Helen Mears Papers
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
Helen Mears was a writer and journalist, especially interested in Japan and Asia. She was born November 1, 1900 and her family lived in Towanda, Pennsylvania. Mears graduated from Goucher College in 1922. She was married briefly to Burton LeDoux, but that relationship ended in 1935. Mears first traveled to China in 1925, spending a year in Beijing. Ten years later Mears spent nine months in Japan. Out of the trip to Japan she published two books and a series of essays that appeared in The New Yorker. Mears traveled throughout Asia, the Soviet Union, Europe, and parts of South America. After World War II Mears traveled again to Japan served in an official capacity as a member of the U.S. labor advisory committee. Out of this trip Mears wrote her most political work on international relations of Asia with the West. From the 1950s through the 1960s Mears wrote occasional articles on Vietnam, critiquing European and U.S. involvement there. Mears was a board member of the War Resisters League in the 1950s and worked against the H-Bomb. She was also interested in civil rights issues. Mears lived most of her adult life in New York City and died there in 1989.
Helen Mears published several books on Japan. These include: Mirror for Americans, Japan, Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 1948; Year of the Wild Boar: an American Woman in Japan / by Helen Mears Publisher, Philadelphia, New York, J. B. Lippincott company ; The first book of Japan /Publication: E. Ward, 1964 Description: 69 p. : p., ill. ;, 22 cm. Note: For children. Originally published, Watts, 1953. with drawings by Kathleen Elgin. Mirror for Americans and Year of the Wild Boar were later translated into Japanese. Mears also published articles in many newspapers and national magazines including The Nation, the Wall Street Journal, The Witness, the Christian Science Monitor, Liberation, and The Progressive. Helen Mears died on March 13, 1989.
The papers of Helen Mears include biographical and autobiographical materials. There are diaries, correspondence, and writings from her trips to Asia. These papers also include some professional writings and correspondence with editors and others about this work.
The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for these papers/records.
Gift of Katrina Natanagara, 2001.
Temporary checklist was prepared by Wendy E. Chmielewski, March 2005; This finding aid was prepared by Chloe Lucchesi- Malone, August 2009.
- Authors, American -- 20th century -- History -- Sources
- Pacifists -- United States -- History -- Sources
- Journalists -- United States -- History -- Sources
- Swarthmore College Peace Collection
- Access Restrictions
- Copyright to the resources created by Helen Mears has been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Copyright to all other materials is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
- Use Restrictions
[Photocopies, originals donated to the Frank Lester Ward papers at the Library of Congress]