Society for Social Responsibility in Science records
Held at: Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections [Contact Us]370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Society for Social Responsibility in Science (SSRS) was founded in 1949, the convening meeting and Constituting Assembly both held at Haverford College. It was conceived as "an organization of workers in the natural sciences to maintain free inquiry concerning the relations of science and society, the maintenance of scientific integrity, a concern for the increasing use of science for destructive ends, a belief that science and technology should contribute to the benefit of mankind, never to harm or destroy, and that each person has the moral responsibility to consider the end results of his work as far as it can be seen". Although it did not identify itself as a pacifist or a Quaker organization, many members were also members of the Fellowship for Reconciliation (a pacifist organization). The group's constitution stated "Realizing our responsibilities to all of humanity, we a group of scientists and engineers, in order to direct our efforts and activities more effectively toward a constructive world peace and a human world, and to stand clearly against any war trend, whether in the United States, Russia or any other country…," in other words, indicating that they were not anti-Soviet, as many organizations of the time were, though they did not want to be perceived as Communist-leaning. As well, they planned to operate an employment service and an educational program concerning their society and to stimulate the formation of similar groups in other fields of human endeavor. SSRS published a monthly newsletter. It ceased operation in circa 1976.
Members of the organization included Albert Einstein, Max Born, Anton Carlson, Victor Paschkis, Franklin Miller, O. Theodor Benfey, Herbert Jehle, Kathleen Lonsdale, Theodore B. Hetzel and M. Jane Oesterling, among others.
In 1949, Franklin Miller, a Professor of Physics at Kenyon College, was one of the founding members of SSRS. He was president of SSRS from 1953 to 1955 and editor of the monthly SSRS Newsletter distributed to some 500 readers world-wide from 1949 to about 1960.
Victor Paschkis was born in Vienna in 1898 where he studied at the Vienna Institute of Technology. He received degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering in 1921 and 1922 respectively and a science doctorate in 1923. From 1922 to 1930, he worked in various German and Austrian industries. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1938. He worked in industry until 1940, then as Director of the Heat and Mass Flow Analyzer Laboratory at Columbia University. He was the author of several books and published in numerous technical and scientific journals, as well as in the Friends Intelligencer, including in the fall of 1948 after which the first meeting of SSRS was convened at Haverford College. He was the founder and president of SSRS from 1949 to 1950. Victor Paschkis was a member of the Society of Friends.
Otto Theodor Benfey (1925-) was born in Germany, received his B.S. from London University in chemistry in 1945 and a Ph.D. in 1947. He was a post-doc fellow at Columbia University in 1947. He came to Haverford College as an assistant professor in 1948. He served as president from 1952 to 1953, as well as librarian and delegate at large in the SSRS. Benfry was a member of the Society of Friends.
Theodore Brinton Hetzel (1906-1990) was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania and attended Haverford College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1928. He completed graduate studies in mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, the Technical University of Munich (Germany), and Penn State University. He returned to Haverford College in 1936 as a member of the faculty and later chair of the Department of Engineering, remaining on the faculty until 1972. Hetzel served on the Indian Committees of the American Friends Service Committee and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Adopted by the Seneca Nation of Indians, he was given the Seneca name Ong Gwa Dao, meaning "our friend."
(Information from internal evidence, from the T.B. Hetzel papers and from the July 27, 2007 letter and August 11, 2007 email of Franklin Miller (in box 1 of collection)).
