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Fair Lawn Committee for Peace in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia Collected Records


Held at: Swarthmore College Peace Collection [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore 19081-1399

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. 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

Fifteen concerned members of the Fair Lawn community (New Jersey) founded the Committee for Peace in Vietnam on March 1, 1967. Their initial intent was to participate in a major anti-war protest in New York in April of the same year. This grew into the larger mission of building local support for alternative solutions to the conflict in Vietnam and working until all military activity in the area ceased. The organization's membership grew to 200+ families in the six years that followed, despite substantial opposition from more conservative community members. The Fair Lawn protesters were unique in terms of the demographic they represented. While most anti-war activists in the United States were young and in college, members of the Fair Lawn community were typically middle-aged suburbanites.

In its inaugural year, the committee's activities included door to door informational campaigns for community awareness and mobilization, as well as participation in protest gatherings at regional and national levels. From 1968 onward, the group lobbied its borough government for an official condemnation of the war, wrote letters to congressional candidates and incumbents to encourage a dialogue for peace, and invited a variety of interesting and controversial speakers to its public meetings. Notable guests included Dr. Benjamin Spock (1968), GI Tom Chase, and actors Ossie Davis (1968), Alan Alda (1970), and Betsy Palmer (1970). The 1968 visit of Benjamin Spock caused some controversy over whether the group should be required to purchase additional insurance to cover the event, even though no other group had been charged in such a way; this resulted in a lawsuit which the Committee eventually won.

Four years after the group's initial establishment, co-founder and former member, Evelyn Hochman, created a scroll to commemorate the Fair Lawn community's participation in the anti-war movement. The 125-foot-long work contained newspaper clippings, letters, documents, and memorabilia that she had saved over the course of the war. The Fair Lawn Committee for Peace in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (this expanded name was adopted in 1970) did not end its efforts until the United States' complete cessation of bombing and military mobilization in Southeast Asia. On October 26,1973, the group announced its plans to finally disband, which occurred within the month that followed. Some of its members went on to create the Fair Lawn Committee for a Sane World, a local branch(?) of SANE.

In the early 1990s, the contents of this collection were removed from the scroll (described above) and items were foldered according to which portion of the scroll they came from; in May 2004, the items were arranged by date and re-foldered.

The collection is mostly comprised of scattered correspondence, material created to describe the group's upcoming activities, and newspaper clippings (which show the impressive amount of media coverage which the group's sponsored events generated). Included are letters from Ruby Dee, Robert Kennedy, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Tom Smothers, and Cora Weiss. The group's newsletter was not removed to the Periodical Collection because of the lack of full information regarding titles and dates (and whether all in the folder are actually newsletters or are some other form of announcing events). Five reel-to-reel tapes (see list below) were removed to the Audiovisual Collection.

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is not the official repository for the records of this organization.

Received 1984 [acc. 84A-093].

For the catalog record for this collection, and to find materials on similar topics, search the library's online catalog.

Processed by SCPC staff. Checklist prepared by Anne M. Yoder, Archivist, May 2004.

    Items removed:
  1. Benjamin Spock, Thomas Jefferson High School, Fair Lawn (New Jersey), April 1, 1968 [reel-to-reel tape]
  2. side 1/ Benjamin Spock, Thomas Jefferson High School, Fair Lawn (New Jersey), 1968 (April 1) (continued); side 2/ David Schoenbrun, 1968 (June 3) [reel-to-reel tape]
  3. David Schoenbrun, 1968 (June 3) (continued) [reel-to-reel tape]
  4. David Schoenbrun, 1968 (June 3) (continued) [side 2 blank] [reel-to-reel tape]
  5. Irv Thiellé (sp.?), CBS television station, 1968 (March 12) [3 inch reel-to-reel tape]

Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Access Restrictions


Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Use Restrictions


Collection Inventory

Background information re: Evelyn Hochman and creation of scroll.
Box 1
Material, 1967.
Box 1
Material, 1968 (January - March).
Box 1
Material, 1968 (April - December).
Box 1
Lawsuit re: infringement of right to meet on school property without purchasing special insurance, 1968.
Box 1
Scope and Contents

includes media coverage

Material, 1969.
Box 1
Material, 1970.
Box 1
Material, 1971.
Box 1
Material, 1972.
Box 1
Material, 1973 [disbanded in November].
Box 1
Newsletter, approximately 1967 - 1972.
Box 1
Reference Material.
Box 1

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