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Edith R. Solenberger Papers

Identifier: SCPC-DG-176

Scope and Contents

The Edith Reeves Solenberger papers includes biographical information about her and her family, correspondence, her writings (published and unpublished), information about her efforts and involvements (including trips), and reference material. It should be noted that in the 2017 reprocessing of this collection, some of the secondary material on Native Americans and Doukhobors was discarded as being readily available elsewhere. Folders that include correspondence are noted as such.

Accession 08B-061 was acquired through purchase in 2008. This accession includes a school copy book of Edith Reeves, dated 1897-1899; a diary, dated 1900; an herbarium (n.d., but perhaps from 1913); wedding announcements and correspondence, 1913; telegram from Edith Reeves on women's rights, 1912; University of South Dakota [?] graduation program for Althea Margaret Reeves [Edith's sister?], 1914; three family photographs-two of Emerson G. Reeves [Edith's father], one of Emma Sprague Reeves [Edith's mother]. Edith Reeves, and Harrison Sprague Reeves [Edith's brother], circa 1892; one lock of hair [unidentified].


  • Creation: 1897-1976
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1925-1979


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

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.

Copyright and Rights Information


Biographical Note

Edith Gertrude Reeves was born in 1886 in South Dakota. She attended the University of South Dakota and graduated from Radcliffe College, earning an AB in 1907 and an AM in 1910, with an interest in crippled children. Reeves married Edwin Solenberger of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania and moved to that community in August of 1913.

Within the Philadelphia community, Edith Solenberger had a notable impact on the treatment of children with physical disabilities. This crusade began as early as 1910 with her work with the International Society for Crippled Children in Elyria, Ohio, and lasted until1968.As Edith Reeves, she authored the semiunal volume of its day on this topic in 1911 entitled Care and Education of Crippled Children in the United States.. The Easter Seal Society for Crippled Children and Adults issued a Letter of Introduction describing Edith Solenberger as a Charter Member of the Society's Board of Directors. She was a pioneer in work on behalf of disabled children. In 1949, she visited post-war Europe inspecting hospitals institutional homes, schools and agencies for persons with orthopaedic handicaps.

Edith Solenberger was Co-Clerk of the Lansdowne Monthly Meeting, a founder of the Lansdowne-Upper Darby branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), and an officer of the Delaware County WILPF Council. Her career included social work, writing, and public speaking. She was WILPF's referent on Native Americans in the 1950s.

Together with her husband, Edwin, Edith traveled to the 1955 Pacific Yearly Meeting as a representative of the Lansdowne Monthly Meeting. Other Quaker sponsored trips included those to Canada to learn about the Doukhobors, a Russian immigrant-based pacifist Christian group. Warm friendships developed as a result of her visits in 1951, 1955 and 1956.

In addition to her great interest in the Doukhobors, Edith Solenberger also paid much attention to Native American issues, especially concerning the Kinzua Dam Project from 1957 to 1964. Edith Solenberger sponsored a young Native American student with whom she corresponded from 1963 to1969.

Edith Reeves Solenberger's life journey ranged from a frontier childhood in the South Dakota Territory to international scholarly travel, and included family commitments, rearing four children, and spiritual and intellectual dedication to many diverse causes. She died at the age of 90 in 1976.


4 Linear Feet (4 linear ft.)


Edith Gertrude Reeves Solenberger (1886-1976) was a Quaker peace activist who participated in a broad range of organizations.


The arrangement of this collection is simple: biographical information, correspondence, writings, efforts and involvements, and reference material.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Robert Solenberger, 1994, 1995, [acc. 94A-082, acc. 95A-036]; purchase [acc. 08B-061]

Related Materials

  1. DG 043: Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section (Series B, 5: Pennsylvania Branch)
  2. Diary of Edith Reeves available at the University of South Dakota
  3. Diary of Edith R. Solenbeger and photograph at Schlesinger Library, Harvard University

Related Materials

For related materials, search the library's online catalog

Separated Materials

Photos were moved to the Photograph Collection. Lock of hair and herbarium were moved to the Memorabilia Collection.

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

Processed by Kate Myer in October,1993; reprocessed by Anne M. Yoder in October,2017.

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 reproductions from Swarthmore College Peace Collection Library

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