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Belva Ann Lockwood Papers

Identifier: SCPC-DG-098

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Belva Ann Lockwood are an assortment of writings both by and about her. The papers include correspondence (1885-1915), pamphlets, manuscripts, and newspaper and journal articles. The bulk of the correspondence is between Lockwood and Alfred H. Love of the Universal Peace Union, and from Lockwood to her nephew, Frank Gardner, and his wife Lella Gardner. A few of Lockwood's writings and law briefs are in the collection. Much of Lockwood's office files and personal papers were destroyed soon after her death.

The manuscripts consist primarily of personal accounts by Lockwood of speeches and important law cases. Newspaper clippings and articles document Lockwood's involvement in the woman suffrage and peace movements, as well as her legal and political activities. Many of the later clippings are biographical summaries celebrating her life. There is a small amount of material about the American Woman's Republic.

Correspondents in this collection include: Arabella Carter, Amanda Deyo, Lella Crum Gardner, and Alfred H. Love.

Later materials include activities surrounding the Belva Lockwood U.S. postage stamp, issued in 1986, and biographical writings about her life and work.

In 2017, historian and Lockwood biographer, Jill Norgren dontated photocopies of Lockwood documents which she had gathered from numerous libraries and collections. This set of boxes was organized by Norgren.


  • Creation: 1878-1917, 1984, 1986, 1992


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access


Physical Access Note

Two boxes of this collection are stored on-site. The rest is off-site. Contact Swarthmore College Peace Collection staff at at least two weeks in advance of a research visit to request boxes that are off-site.

Conditions Governing Use


Biographical Note

Belva Ann McNall Lockwood (1830-1917), was the first woman attorney to practice before the Supreme Court. In the late 1870s Lockwood personally lobbied members of Congress to pass a special act admitting women to the bar of the Court. Lockwood first practiced before the Court in 1879. Among other cases, Lockwood successfully represented the Eastern Cherokee Indians in a five million dollar suit before the Court. She also represented hundreds of family members of Civil War veterans in their pension claims.

Lockwood was also an ardent supporter of women's rights. She lectured and toured the country in attempts to gather support for woman suffrage. In 1884, and again in 1888, she was the Presidential candidate for the National Equal Rights Party, capturing over 4,000 votes in six states. Her other feminist activities included serving as president of the Woman's National Press Association, and being appointed Attorney General of the American Woman's Republic, an organization founded by Marietta Stowe and dedicated to preparing women for the rights and responsibilities of full citizenship.

As an executive board member of the Universal Peace Union, Lockwood attended many international peace congresses. She wrote tracts on international arbitration and was one of the nominating members of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.


0.5 linear ft. (.5 linear ft.)


Belva Ann McNall Lockwood (1830-1917), was the first woman attorney to practice before the Supreme Court. She personally lobbied members of Congress to pass a special act admitting women to the bar of the Court, and first practiced before the Court in 1879. Lockwood ran for the U.S. presidency in 1884 and 1888, being the first woman to have a complete, national campaign for that office. From the 1870s onward Lockwood was active with the radical peace group, the Universal Peace Union, representing the organization at several international peace congresses.


This collection was originally organized into several series, but because it needed to be rearranged and there were not a lot of folders, these series were eliminated in 2023. At one point there was a fear that items were being stolen from the Lockwood papers, so a set of photocopies was made of some of the collection. In 2023, these were discarded and researchers may again use the originals. The boxes designated as Acc. 2017-022 form the section of the collection donated by Jill Norgren. The material remains in the order in which it was donated. The folder titles were assigned by Norgren.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Devere Allen, Lella Crum Gardner, Jill Norgren, and others, 1949, 1950s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s

Related Materials

For related materials, search the library's online catalog

Separated Materials

Items removed include photographs, consisting mostly of portraits of Lockwood from the 1870s to (approximately) 1910.

Bibliographic References

Guide to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, 2nd ed., p. 38.

Bibliographic References

Guide to Sources on Women in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, p. 15.

Legal Status

Copyright may have been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Or copyright may retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Peace Collection staff and was last revised in February, 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 Mary Olesnavich 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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