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Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Los Angeles Chapter Records, 1931-2002
MSS 076  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content
  • Separated Material
  • Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Register of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Los Angeles Chapter Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1931-2002
    Collection number: MSS 076
    Creator: Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
    Extent: 9 letter boxes, one legal half box

    4 linear feet
    Repository: Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
    Los Angeles, CA 90044
    Abstract: These are the records of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Los Angeles Chapter. The collection contains materials relating to the activities of the local membership and the administration of the Los Angeles executive board. The bulk of the collection contains the correspondence, agendas, meeting minutes and publicity materials generated during the 1970s and 1980s, during which time the Los Angeles branch was particularly active.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Donated to the Library by the Yablon Center


    The collection is available for research only at the Library's facility in Los Angeles. The Library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Researchers are encouraged to call or email the Library indicating the nature of their research query prior to making a visit.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. Researchers may make single copies of any portion of the collection, but publication from the collection will be allowed only with the express written permission of the Library's director. It is not necessary to obtain written permission to quote from a collection. When the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research gives permission for publication, it is as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Los Angeles Chapter Records, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles, California.

    Organizational History

    The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) was founded in 1915 at the First International Congress, held in The Hague, Netherlands. The delegates, representing more than 1,000 women from Europe and the United States, assembled to protest the First World War and to chart a course toward permanent world peace. The United States delegates were led by Jane Addams, a social reformer and the founder of Chicago's Hull House and the Women's Peace Party, an American peace organization. Addams would later become WILPF's first president as well as the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
    The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom is one of the oldest and largest international women's peace and justice organizations in the world. It was founded on the principle that peace is achieved through economic and social justice, and it has continued to work for measures to remove the economic causes of war, for universal disarmament and for equal rights. In a policy statement delivered at its Third International Congress of 1921, WILPF declared its mission to "transform the economic system in the direction of social justice." [WILPF website: Principles and Policies: http://www.wilpf.org/history/about3.htm]
    Throughout its history, WILPF took stands on nuclear disarmament and the Vietnam War and sponsored or participated in the International Year of the Child, the U.N. Seminar on World Disarmament, the International Women's Year and Stop the Arms Race (STAR).
    The WILPF International Office is based in Geneva, Switzerland, and is composed of 37 countries from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. The United States Section, WILPF's national organization, is based in Philadelphia. The Jane Addams Peace Association, or JAPA, promotes WILPF educational programs and is also located in Philadelphia. WILPF's Legislative Office, based in Washington, DC, monitors national legislation, political activities and participates in lobbying efforts. The United Nations Bureau in New York City conducts programs and seminars in its capacity as a non-governmental organization, or NGO.
    The United States Section is further composed of local branches and chapters, currently about 100. At the branch level, members elect local and national officers, hold monthly executive meetings and chapter meetings and choose their own action priorities. The National Board, comprised of branch officers, elects committee chairs and appoints members to the Executive Committee. Although the basic structure of WILPF has remained constant since its inception, the composition and naming conventions of its various national divisions have changed over the years, reflecting the nature and number of its membership. At one time, the California branch was formally subdivided into two state branches: the Northern and Southern California Branches. The California state branch was part of the Western Region, which was represented by Washington State, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon and California. Currently, California consists of the following local chapters: Berkeley-East Bay, Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Monterey County, Peninsula-Palo Alto, San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Barbara. Each branch has a branch president, a secretary and a treasurer who represent their branch at regional and national board meetings.

    Scope and Content

    Vivien Myerson, member of the National Board and past president (1973-75) of the Los Angeles branch, donated the files from the Los Angeles office, which constitute most of the material in the collection. Myerson was among a corps of women in the Los Angeles chapter who were most active in the organization and who served as committee chairs and officers at both the local and national levels. The bulk of the materials emanating from the offices of the president of the Los Angeles Chapter were created or collected by Dorothy Hampton and Lois Hamer, branch presidents during the 1960s; Miriam Goldsmith, Vivien Myerson and Sarah Shuldiner who held the office in the 1970s; and Pearl Letz, Blanche Spindel and Carol Cutler, active in that capacity during the 1980s. In addition to meeting minutes, correspondence, pamphlets and flyers generated by the Los Angeles branch, the local office also accumulated papers generated by Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) national office and Western Region. Materials collected by other activists in the organization have also been integrated into the WILPF collection. Many of these materials consist of policy statements and action alerts issued through the national newsletter, Peace and Freedom, as well as the Legislative Bulletin and Legislative Alert, which emanated from the WILPF Legislative office in Washington, DC.


    Series 1 is further subdivided into three subseries: Office Files; Programs and Seminars; Newsletters. Series 2 is also subdivided into three subseries: Executive Board Office Files; Conferences and Programs; Legislative Office.


    The records have been arranged chronologically, with the earliest dates leading. Undated material, if any, can be found at the end of each folder.

    Separated Material

    Issues of Peace and Freedom, WILPF's national publication, have been added to the Library's periodicals collection.

    Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

    Title: Winfield (Orilla) Papers,
    Date: 1948-1953,
    Physical Description: 1 legal folder
    Title: Women for Legislative Action,
    Date: 1952-1977,
    Physical Description: 6 linear feet
    Title: Women Strike for Peace Records,
    Date: 1960s-1970s,
    Physical Description: 5 linear feet
    Title: Women Strike for Peace - Newsletters,
    Date: 1967-1989,
    Physical Description: .5 linear feet