The Society for Social Responsibility in Science records provide an in-depth look at the founding, history, activities and correspondence of the Society for Social Responsibility in Science. It dates from 1948 to 1976 and is divided into five series: "I. Founding documents," "II. Correspondence," "III. Committees," "IV. Miscellaneous," and "V. Publications." Included are minutes of council and annual meetings from the year before its inception in 1949 and until its culmination in circa 1976. There is extensive correspondence of officers, especially Victor Paschkis, Franklin Miller and Otto Theodor (Ted) Benfey, but also of other officers, including Herbert Jehle, Theodore Hetzel, Truman Kirkpatrick, Jane Oesterling and Edward Ramberg, often discussing what the core or nature of the organization should be. Probably the most noteworthy correspondent who also became a member of SSRS is Albert Einstein writing in 1950 on his involvement with atomic weapons as theoretical, rather than practical, and his decision not to be involved in war work. Other important scientists or others who were correspondents are: Emily Greene Balch, Hans Bethe, Max Born, Anton Carlson, Aldous Huxley, Kathleen Lonsdale, Samuel Marble, A.J. Muste, Shigeru Oae, Priyadaranjan Ray, Dorothy Thompson, Gilbert White and Norman Whitney. One of the primary topics, not only in the correspondence, but across the various efforts of the organization was how to attract and keep members. Toward this end, SSRS published a monthly newsletter, and all the extant copies of the SSRS newsletter from 1949 to 1974 have been assembled here.
Several committees were formed by the SSRS, one of them, the Occupational Division, offered assistance to scientists seeking employment. Other committees were the Education Committee providing programs for an understanding of the work of SSRS to the public; the Small Tools Committee, which put tools "on the ground" in various foreign countries in order to assist in a variety of development projects, especially subsistence rural living. It also distributed books which had belonged to scientists who no longer needed them; also, the Nominating Committee and Executive Committee.
Materials were received from O. T. Benfey and the bulk from Franklin Miller. While, in general, these materials were integrated, it was deemed appropriate to keep separate the correspondence donated by Benfey. Therefore, there is correspondence provided by Franklin Miller which includes letters by and to Benfey and there is correspondence provided by Ted Benfey which includes letters of Miller. For the sake of clarity, each set of correspondence is also identified with the donor's name. Housed with the correspondence donated by Benfey are also three folders relating to his publications. The arrangement of all the Miller materials was mostly provided by Franklin Miller.
All correspondence dates are standardized rather than transcribed, viz: year month day.
Though not all letters are listed individually, those that are highlighted are done so on the basis of content of the letter or historical importance of the letter writer.
Gifts of Otto Theodor Benfey and Franklin Miller, 1998 & 2007 respectively.
Gifts of Otto Theodor Benfey and Franklin Miller, 1998 & 2007 respectively
The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.
Finding aid entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Garrett Boos.
- Benfey, O. Theodor (Otto Theodor)
- Born, Max
- Carlson, Anton J. (Anton Julius), 1875-1956
- Bethe, Hans A. (Hans Albrecht)
- Miller, Franklin
- Einstein, Albert
- Paschkis, V. (Victor)
- Muste, Abraham John, 1885-1967
- Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- Haverford College Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- October, 2010
- The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project. Finding aid entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Garrett Boos.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Standard Federal Copyright Law applies (U.S. Title 17)
Note: Documents, other than letters, by authors listed here are included along with – or instead of – letters, as arranged by the originating body.
Letter writers include: M. Allen, American Friends Service Committee, Antioch Press (Freeman Champney), John Baer, Roland Bainton, C. Edward Behre, Jeanette Allen Behre, OttoTheodor Benfey, Francis K. Benner, Lewis Berg, H.W. Berke, Hans Bethe, J.S. Bixler, Bart Bok, Max Born, Harrison Brown, Richard Burling, P.V. Cardon, Anton Carlson, C. Reed Cary, John Chittum, Vincent Cochrane, Collector of Internal Revenue, W.D. Collins, G.H. Conant, Kenneth Cooper, Emily F. Cooper, Edward Corson, Frank E. Cotton, Nancy Cross, Walter Cuthbert.
Letter writers include: Cuthbert Daniel, Janet Daniel, Leonard Dart, C. E. Davies, Seymour Eichel, Albert Einstein, Joe Engelberg, Paul Fall, Edwin Feinberg, Thomas Ferington, Ada Field, George Field, Hazel Field, F.W. Fox, Evelyn France, Lawrence Frank, Lawrence Freistadt, Nelson Fuson.
