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Josephine Wertheim Pomerance Papers

Identifier: SCPC-DG-129

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the Jo Pomerance papers, which is found in Series I,is an original alphabetical subject file dealing with disarmament andarms control, the fight for a non-proliferation treaty in the late 1960s, and United Nations reform, in addition to organizations and activities in which Pomerance was involved in her peace-making role.

Bearing the original titles that Pomerance gave them, these files contain correspondence, material written by Pomerance, and reference material. In Series II, ten notebooks also include correspondence, much of it of a more personal nature (i.e. letters of appreciation and thanks), newsclippings about and articles by her, programs of events in which she participated, and reference material.

Subjects covered in these notebooks include the Jerome Weisner report on underground nuclear testing (1965), a panel titled "Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: The Role of International Organizations" (1967), Pomerance's Swords into Plowshares Award (1968), and the Justice Goldberg Press Conference sponsored by the Educational Committee to Halt Atomic Weapons Spread (1969). A sound tape of this event is found in the SCPC Audio-visual collection.

Series III contains writings by Pomerance and files she titled "Experience" which contain biographical material. There is a considerable amount of records from two organizations led by Pomerance: the Disarmamanet Issues Committee, which was part of the United Nations Association of the United States of America, and the Educational Committee to Halt Atomic Weapons Spread, organized under the auspices of the Disarmament Issues Committee.

Correspondents include Homer A. Jack, Donald F. Keys, Betty Goetz Lall, Arthur Larson, Porter McKeever, and John Silard.


  • Creation: 1952-1980


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


Biographical Note

Jo Pomerance was born in 1910 and lived most of her life in Cos Cob, Connecticut. The following is a resume found in the Pomerance papers. It is dated 1979, one year before Pomerance's death in 1980. More biographical information can be found in Box 20.

"Ms. Pomerance is a Consultant, United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 1977 to date. She is United Nations Observer for the Americans for Democratic Action,1972 to date.

"She was a founder and is presently Co-Chairperson with Dr. Betty Goetz Lall, of the ad hoc Task Force for the Nuclear Test Ban, 1971 to date. "Ms. Pomerance is also presently a member of: - The Board of Directors of Americans for Democratic Action. - The National Board of the United Nations Association of the United States of America. (United NationsA/USA) - The Commission to Study the Organization of Peace. - The Council of the Arts of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. - During May- June 1978, she was an Advisor to the United States Mission, United Nations Special Session on Disarmament.

"From 1970-1977, she was Co-Chairperson of the United Nations Association/United States of America`s Committee on Arms Control, Disarmament and Peacekeeping of the Conference of United Nations Representatives, United Nations Association/United States of America Council of Organizations.

"From 1972-1977, she was President of the Southwest Fairfield County (Connecticut) Chapter of the United Nations Association/United States of America "Ms. Pomerance was a member of the Carter-Mondale Task Force on Foreign Policy during the 1976 presidential campaign. "In 1972, she was a special consultant to the Senate Subcommittee on Arms Control and International Organization (The Hon. Edmund S. Muskie, Chairperson) and to the Members of Congress for Peace through Law (The Hon. Dick C. Clark, Chairperson).

"In 1971, she received a special award from the United Nations Association/United States of America in recognition of her work on the Disarmament Issues Committee from 196l-1971, and for her "long and outstanding service to disarmament and a better world order."

"In 1970-1971, she served as a member of the Democratic Policy Council Committee on Arms Control and Defense Policy (Paul C. Warnke, Chairperson).

"In 1965, she received the "Swords into Plowshares" award from the Atomic Industrial Forum for her work in promoting the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and the peaceful uses of atomic energy. The award culminated two years of work by the Educational Committee to Halt Atomic Weapons Spread, an ad hoc group founded and directed by Ms. Pomerance under the Chairmanship of Dr. Arthur H. Larson of Duke University. . "In 1965, Pomerance was appointed to the Arms Control and Disarmament Committee of the National Citizens Commission for International Cooperation (working for the United Nations peacekeeping section) under the chairmanship of Dr. Jerome Wiesner, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"In 1963, she helped initiate the campaign to win public support for a nuclear test ban agreement, acting as Secretary for the Citizens Committee for a Nuclear Test Ban - Ambassador James J. Wadsworth, Chairperson.

"In 196l-1962, she was special advisor on Non-Governmental Organizations to the United States Mission to the United Nations. Previously she served as United Nations Observer on Disarmament Issues for the American Association for the United Nations, an office she is currently filling for Americans for Democratic Action.

"In 1950, she assisted in the formation of the Committee for World Disarmament and World Development, a project of the Jane Addams Peace Association of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

"Pomerance has lectured and written widely on the subject of disarmament and nuclear control. She has been called to testify before Congressional Committees on disarmament issues, and has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Star, The St. Louis Post Dispatch, The Boston Globe and other newspapers. She has also written for such publications as The Nation, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and others. She has participated in many conferences such as Pugwash and Stanley Foundation Strategy for Peace conferences.

"Pertinent material published by her ad hoc Task Force for the Nuclear Test Ban was used in President Carter's noted address at the United Nations in May of 1978. Dr. Richard Gardner of Columbia University, one of President Carter's chief foreign policy advisors said of Jo Pomerance, 'There is no one who has done more to achieve a nuclear test ban treaty.'

"A graduate of Smith College, Pomerance received an M.A. in Political Science from The New York School of Social Research. She is married to Ralph Pomerance, an architect. They have three children. She is the granddaughter of the late Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr., who served in President Wilson's administration, the niece of Henry Morgenthau Jr., Secretary of the Treasury under Franklin D. Roosevelt, and sister of Barbara Tuchman, author of The Guns in August, the 1963 Pulitzer Prize selection."


10.34 linear ft. (22 boxes)


Josephine W. Pomerance was a peace worker best known in the areas of disarmament and United Nations reform. She was an observer at the United Nations, and she wrote, lectured, and consulted on disarmament and arms control subjects. Pomerance also worked with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.


Most of the Pomerance papers came directly from her family in 1980 after her death. The rest were sent to the Committee for National Security, who then sent them on to SCPC in 198l. The two accessions were interfiled in alphabetical order, except for the notebooks which were placed in Series II and writings by and material about her which she called "Experience", found now in Series III.

Because there were so many printed documents from both the Disarmament Issues Committee and the Educational Committee to Halt Atomic Weapons Spread, these were placed together for the purpose of eliminating duplicates and establishing chronological order. Records from both these organizations are found with other United Nations Association/United States of America material.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Pamela Pomerance Johnson, Ralph Pomerance, 1980, 1981[Acc. 80A-077]; 1981 [Acc. 81A-137, 81A-140].

Related Materials

For related materials, search the library's online catalog

Separated Materials

Many items were removed from the Pomerance papers. These include books, periodicals, and pamphlets, which, when appropriate, were added to other locations in SCPC. United Nations documents were discarded after noting the code number on a removal sheet. Newspaper clippings that made no mention of Pomerance were also discarded.

Bibliographic References

Guide to Sources on Women in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, p. 22.

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 by Martha P. Shane in September, 1986; this finding aid was prepared by Chloe Lucchesi- Malone in August, 2009.

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.

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