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Louis A. Friedman Papers

Identifier: SCPC-DG-238

Scope and Contents

Much of the collection consists of planning materials for trips or events inthe Soviet Union and Former Soviet Republics as well as Brazil, Cuba, and China. Louis Friedman pursued issues relating to peace and the environment in these locations through his work with Promoting Enduring Peace, EarthKind, and People's Action for Clean Energy (PACE). The collection also contains information dealing with the planning, publicity, and reports of different river cruises, including the Mississippi Peace Cruise which Friedman organized. His international activism is also represented by papers and photographs detailing his and his wife, Judi Friedman, traveling to educate with her environemental children's book.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1973-2003


Language of Materials

Materials are in English; minimal amounts of Slavic languages.

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

I was born on December 13, 1934 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. where I was raised, and lived until 1952. My peacemaking work started when I was very young. I went from relative to relative (from both sides of my parents), whose homes were within blocks of each other. They were of different backgrounds. As the family diplomat, I worked so hard at bringing them together that I was nicknamed “striped pants”. I graduated from Williams College with a B.A. with honors in English in 1956 and received my master’s degree from Yale in 1957. Thereafter, I did graduate work at Harvard, Stanford, and Trinity College. I received a prize for public speaking and a national first prize in a short story contest. From 1957 to 1978 I was a teacher of English to grades seven to twelve and was the founding director of an alternative multi-racial pluralistic award-winning high school, Westledge School in Simsbury, Connecticut.

From 1982 to 2000, I was the assistant to the Director and Director of Media Relations of Promoting Enduring Peace (Woodmont, Connecticut), and producer and press coordinator for EarthKind (Humane Society of the United States, Washington, DC). My work during these years was always partnered with my wife Judi Friedman, an award-winning children’s book author and environmentalist. We traveled as citizen-diplomats under the auspices of Promoting Enduring Peace and EarthKind, focusing on matters of peace and environment. We worked in Cuba, Bermuda, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Brazil, Romania, and China, concentrating on the Former Soviet Union (FSU), Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and countries of Central Asia. We partnered with agencies (such as the United Nations, UNICEF, Peace Corps, ISAR [Institute of Soviet American Relations]); embassies (such as Denmark); foundations (such as Counterpart, Soros, Travelers); as well as dozens of large and small organizations and corporations in these countries and in the United States. The Trust for Mutual Understanding (Rockefeller Foundation), made it possible for us to bring many Soviet/Russian delegations to the United States where we extended our peace and environment work.

While in a country, I would meet with officials employing my skills of patience and open-mindedness, conciliation, mediation, reconciliation, conflict resolution, peace-making; and my knowledge of the media. I made some fifteen citizen-diplomatic trips to the FSU (including Republics), Russia and Ukraine, visiting many major cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov, Stavropol, Kiev; and many smaller cities, towns and villages. I participated in dozens of conferences in Moscow – at the Kremlin, at the Russian White House regarding issues of the Cold War: nuclear weapons; pre-Perestroika/Glasnost; environmental degradation; and media relations.

I helped organize and participated in river cruises in Russia, Ukraine, and the United States, bringing together citizens from the Soviet Union, Russia, and the United States and many other countries. One such cruise was on the Mississippi River in 1986. After two years of preparatory work, Promoting Enduring Peace won permission from the U.S. State Department to extend visas to the largest bloc of Soviets ever allowed into the United States up to that date. My work was cited by David Courtright in Peace Works, The Citizen’s Role in Ending the Cold War (Westview Press, 1993; p. 197).

The Mississippi Peace Cruise was a deeply moving experience. This historic event was a dramatic symbol of a new awakening in U.S. – Soviet understanding and friendship and an eloquent refutation of the logic of the Cold War. Like the churning of the great paddlewheel [of the Delta Queen], the cruise marked a turning in public awareness. Press coverage greatly enhanced the impact of the cruise. It proved to be one of the most successful peace media and cultural events of the decade [organized by Promoting Enduring Peace’s] media coordinator, Lou Friedman. Furthermore, all three television networks and CNN covered the cruise as did Time magazine (August 18. 1986; James Carney). There were over 200 newspaper articles and editorials across the United States.

In the late 1980’s and 1990’s, I arranged the trip and escorted members of the U.S. media (electronic and print) through many Soviet cities. One such reporting titled Agricultural Perestroika in Gorbachev’s home region of Stavropol, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for the Des Moines Register. Another report, titled The Red Dawn, included hitherto unseen first hand footage of the Chernobyl Zone and won a television Emmy for the best news mini-series for NBC.

In the first open election in modern Russia, I supported the candidacy of Artur Chilingarov, currently one of the Speakers of the Duma. Chilingarov’s consultant, Mikhailovich Slouzhivov, was my trusted colleague in all matters bilateral, until his death in 2009.

I have participated in many marches at the Nevada Test Site, the Pentagon, and the White House. I am currently a consultant to PACE (People’s Action for Clean Energy, Connecticut), Jelly Jam the People Preserver, and on the Board of Directors of Beyond Nuclear (Takoma Park, Maryland).

During the last years of the 1990’s, it became obvious to Judi and me that the greatest global environmental problem was nuclear power, and its allied horror threatening world peace, nuclear weapons. We also felt that our activism could do the most good by educating in our own country whose presence in both fields is paramount in the world. Thus, we currently work with PACE, where Judi is the Director, and Beyond Nuclear (Maryland) where I am a founding member of the Board.

PACE is a public health and environmental organization formed in 1973 to promote the development of alternative sources of energy, especially all forms of solar energy; to encourage efficient use of energy; to develop a spirit of conservation; and to challenge Connecticut’s commitment to nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abandon both to safeguard our future. From uranium mining through waste stockpiling, nuclear power and nuclear weapons threaten human health, safety and security. Furthermore, the two technologies are inextricably linked posing an unacceptable nuclear proliferation risk.

Thus, since having worked with the government of China and having had a paramount role in Earth Day in Beijing in 2000, we have concentrated our activists’ work in the United States.

Lou Friedman Canton, CT 06019

Both Friedmans died July 26, 2016.


35 linear ft. (35 linear feet.)


Louis A. Friedman has worked internationally with Promoting Enduring Peace, EarthKind, People's Action for Clean Energy (PACE), and other organizations on peace and environmental issues. Along with his wife, Judi Friedman, environmentalist and award-winning children's book author, he traveled as a citizen-diplomat and also brought several Soviet/Russian delegations to the United States to further communication on these issues. Friedman has organized peace river cruises and trips through Soviet cities for United States media, and participated in marches at the Nevada Test Site, the Pentagon, and the White House. Both Friedmans died July 26, 2016.


This is an unprocessed collection. The Papers of Louis Friedman remain in the order in which they were donated.

Custodial History

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Louis Friedman, 2010 [Acc. 10A-049, 10A-068, 10A-093]; 2011 [Acc. 11A-001, 11A-008, 11A-011].

Related Materials

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

Separated Materials

Items removed: Photographs, Buttons, Books, Posters.

Legal Status

Copyright to the materials created by Louis Friedman has been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Copyright to all other materials is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

This collection is only partially processed. This finding aid was created by Jean Turner, 2011.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2017: The file list was standardized in Summer 2017 by Mary Olesnavich in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace. Tessa Chambers added the notes in Fall 2017. This finding aid was updated by Wendy E. Chmielewski, February 2019.

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