Letter writers include: W.A. Gross, Danforth Hale, Frank Hale, William Halpern, J.J. Hancock, David Hill, Marion Hollingsworth, Lewis Hoskins, George M. House, Aldous Huxley, Institute of International Education, International Development Placement Association (Peter Weiss), Herbert Isenburger, Kenneth Ives, Abigail Jackson, Herbert Jehle, Forrest Johnson, Victor Kaufman, Truman Kirkpatrick, Lee Klein, Koinonia Foundation, Bill Kuenning, F.L. Kunz.
Letter writers include: Gabriel Lasker, Winthrop Leeds, Jessica Lewis, Philip MacDougal, Samuel Marble, R. Bruce Martin, Robert Martin, Roberta Martin, Roy Martin, M. Avramy Melvin, Richard Milburn, Catharine Miles, Franklin Miller, George Moriarty, Marriott C. Morris, Philips Moulton, A.J. Muste.
Note: Jane Oesterling was membership chairman of Society for Social Responsibility in Science in 1956.
Letter writers include: The Nation, National Guardian, Victor Nekrasoff, D.W. Niehuis, Noyes, Katherine, Robert Oehlcke, Jane Oesterling, Samuel Olanoff, Our Planet, Owen, G.E.
Note: Victor Paschkis was one of the founding members of Society for Social Responsibility in Science, and his letters invite individuals to become members, serve as officers, write for the newsletter, solicit and receive contributions. It is of interest to note the names of some recipients of his letters, such as Henry J. Cadbury, Max Born, David Lilienthal, Robert Oppenheimer, Hans Bethe, Douglas Steere. Letters are arranged chronologically.
Letter writers include: Maud Paige, Joseph Pantaleone, - Pauli, William Pearlman, Drew Pearson, Peoples Mandate Comm., Jack Peterman, Abraham Pollack, Norman Polster, Henry Pommer, David Pomeroy, J. Addison Potter, Ralph Powell, Charles Price.
Letter writers include: Edward Ramberg, Michael Rice, C. H. Richardson, J. Kenneth Richmond, S.S. Roback, Rosebury Phillips, Ralph Sackley, William W. Sayre, P. Daniel Schultz, William Scott, Anatol Shneiderov, Philip Siekevitz, J. Cecil Smith, Roland F. Smith, Selden Smyser, H.C. Steinmetz, Marion Alona Penn Stow, Albert Strom, Hale Sutherland, Charles Swift, Howard Teaf, Floyd Tyson, J.A. Van Alen, Calvin Vander Werf, James Velle, Martin Vorhaus.
Letter writers include: Gladys Walser, War Resisters League, Washington Post, Eugene Weaver, Rachel Welch, J. Huston Westover, WFSW Bulletin, Gilbert White, Norman Whitney, Benn Williford, Norbert Wiener, Eleanor Wixom, Robert Wixom, Max Wolff, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, World Events, De Witte, Wykoffe, D. Robert Yarnall, Fred Zwick
Note: A number of the letters deal with publishing Benfey's articles or letters or talks.
Letter writers include: Howard Alexander, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, Albert Baez, O.T. Benfey, Bull. Of Atomic Scientists, David Burger, Barrow Cadbury, Chicago Tribune, Chemical & Engineering News, Norman Clarke, Rudolf Clemen, Vincent Cochrane, Comm. For Nuclear Information, Barry Commoner, Doubleday & Co., Francis Dry, Joseph Elkes, Errol Elliott, Joseph Engelberg, Ada Field, R.W. Freedman, Elmer Goetz.
Note: Letters include topic of membership, including Japanese and German members of Society for Social Responsibility in Science; also content for newsletter. Truman Kirkpatrick was editor of the Society for Social Responsibility in Science newsletter for some period of time.
