Richard Bartlett Gregg papers
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
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Overview and metadata sections
Richard Bartlett Gregg, Esq. (born 1885 in Colorado Springs, CO, died 1974) was an American lawyer, social philosopher, and advocate of nonviolent resistance and simple living. The son of a minister, Gregg attended Harvard where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1907 and his juris doctor in 1911. He worked first as a labor lawyer, and later as a Chicago railroad union employee until discovering literature on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and his nonviolent resistance ("Satyagraha") to British colonial rule in India. Moved in an extraordinary manner, Gregg sailed to India in 1925 and immersed himself in the country, its culture, and independence movement, teaching in a village school, living for seven months in Gandhi's famous Sabarmati ashram, and acquainting himself firsthand with the lives and practices of the satyagrahis. Gregg returned to the United States in 1929 a disciple of Gandhi. During the 1930s, Gregg maintained a correspondence with Gandhi, as well as other leaders of the Indian nationalist movement and prominent figures of the American Left, and kept close tabs on the developments in India. Inspired by Gandhi's example, Gregg split his time between Boston and a rural farm, and wrote "The Power of Non-Violence" (1935) and "The Value of Voluntary Simplicity" (1936). "The Power of Non-Violence" is perhaps most famous as one of the five texts that influenced Martin Luther King Jr. to champion nonviolence in the civil rights movement. A modest man of deep convictions, Gregg was called "one of the quietest radicals in history" (Kosek) and advocated not for revolution, but for peaceful civil disobedience and self-sufficient, back-to-the-land living as tools for the transformation of Western civilization into what he believed would be a more humane and compassionate society. He wrote one further book, "Companion Plants" (1966). He had one wife, Nonie.
Kosek, Joseph Kip, "The Power of Nonviolence" (http://hnn.us/article/62813)
This collection comprises two series, "Correspondence" (from 1929 to 1938) and "Newsletters and reports" (from 1930 to 1933) concerning the Indian independence movement. "Correspondence" consists of letters (both handwritten and typed) to and from Richard Gregg and Indian nationalist leaders (including Mohandas Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Mirabehn), personalities of the American Left (Roger Nash Baldwin and Scott Nearing), and associated sympathizers. It also contains one dispatch from Father Verrier Elwin on the nonviolent activities of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and his Red-Shirts in the North-West Frontier Province, and newspaper clippings from Pyarelal Nayyar on the Bombay cotton boycott. The series is organized in alphabetical order according to author's last name (i.e., Baldwin, Desai, Gandhi, etc.). Within each folder, the letters are organized in chronological order from earliest to latest.
"Newsletters and reports" (from 1930 to 1933) consists of digests and circular letters from several publications allied with the Indian nationalist cause detailing protests, pickets, and police brutality towards prisoners and villagers. It also contains Mirabehn's (Madeleine Slade's) reports on the Bombay Riots of 1930. The series is organized in alphabetical order according to publication or organization name, with the exception of folder 25 ("Miscellaneous"). The contents of each folder are organized in chronological order from earliest to latest. This collection will be of use to researchers interested in the personalities and events of the Indian independence movement c. 1930-1933, the development of nonviolence theory, and figures of the American Left of the early 20th century.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Kevin Stuart Lee
- Finding Aid Date
- 2014 February 4
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open to researchers.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.