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Register of the Aristide Rieffel Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content Note
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Aristide Rieffel papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1888-1941
    Collection number: 76065
    Creator: Rieffel, Aristide, 1859-1941
    Collection Size: 46 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box (19.3 linear feet)
    Repository: Hoover Institution Archives
    Stanford, California 94305-6010
    Abstract: Correspondence, writings, pamphlets, clippings, and photographs, relating primarily to the temperance movement in France and the United States, pacifism, international arbitration, the Society for Arbitration between Nations, Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Peace Prize.
    Languages: French, and English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Aristide Rieffel papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Materials were acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1976.


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Biographical Note

    1859 Born as Arthur Zacharin Rieffel in Paris, France
    1890s Participates in the international pacifist movement as a member of the Société française pour l'arbitrage entre nations
    ca. 1915 Emigrates to the United States, living first in New York and then in Santa Barbara
    1941 Died

    Scope and Content Note

    The Aristide Rieffel papers in the Hoover Institution Archives consist primarily of published and unpublished notes and writings, including a significant number of articles written for French language newspapers in the United States, the country in which Rieffel spent the latter part of his life. Most of these writings pertain to Rieffel's vision of a moral crusade to reform modern society, which he saw as being prone to violence and corrupted by pervasive alcoholism. The abolition of warfare and the prohibition of alcohol consumption were the causes to which Rieffel devoted most of his life.
    While never a strict pacifist, Rieffel associated himself with efforts to eliminate warfare through diplomacy and arbitration, and this activity drew him into contact with Alfred Nobel, Frédéric Passy, Charles Richet, Bertha von Suttner, and other peace advocates in Europe. For Rieffel, the attainment of world peace was predicated on a change in educational practices in order to eliminate what he perceived to be the "bellicose instinct" in humanity. This, in turn, was linked by Rieffel to the goal of eradicating alcoholism, which he saw as being at the root of virtually all societal problems.
    In many respects, Rieffel was at odds with the idea of mass democracy. Instead, he favored the rule of an educated elite of "savants," in whose number Rieffel clearly included himself. Throughout his writing career, Rieffel argued in favor of what he called the "vote familial," or family vote, an electoral system in which votes would be weighted according to family size, with parents voting on behalf of their children. According to Rieffel, such a system would provide a "moderating" influence on society, which otherwise tended toward extremism.
    In addition to numerous writings on politics, society, and religion, the collection contains examples of Rieffel's correspondence with Nobel, Passy, and von Suttner, as well as with prominent figures in the temperance movements in the United States and France, including Maurice Legrain and Mary Frances Stoddard.
    The Aristide Rieffel collection in the Hoover Institution Archives was acquired in 1976, with increments added in 1978 and 1983. The remainder of Rieffel's papers can be found in the holdings of the University of California at Santa Barbara, and an inventory for the Santa Barbara collection can be consulted in the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Indexing Terms

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


    Society for Arbitration between Nations.
    Arbitration, International.
    Nobel prizes.
    United States.
    Nobel, Alfred Bernhard, 1833-1896.