Letter writers include: Syoji Ishimura, Istanbul American College, Herbert Jehle, A. Kastler, Truman Kirkpatrick, Paul Lacey, Chauncey Leake, D.R. Malhotra, Franklin Miller, A.J. Muste, Shigeru Oae, H.S. Osgood, Victor Paschkis, Ward Pigman, Norman Polster, H. Pouget, Edward Ramberg, Priyadaranjan Ray, The Reporter, Suzanne Rette, J.W. Robinson, Gordon Rogers, Harold Schilling, William Scott, James Staver, F. Steingardt, Jean Whitall, George Wright.
First published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, vol. XII, no. 5, under the title "The Scientist's Conscience: Historical Considerations," and later expanded for the Guilford Review in 1979.
Includes: Notes, published materials.
Note: Herbert Jehle was in the physics department at the University of Chicago and the University of Nebraska. See also Jehle's correspondence in the general correspondence, box 1.
Correspondence concerns making Society for Social Responsibility in Science information available, especially the Society for Social Responsibility in Science newsletter, price, reprints, as well as policy issues regarding membership. There are some scattered letters from people other than Jehle and Miller, but they are meant to be seen by them; also including press clippings and some brochures.
Note: Correspondence in A-Z arrangement. Many of the letters deal with membership or employment issues.
Some Letter writers include: Samuel Allison, Australian scientists, James Anderson, Max Born, Theodor (Ted) Benfey, Stephen Cary, Lyubo Dradic, Theodore Hetzel, Herbert Jehle, Franklin Miller, Shigeru Oae, Daniel Smiley, Joseph Stokes, Dorothy Thompson, Gilbert White.
Note: Primarily letters relate to the newsletter, details about meetings, e.g. date and time, distribution of leaflets, finances. Primary correspondent of Victor Paschkis's is Franklin Miller.
Note: Primarily correspondence with non-U.S. scientists, especially Mischa Cotlar of Argentina. Including:
Note: Arranged chronologically. Issues include whom to invite to membership, publicity, financial issues, methodology.
Letter writers include: Theodore Hetzel, Victor Paschkis, William Scott, Vincent Cochrane, Dan Hale, Philip Mac Dougal, Freda Kirchway, William Hewitt.
Note: Materials are arranged chronologically. Issues include whom to invite to membership, publicity, financial issues, methodology.
Letter writers include: Victor Paschkis, Edward Ramberg, William Hewitt, Philip MacDougal, Ted Benfey, Herbert Jehle.
Note: A number of services were offered to members of Society for Social Responsibility in Science, one of them being assistance in seeking employment. The Occupational Division was in charge of this effort. Ted Hetzel was for a time chair of the Division, so a large number of early letters are by and to him, especially from Victor Paschkis. Running through some portion of these letters in the early years was concern about potential Communists or Fellow travelers becoming members of Society for Social Responsibility in Science. Franklin Miller is also a frequent correspondent in the early years
Note: Composed primarily of correspondence from Franklin Miller and to him, especially from Victor Paschkis, and on the issue of potential members, procedures for membership, meetings and newsletter. Occasionally, there is letterhead and Franklin Miller is Educational Committee chair, but the issues addressed seem more related to membership
Note: Topic names were provided by Franklin Miller.
American Friends Service Committee
College Physics: Readers Comments
Communities and Dedicated Persons
Federation of American Scientists Newsletter: 4 issues: 1957-1959
History of SSRS: Officers;. Minutes (1970); information on founding, including Constitution
Infiltration: includes various publications relating to labor, military and socialism and letters which were sent to FM
Note: Topic names were provided by Franklin Miller.
A list of topics includes:
Legislation: issues of the Congressional Record, U.S. legislation related to SSRS concerns, as well as some correspondence, including from E. Raymond Wilson and VP
Miscellaneous from David Shapiro: mostly relating to the case of Morton Sobell
Nancy Cross case on discrimination of women in science, including correspondence with Cross, a Ph.D. chemist
United Nations: correspondence and cooperation
U.S. government and national Point 4 activities
Vietnam: including chemical warfare and information gathering on the effects of military use of chemical agents in Vietnam