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Pennsylvania Peace Society 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

Organizations with the name Pennsylvania Peace Society existed as early as 1822. The records in this collection date from the late 19th century and into the first years of the 20th century. Material about earlier versions of the PPS maybe found in the records of the American Peace Society (DG 003). The Pennsylvania Peace Society (PPS) was formed in 1866 as a state branch of the Universal Peace Union (UPU). The Pennsylvania Peace Society had its roots in peace societies in Pennsylvania as early as 1822 [click here for more information (Appendix A)]. Its officers often held membership or duties in both the Pennsylvania Peace Society and the Universal Peace Union. For instance, Arabella Carter, a Quaker, served as business manager for the Universal Peace Union and as secretary of the Pennsylvania Peace Society; Alfred Love was founder of the Universal Peace Union and President of the Pennsylvania Peace Society. Several women served as Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the Pennsylvania Peace Society, including Lucretia Mott, who was the Society's third President (ca. 1870-1880).

The activities of the Pennsylvania Peace Society included holding peace fairs, neighborhood "parlor" meetings, musical programs featuring the Peace Band, Mother's Peace Days, lectures on peace and internationalism, and war relief work, which included knitting woolen garments as well as raising funds for food relief. The Pennsylvania Peace Society championed the cause of temperance, worked for the elimination of boxing bouts, the regulation of firearms, and the abolition of capital punishment, and attempted to uplift public morality through education in public schools. It also gave tacit approval to woman suffrage. The minute books record the debates occasioned by often ambivalent goals and objectives as the Pennsylvania Peace Society struggled to maintain an identity separate from the well-known Universal Peace Union.

The Pennsylvania Peace Society sought to spread its principles through dissemination of its printed materials, public meetings, the issuance of memorials, and letter-writing campaigns to local, state and national leaders. It disbanded in 1928.

This collection, until it was reprocessed in April 2003, contained material from its possible predecessor groups (though there is no indication that there were any ties between the groups other than bearing the same organizational name), which were divided into four series: I -- Pennsylvania Peace Society, 1823-1829 II -- Pennsylvania Peace Society, 1839 III -- Pennsylvania Peace Society, 1850-1851 IV -- Pennsylvania Peace Society, 1866-1928 This material, as so arranged, was microfilmed under N.E.H. Grant #RC 27706-77-739. For the finding aid that relates to this microfilmed material, click here (Appendix B). After looking closely at the entire collection, it was decided to de-accession Series I-III, and place the few items into their proper place in the SCPC's Restricted collections. These consist of The Advocate of Peace (1823-1824) and Advocate of Peace and the Christian Patriot (1829); a brief note about the 2nd Pennsylvania Peace Society written by a Peace Collection archivist; Proceedings of the Convention of the Friends of Peace of the State of Pennsylvania (1850), a circular announcing the first annual meeting of the PPS (1851), and Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Peace Society at its First Annual Meeting (1851).

The material that is left in this collection consists of that which is by and about the PPS that started in 1866. It consists of three minute books about the Society's meetings (1892-1928); loose material that was removed from the minute books; and various publications, letters, manuscripts and notes, etc. Five ribbons were removed to the Button/Pin/Ribbon Collection.

See also the records of the Universal Peace Union (DG 038) and the American Peace Society (DG 003) for more information about the PPS.

The records are in chronological order.

This collection is available on microfilm (reel 82). The microfilm of this collection is organized as follows: Series I. Pennsylvania Peace Society, 1822-circa 1829; Series II. Pennsylvania Peace Society, circa 1839; Series III. Pennsylvania Peace Society, 1850-1851; Series IV. Pennsylvania Peace Society, 1866-1928. Arrangement is chronological. Series IV arranged by type of material, then by date. The bulk of the microform (Series IV) is records of the fourth Pennsylvania Peace Society primarily for the period 1893-1928. Included are three minute books, pamphlets and other publications, scattered correspondence, newspaper clippings, peace songs, and small flags and other memorabilia. Information about Arabella Carter and Alfred H. Love may be found in the collection. Series I and III contain items from the previous Pennsylvania Peace Societies, 1823-1829 and 1850-1851. (Series II, currently vacant, is reserved for material from a Pennsylvania Peace Society mentioned in secondary sources which was organized about 1839). Microfilm is available on-site by appointment and through interlibrary loan from the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

Gift of Arabella Carter, 1932.

Collection re-processed and checklist revised by Anne Yoder, April 2003; Finding aid prepared by Chloe Lucchesi- Malone August 2009.

The 1846 "To the Women of the city of Philadelphia, and of the United States generally, the friendly address of the undersigned women inhabitants of the City of Exeter in England ," which is a 28.5 feet scroll with 1,623 signatures, has been removed to the SCPC Restricted area. It includes an unpublished draft reply from Lucretia Mott titled "From the Women of Philadelphia: U.S.A. ..." (1846). Ellen Starr Brinton wrote an unpublished manuscript about the creation of the scroll, which was a response to the U.S.-Canadian border dispute ("54 degrees - 40 degrees or fight") of the time.

Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

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.

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

Minute Book [bound], 1893 - 1908 (January).
Box 1 [SCPC-2223] Reel 82
Minute Book [bound], 1908 (January) - 1916.
Box 1 [SCPC-2223] Reel 82
Minute Book [bound], 1917-1928.
Box 1 [SCPC-2223] Reel 82
Loose material removed from Minute Book (1896-1908): letters, reports, etc., 1895-1906.
Box 2 [SCPC-2224] Reel 82
Loose material removed from Minute Book (1896-1908): letters, reports, etc., 1907.
Box 2 [SCPC-2224] Reel 82
Loose material removed from Minute Book (1896-1908): letters, reports, etc., 1908-1916.
Box 2 [SCPC-2224] Reel 82
Loose material removed from Minute Book (1908-1916): minutes of Parlor/Neighborhood meetings, 1911-1913.
Box 2 [SCPC-2224] Reel 82
Radical Peace Convention, 1868 (November).
Box 2 [SCPC-2224] Reel 82
Miscellaneous manuscripts and letters, 1894-1911.
Box 2 [SCPC-2224] Reel 82
Miscellaneous letters, 1912-1918.
Box 2 [SCPC-2224] Reel 82
Meeting minutes; resolution; meeting minutes, 1913-1917.
Box 2 [SCPC-2224] Reel 82
Meeting minutes, 1918 (January-June).
Box 2 [SCPC-2224] Reel 82
Meeting minutes; field work report, no date; donations received for war relief; Miscellaneous, 1919-1926.
Box 2 [SCPC-2224] Reel 82
Constitution, publications, newsclippings, Miscellaneous, 1866-1914, 1866-1914.
Box 2 [SCPC-2224] Reel 82
Correspondence and notes re: ribbons.
Box 2 [SCPC-2224] Reel 82
Scope and Contents

ribbons removed to Button/Pin/Ribbon Collection

Print, Suggest