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Friends' War Victims' Relief Committee 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.

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The Friends' War Victims' Relief Committee (FWVRC) was established in 1870 by the London Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) for war relief to civilians during the Franco-Prussian War. War Victims Relief Committees were revived in 1876 for Eastern Europe, in 1912 for the Balkans, and in South Africa after 1900, particularly among Boers in internment camps. After the outbreak of war in 1914 the FWVRC was revived to undertake overseas work of relief and later post-war reconstruction. The work expanded, especially after the United States joined in the war in 1917, and the American Friends Service Council became involved. Relief work extended to Poland, Russia, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Russia, Germany, Austria, and Poland. Relief work was carried on until November, 1923. (There also existed the Friends' Relief Committee which, beginning in March 1920, distributed food and other goods in Russia in response to the famine there). In October 1919 the FWVRC merged with the Friends' Emergency Committee (Foreign Fund subcommittee) to form the Emergency & War Victims Relief Committee of the Society of Friends. The relief committee was again re-formed in 1940 under the earlier name, Friends' War Victims' Relief Committee, to coordinate Quaker responses to the aerial bombing of London, which had begun in September 1940. In about 1942, the FWVRC was incorporated with the Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU)'s Civilian Relief Section and briefly renamed Friends' War Relief Service, then renamed again as the Friends Relief Service (FRS) in 1943. It conducted all the Society's official short-term work at home and abroad, handing over long-term responsibilities to the Friends Service Council after the FRS closed in May 1948.

Collection is arranged chronologically.

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