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World Peace Foundation Records

Identifier: SCPC-DG-055

Scope and Contents

In 1963 the World Peace Foundation offered to deposit their early correspondence and other records at the SCPC, which -- along with a small amount of printed material that was already on deposit -- comprised eleven document boxes. Other accessions followed, which included much correspondence from George Blakeslee (President of the Board of Trustees), as well as from Directors Raymond Rich, S. Shepard Jones, Leland Goodrich, and Raymond Dennett. Material primarily about Edwin Ginn and/or Ginn & Co. was removed and made into a CDGA collection.

A removal form in the collection cites audiovisual material that could not be found on the AV database in 2007, which may mean that the items were lost at some point. These were: 1) a Speak-o-Phone phonograph record "Address of President A. Laurence Lowell, WEEI, 10:30 p.m., February 17, 1932"; 2) audiotape reel (reel-to-reel) "Informal Panel Discussion with Mrs. Shapiro, Barghooun, Tucker, Gyorgy," June 21 [no year, but found originally with 1945-1946 material]; 3) audiotape reel (reel-to-reel) "Informal Panel Discussion with Gibson, Nason," June 21 [no year, but found originally with 1945-1946 material]; 4) audiotape reel (reel-to-reel) "Roundtable With Mrs. Shapiro, Fischer, Trainor," June 21 [no year, but found originally with 1945-1946 material]

Note that annual reports from after 1915 were published as part of WPF's pamphlet series.

Records documenting the efforts of the WPF past 1960 were deposited by them at Tufts University [see finding aid]. Information about the current work of the WPF may be viewed at its website. A small number of pamphlets from 1961-on are available at the SCPC in the World Peace Foundation collected records (CDGA).

Correspondents include Norman Angell, Frank Aydelotte, Anna B. Eckstein, Alfred H. Fried, Hamilton Holt, David Starr Jordan, Theodore Marburg, Edwin D. Mead, George Nasmyth and Baroness Bertha von Suttner.


  • Creation: 1910-1960


Language of Materials

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

Edwin Ginn was the primary force behind the World Peace Foundation's establishment. Born in 1838, he became an eminent Boston publisher through his firm, Ginn & Co., and a philanthropist. Ginn began publication of an international library of pamphlets and books in 1902, under the editorial leadership of Edwin D. Mead (using the imprint of The International School of Peace). Ginn believed that the world spent too many millions on war, and almost nothing on peace, and tried to establish a one million dollar fund for this latter cause. He announced on September 23, 1909 that he would himself contribute $50,000 yearly to the fund. His primary interest was in disseminating information that would inculcate the methods of reason in the settlement of differences between nations and condemn the use of force. He tried to enlist women's groups as an untapped source for peace, and felt that businessmen, if properly appealed to, could and would put an end to war. Ginn founded The International School of Peace as an organization on July 12, 1910; it's name was changed to the World Peace Foundation on December 22, 1910. The WPF's headquarters was at 29A Beacon Street in Boston, moving to 40 Mt. Vernon Street in February 1913. Its original 70-member Advisory Council included such notables as Jane Addams, Booker T. Washington, and Nicholas Murray Butler. The President of its Board of Trustees for many years was George Blakeslee. WPF directors included S.Shepard Jones, Leland Goodrich, and Raymond Dennett. WPF staff included Margaret Bates, Josephine Bukow, Anna Struges Duryea, Denys P. Myers, and Anna Eckstein as its Geneva Representative.

Following the death of Edwin Ginn in 1914 and World War I, during which the WPF supported the use of force, this organization increasingly became involved in international relations and decreasingly a force in the more narrowly defined peace movement. Its Board of Trustees included presidents and professors from prestigious colleges and universities. It was considered by many to be conservative and prosperous. During the 1920s, the WPF hoped to be the official agent in the United States for the sale of League of Nations publications, as well as for the International Labor Organization and the Permanent Court of International Justice. The WPF's primary focus was the dissemination to libraries of literature promoting world order. It worked closely with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to hold conferences about documentary and research problems in the field of international relations. In 1947, the WPF began publication of a quarterly journal International Organization, the bulk of which consisted of factual summaries of the work of 35 international organizations. It also published a yearly volume entitled Documents on American Foreign Relations. In 1951, again in cooperation with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, it held the Canadian-American Conference, hoping to overcome diverging points of view between the American and Canadian governments about policies in the Far East.


21.25 linear ft. (21.25 linear feet.)


In 1902, Edwin Ginn began publication of an International Library to promote knowledge about peace. In July 1910, he established the International School of Peace which, in December, became the World Peace Foundation. Its purpose was to promote better international relations and world order by preparing and distributing specialized literature, mostly to college and university libraries, and by holding conferences. It was closely allied with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and supported formation of the League of Nations and the Permanent Court of International Justice and, later, the United Nations.


Material in this collection is divided into five series: A: Administrative Records; B: Programmatic Efforts; C: Correspondence; D: Publications; and E: Reference Material. Series A includes historical background information about the World Peace Foundation.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the World Peace Foundation, November 1963, December 1963, July 1974, July 1978 [acc. 63A-092, 63A-095, 74A-053, 78A-048b]

Related Materials

For related materials search the library's online catalog

Bibliographic References

Guide to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, 2nd ed., p. 82.

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

This checklist was prepared in December,1963, for the first 10 boxes; additional accessions were processed by Martha Shane in 1982 [under NEH Grant No. RC 20111-81-1655]; entire collection was re-processed by Anne Yoder in August, 2007.

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.

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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