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Howard Haines Brinton collection of Upper Silesia plebiscite material


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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

Born in 1884, Howard Haines Brinton was the son of Edward and Ruthanna Haines (Brown) Brinton and was educated in a Quaker school before graduating from West Chester High School in 1900. He went on to study at Haverford College where he majored in mathematics and graduated with his bachelor's degree in 1904. He earned master's degrees from Haverford in 1905 and from Harvard circa 1909; and earned his doctorate from the University of California.

His early career was spent teaching: at Friends' Boarding School in Barnesville, Ohio from around 1905 to 1907; at Pickering College in Newmarket Ontario, teaching physics and mathematics; and at Guilford College in North Carolina, teaching mathematics and serving as acting president from 1917 to 1918 and as dean from 1918 to 1919.

In 1919, he left North Carolina in order to serve as director of publicity for the American Friends Service Committee, which worked in post-World War I welfare activities. According to "Current Biography," "in 1920, he was sent by the Committee to direct its child-feeding program in Saxony and Silesia and later in the plebiscite area of Upper Silesia." He described his experiences in his article "From the Devil's Cauldron," published in The Survey on May 21, 1921. Following the first World War, Upper Silesia was an economic battleground for both Germany and Poland, both wishing to control its mines and forges. As a result of these battles, the citizenry of the area (especially the cities of Eichenau (Germany) and Sosnowitz (Poland)) suffered. The outcome of "the plebiscite of 1921 in Upper Silesia to decide whether the region was to remain part of Germany or join the newly founded Poland," was in no way a certainty, "as Upper Silesia was an ethnically mixed region," (Lapp, page 565). In his article, Brinton described Upper Silesia as "squalid [and] wounded …with its bomb-throwing, shootings and riots … where two great nations faced each other with a hatred which the bitter struggle for Upper Silesia had intensified through every device known to propaganda." During his time there, he met Anna Shipley Cox (1887-1969), who was also working with the child feeding program of the American Friends Service Committee. They were married in 1921.

In 1922, the Brintons returned to the United States and served as professors at both Earlham College and Mills College. In 1936, the couple received the post of directors of Pendle Hill Graduate School for Religious and Social Study in Wallingford, PA. According to Pendle Hill, "the Brintons led Pendle Hill over the next two decades and were largely responsible for making Pendle Hill a significant Quaker resource for the Religious Society of Friends in the United States and around the world," ("Pendle Hill Beginnings"). Howard retired from Pendle Hill in 1952 and he and Anna moved to Japan, working for the American Friends Service Committee until their return to Pendle Hill in 1954. Brinton died on April 9, 1973.

Works cited:

Brinton, Howard H. "From the Devil's Cauldron." The Survey, May 21, 1921. Page 236.

Lapp, Benjamin, "Review of National Identity and Weimar Germany: Upper Silesia and the Eastern Border, 1918-1922, by T. Hunt Tooley." The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 72, No. 2, June 200, pages 565-566.

Pendle Hill. "Pendle Hill Beginnings." ( accessed 2019 November 5).

This collection contains printed material relating to the plebiscite of 1921 in Upper Silesia which determined whether the region was to remain part of Germany or join the newly established Second Polish Republic. Because the region was ethnically mixed, the material is often printed in both German and Polish and was collected by Brinton from both the German and Polish governments. According to the Catharine Brinton Cary (daughter of Howard H. Brinton), Brinton probably collected these materials to aid in relief fundraising among German American communities. Limited material in English about the Upper Silesia plebiscite was also collected.

The material is heavily illustrated and propagandist in nature. According to Lapp, "the German government did its utmost to influence the outcome [of the plebiscite]: Upper Silesia was a rich industrial borderland, and its retention was seen as vital to the newly formed Weimar Republic," (Lapp, page 565). It appears that the Polish government made equal efforts.

This collection is arranged chronologically. A fair amount of material is not dated but was clearly produced circa 1920 to 1921.

Gift of Catharine (Brinton) Cary, 2010.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Holly Mengel
Finding Aid Date
2019 November 6
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

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.

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Upper Silesia, Poland and Catholicism: An investigation in accordance with the events of the time, by Dr. Paul Nieborowski (authorized translation by M.H. Rhiem), Breslau: Editors Graß, Barth & Comp., 1919.
Box 1 Folder 5
Oberschlesischer Landwirt! / Rolniku Gornoslaskie! [Farmers of Upper Silesia! In Polish and German, two-sided leaflet] (two copies), 1920.
Box 1 Folder 4
"Zwei Jahrtausende oberschlesien in acht Karten dargestellt," Dr. Wilhelm Volz [Two millennia of Upper Silesia presented in eight maps], 1920.
Box 1 Folder 2
Pieron, Jahrg II, Nr. 9, 1921 February 26.
Drawer 106 Folder 1
"Die polnische Vergewaltigung Oberschlesiens," Das Illustrierte Blatt, Nr. 20, IX, in German, 1921 May 17.
Drawer 106 Folder 1
"The Problem of Upper Silesia and the Reconstruction of Europe's Economics," by the Chamber of Commerce Breslau, Silesia, 1921 June.
Box 1 Folder 1
Zeitbilder, Nummer 24, 1921 June 12.
Drawer 106 Folder 1
Polki Gornoslaskie! [Polish Women of Upper Silesia! In Polish, two-sided leaflet], 1921.
Box 1 Folder 4
"The Third Rising in Upper Silesia, May-June 1921", after 1921.
Box 1 Folder 1
"Karte der neuen Grenze in Oberschlesien," Reichsamt für Landesaufnahme [Map of the new border in Upper Silesia], 1923.
Box 1 Folder 2
"European Sidelights on the Quota Law," by Mary E. Hurlbutt, director American Branch, International Migration Service (reprinted from the New York Times), 1925 April 19.
Box 1 Folder 1
"Social Problems of Migrating Children: Report read at the First General Congress on Child Welfare--Geneva," by the International Migration Service, 1925 August.
Box 1 Folder 1
Der deutsche Banditismus in Oberschlesien / Bandytyzm niemiecki na G.-Slasku [German robbery in Upper Silesia, in German and Polish, two-sided leaflet], undated.
Box 1 Folder 4
"Deutschland oder Polen? Wofür entscheidet sich Die Katholische frau Oberschlesiens?" Herausgegeben von [zina] Koerner [Germany or Poland? What is the decision of the Catholic woman of Upper Silesia], undated.
Box 1 Folder 2
Die oberschlesische Eisenindustrie ist wesentlich abhängig von der einfuhr von polnischen Eisenerzen / Gornoslaski przemysl zelaza surowego jest zaleznym w znacznej mierze od importu surowca z polski. [The Upper Silesian iron industry is essentially dependent on the import of Polish iron ores. In German and in Polish, one-sided leaflet], undated.
Box 1 Folder 4
"Jak wyglada niemiecka sprawiedliwosc? Wie sieht die deutsche Gerechtigkeit aus? [What does German justice look like? In both Polish and German, five page pamphlet with illustrations], undated.
Box 1 Folder 3
"Kanonenfutter gefucht! Bolen Braucht [Goldaten]," von Dr. Georg Gloeckner, undated.
Box 1 Folder 2
Liebe die Wahrheit und Stimme für Polen! / Miluj prawde i glosuj za polska! [Love the Truth and Vote for Poland! In German and in Polish, two-sided leaflet], undated.
Box 1 Folder 4
Oberschlesien (possibly an insert from Zeitbilder), undated.
Drawer 106 Folder 1

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