6-October 15, 1968; Numbers 37-72, October 22, 1968-March 5, 1970; Numbers 73-108, March 19, 1970-August 19, 1971 transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection files

Legal Status

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

General Note

This entry replaces MS 60-2198.

Processing Information

Mostly processed by E. Raymond Wilson and other FCNL staffpersons; online checklist created by Anne Yoder (Archivist), May 2009.

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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