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Finding Aid for the Adaline Caroline Guenther papers, 1942-1975
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Collection Description
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Adaline Caroline Guenther papers
    Date (inclusive): 1942-1975
    Collection number: 1150
    Creator: Guenther, Adaline Caroline, 1897-1975.
    Extent: 10 boxes (5 linear ft.)
    Abstract: The collection is composed of correspondence, photographs, typescripts, and memorabilia; it has a double focus, the American Veterans Committee and Adaline Guenther herself.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    • Gift of Adaline Guenther, 1973.
    • Gift of Shirley Hine, 1976 and 1978.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Adaline Caroline Guenther papers (Collection 1150). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 1470687 

    Collection Description

    Adaline Guenther (1897-1975) was Executive Director of the University Religious Conference from 1945 until her retirement in 1959 and had been its chief administrator since its inception in 1927. She was one of the founders of UniCamp (a student-run summer camp for underpriveleged children, Studen board (an interdenominational discussion group of campus student leaders), and Project india (a student-to-student approach to fighting Communism in India in the 1950s), and through these programs significantly shapped UCLA's extracullicular life. She was a woman of great mental and spiritual vitality with a gift for guiding others to examine their goals and shape their minds. This is apparent throughout the entire collection, from the long letters from servicemen in W.W.II answering her questions about racial discrimination in the armed forces to the book reviews she prepared at 77 for the members of her retirement community. The journal she kept in the year before her death records her perceptions of the "victories and defeats of aging."
    The first seven boxes are early American Veterans Committee documentation, mainly in the form of letters to Guenther from approximately 150 servicemen formerly connected with the University Religious Conference at UCLA. She edited their letters into a newsletter ("10845") and held together the correspondence which evolved into the AVC. It was conceived as a counterforce to the American Legion, a veterans' organization of educated liberals who would shape the postwar world. The original letters have a wide range of personality and subject matter_. There are highly articulate soldiers writing about their reaction to the atom bomb, a Japanese-American and a conscientious objector writing from their respective internment camps, wives of soldiers writing personal letters to Guenther, soldiers writing to Guenther out of loneliness and boredom. They talk about peace, democracy, racial equality, religion, army life, UniCamp, revisions to revisions of the AVC official policy statements. Gil Harrison wrote voluminously, involved in deciding every detail of AVC development. There are also letters from prominent people agreeing or declining to be associated with AVC. Eleanor Roosevelt is the most significant of these.
    Guenther's later correspondence includes letters from Mayor Tom Bradley, Bishop John Krumm, Rabbi Edgar Magnin and other leaders in the fields of religion, education and civic life. John Ehrlichman was one of the students who passed through the URC; Guenther was repelled by Watergate but attempted through correspondence with Judge John Sirica to have Ehrlichman's sentence lightened because of her personal loyalty to Ehrlichman and his wife.
    Adaline Guenther was the subject of an oral history at UCLA; she discusses the AVC at some length. Another oral history was compiled from interviews with people who participated in Project India and contains some comments on Guenther.
    The item count below includes clippings and small candid photographs; formal studio portraits are in Box 10. Many AVC people are represented.


    Guenther was born in 1897; became chief administrator of the University Religious Conference at UCLA at its inception in 1927, and later served as its executive director (1945-59); she was one of founders of Unicamp, the UCLA student-run summer camp for underprivileged children; also a founder of Student Board, an interdenominational student discussion group, and of Project India, an anti-communist group in the 1950s; edited letters of servicemen connected with the University Religious Conference into a newsletter, and held together the correspondence which evolved into the American Veterans Committee; the Committee, founded as a counterforce to the American Legion, was an organization of educated liberal veterans; died in 1975.

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of correspondence, typescripts, photographs and memorabilia relating to the American Veterans Committee, Guenther's work at the University Religious Conference, her friendship with John Ehrlichman and Gilbert Harrison, and her personal affairs. Correspondents include: Tom Bradley, Dorothy Buffum Chandler, Otis Chandler, John Ehrlichman, Gilbert Harrison, Merle Miller, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Wendell Willkie.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. American Veterans Committee, ca. 1942-45 (boxes 1-6)
    2. Guenther correspondence with Gilbert Harrison (box 7)
    3. Guenther's personal papers, ca. 1952-75 (boxes 7-8)
    4. Memorabilia (boxes 9-10).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Guenther, Adaline Caroline, 1897-1975 --Archives.
    American Veterans Committee.
    University of California, Los Angeles. University Religious Conference --Administration --Archival resources.

    Related Material

    The gift of a mind [oral history transcript] / Adaline C. Guenther, interviewee. UCLA Oral History Department interview, 1974. Available at the Department of Special Collections, UCLA.