Scope and Contents
Title: Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
Collection number: ARS.0056
Women's International League for Peace and
242 audiocassettes ; 38 7" open reel tapes; photographs, transcripts; supplemental print materials; related monographs
Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford,
The Women's International League for Peace and
Freedom (WILPF) Collection contains oral history interviews on audiocassettes and
reel-to-reel tapes, transcripts (full and excerpts), photographs, and supplemental
materials and related monographs.
Language of Material: English
Collection is open for research. Listening appointments may require 24 hours notice.
Contact the Archive Operations Manager.
Property rights reside with the repository. Publication and reproduction rights
reside with the Creators or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or
reproduce, please contact the Head Librarian of the Archive of Recorded Sound.
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Collection, ARS056. Courtesy of
the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford,
This finding aid was produced with generous financial support from the National
Historical Publications and Records Commission.
WILPF had its roots in the U. S. Women’s Peace party, and was founded in 1915 by 1300
women from neutral and warring nations who met in the Hague, Netherlands to try to
negotiate the end of the war, send envoys from their group to nations at war and the
U.S., and to urge peaceful resolution and ‘continuous mediation’ to avoid future
conflicts. WILPF’s second congress met in Versailles in 1919 where the peace terms
were negotiated, and the women’s congress made several long-term resolutions for
disarmament, gender equality, and for a world body to negotiate peaceful settlement
of conflicts (although WILPF was critical of the League of Nations). President
Wilson used many of their proposals in his 14 Point Peace Plan.
Jane Addams, named the first president of WILPF, became the second woman (and the
first American woman) to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Longtime WILPF board
member Emily Greene Balch also won the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1946.
The U.S. section of WILPF opposed U.S. participation in WWII (although members
supported the troops). In the 1950s, WILPF members rallied against the HUAC
hearings. WILPF worked against nuclear testing, and many members also joined the
grassroots Women Strike for Peace, a less hierarchical peace-action group. In the
1960s, WILPF was a critical force in the anti-Vietnam War movement. WILPF continues
to take a strong stand on issues related to peace and women's equality as a U.N.
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).
The Women's Peace Oral History project was organized by Judith Porter Adams, who
began the project in 1979, to celebrate WILPF’s 70th anniversary. The project
interviewed ninety older women from local California and other states’ branches.
Adams, her students at Stanford and San Jose State, and volunteers conducted the
interviews. The project’s goal was to preserve the stories of how the women became
committed to peace and justice issues, and what sustained them over their lifetime
Scope and Contents
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Collection consists of 232
audiocassettes housed in 7 boxes and 38 7" open reel tapes housed in 2 boxes. The
collection also contains supplemental print and manuscript materials housed in 4
boxes. The oral history interviews that comprise the collection were recorded
between roughly 1979 and 1989. Some of the 7" open reel tapes contain recordings of
the 1967 WILPF National Conference at Asilomar. The print and manuscript material
have varied date ranges. The interviews are the product of the Women's Peace Oral
History project, which began in 1979. As the director of the Women's Peace Oral
History project, Judith Porter Adams trained student and volunteer interviewers,
coordinated and funded the national project with support of the Jane Addams Peace
Association and individual donations, and collected and arranged the materials now
housed at the Archive of Recorded Sound. The interviewees include ‘rank and file’ as
well as prominent members who have held state, national, and international
leadership positions in WILPF and Women Strike for Peace (many were active in both).
With a few exceptions, older women (over 60) were interviewed because of their years
of involvement in peace and justice issues. Those who are still alive in the year
this collection was processed by the ARS are still dedicated activists in their late
80’s and 90’s.
See also WILPF Oral History Project tapes in Preservation Master Tape Collection,
All interviews from this collection have been digitized. Many of these are available to stream or download via Stanford's
library catalog, Searchworks
Women Strike for Peace.
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.