Relief and Reconstruction Program 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
Haverford College's Relief and Reconstruction program was established in early 1943 to provide training to students interested in relief and rehabilitation work in Europe during World War II. Directed by Douglas Steere, the program offered both undergraduate and graduate coursework and was open to male and female students. Many of the male undergraduate students were religious conscientious objectors. The program also worked with conscientious objectors in Civilian Public Service camps and sent students to the camps to complete field work. The program was built around language study, specialized study on Central and Eastern Europe, social work practices, and the philosophy of reconstruction. Stuednts also received daily training in manual skills, including masonry, carpentry, and first aid, as well as "special techniques," which included public sanitation, nutrition, and bookkeeping. The Relief and Reconstruction program worked in close cooperation with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), although there was not an official partnership with the organization.
The Relief and Reconstruction graduate program cohorts, known as units, were comprised primarily of female students. Graduate training consisted of four 12-week quarters and 12 weeks of field work to earn a Master of Arts degree. Haverford graduated two of these units, deciding not to admit a third unit in September 1945. The second Relief and Reconstruction unit completed their training in January 1946.
Materials in this collection include reports and announcements, application materials, correspondence, student work, instructional materials, course schedules, survey responses, and newsletters. The materials date from 1941 to 2008, with the bulk of the materials pertaining to the program's operation between 1943 and 1945. The majority of correspondence in this collection consists of letter sent and received by Douglas Steere, the program's director and professor of philosophy. There are a substantial number of undergraduate and graduate student papers on such topics as relief and education in the Nordic countries, public health, facilitating aid to war victims, volunteerism, nutrition, and implementing social services. The collection also includes responses from Unit members from a survey conducted by Henry Dasenbrock and newsletters with updates from Unit members.
Arranged topically and chronologically. Student work is arranged alphabetically by last name.
The following materials were a gift of Mary Esther Dasenbrock in August 2004: Responses to a questionnaire sent out by Henry Dasenbrock and returned by Relief and Reconstruction Unit members Sarah Comfort Cary Richardson, Mary Esther Dasenbrock, Barbara Haggard Frey, Priscilla Goldthwait, Jean Gross, Betty Johnson, Laurama Pixton, Constance Rendall, Joy Fowle Smith, Lois Stanton, Rebekah Taft, Elizabeth Bowen West; a copy of the courses taught in the 1940s; and a list of members in the unit.
Processed by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, completed September 2021.
- Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger
- Finding Aid Date
- September, 2021
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research use
- Use Restrictions
Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)
Includes responses from Relief & Reconstruction Unit members Sarah Comfort Cary Richardson, Mary Esther Dasenbrock, Barbara Haggard Frey, Priscilla Goldthwait, Jean Gross, Betty Johnson, Laurama Pixton, Constance Rendall, Joy Fowle Smith, Lois Stanton, Rebekah Taft, and Elizabeth Bowen West.