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Women's International League for Peace and Freedom records

Identifier: COU:1761

Scope and Contents

The papers of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) consist of a broad range of materials that deal with a wide variety of subjects related to the function and activities of the organization. The papers received by the University of Colorado at Boulder Archives were identified under five general series headings: Executive Committee Files, Correspondence, Section and Country Files, Topics, and Printed Matter or Publications.

Materials include correspondence; business records such as those from the International Executive Committee WILPF's governing body; financal documents; photographs; and publications created by WILPF and related to the activities of the organization. It encompasses not only materials from the headquarters office in Geneva, Switzerland but also its branches at the UN and Chicago. The League was involved in peace efforts across all major wars in the 20th century, including aiding refugees during World War II. It contains materials from and about its major leaders including Jane Addams, Lida Gustava Heymann, Helena Swanwick, Emily Greene Balch, Cor Ramondt-Hirschamann, Gabrielle Duchene, Marguerite Gobat, Yella Hertzka, Martha Larsen, and Chrystal Macmillan, Clara Ragaz, Gertrud Baer, Kathleen Innes, Gertrude Bussey, Marie Lous-Mohr. Most of the women were from Europe and the USA.

The collection also includes records of the League's Internationally Congresses, officially held triennially including programs, correspondence before and after, minutes, publicity, and press. Some of the congreesses were held in The Hague (1915), Zurich (1919), Vienna (1921), The Hague (1922), Washington, D.C. (1924), Dublin (1926), Prague (1929), Grenoble (1932), Luxembourg (1946), Birmingham (1956 and 1974), and New Haven (1980).

Please see the scope and content notes for each of the accessions for more detailed descriptions of what they include.


  • Creation: 1915 - 1998

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Material originating in the European Union (EU) and created within the last 50 years is subject to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if created in the last 50 years. Researchers requesting this material must sign the University Libraries’ Private and Personally Identifiable Information Agreement in advance of access to collection materials. Contact for more information.

Material in the 4th accession, Series 22 (Box 30) are restricted for research use due to the presence of PPII. Please contact about these restrictions.

Box numbers often restart numbering at the beginning of a new addition or sometimes at the beginning of a new series. When requesting material please include the accession, the series and the box number to be sure we are pulling the correct box. You may email us at

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers may not make notes, reproductions (including photographs), or other record of any material originating from the EU and created in the last 50 years. They may not publish, publicize, or disclose that PPII to any other party for any purpose. All researchers must sign the University Libraries’ Private and Personally Identifiable Information Agreement indicating their understanding of the use restrictions for PPII found in this collection. Contact for more information.

Biographical / Historical

Founded in 1915 in The Hague, Netherlands, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is the oldest international peace organization still in existence. The WILPF was established by prominent women in the International Suffrage Alliance, who saw the connection between their struggle for equal rights and the struggle for peace. WILPF's foremothers rejected the theory that war was inevitable and defied all obstacles to their plan to meet together in wartime. They assembled more than 1,000 women from warring and neutral nations to work out a plan to end WWI and lay the basis for a permanent peace. Jane Addams of Chicago was the WILPF’s first president and was the first woman to win the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.

It was the wisdom of the founding foremothers in 1915 that peace is not rooted only in treaties between great powers or a turning away of weapons alone, but can only flourish when it is also planted in the soil of justice, freedom, non-violence, opportunity and equality for all. They understood, and WILPF still organizes in the understanding, that all the problems that lead countries to domestic and international violence are connected and that each problem needs to be addressed in order to achieve sustainable peace.

Since then, the WILPF has worked to establish peace on a range of levels through connections that it has established internationally. WILPF headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland and has a variety of sectional and branch offices in cities and towns around the world. Functioning on the international, national and local levels, the WILPF seeks to educate, inform and mobilize women for action to achieve its goal of establishing real peace. It organizes meetings, seminars, conferences to study issues and seek solutions to social, economic and political problems. It organizes campaigns to promote disarmament measures, to halt adventurism and interventions. It sends missions to countries in conflict and reports to its members and friends and to the United Nations on their efforts to bring about peaceful settlements. It has been involved in peace efforts across all major


451 linear feet

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian




Records documenting the activities of an international women’s peace organization. Established in 1915, in The Hague, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) was created to achieve world disarmament, full rights for women, racial and economic justice, an end to all forms of violence through peaceful means. WILPF’s goal was, and still is, to establish those political, social, and psychological conditions which can assure peace, freedom, and justice for all. This archival collection is the Second Accession to the WILPF Collection. It contains correspondence, Executive Committee meeting minutes, headquarters papers, Triennial Congress logistical and informational documents, circular letters and newsletters, official WILPF resolutions, case files, section files, country files, topical research materials, United Nations documentation, seminar and symposium papers, as well as a variety of non-WILPF and WILPF peace-related publications.

Existence and Location of Copies

Microfilm copies exist of the 1st Accession and the Swarthmore Accession at a number of different institutions' libraries and archives both nationally and internationally. See below for a list of those institutions. Some of them may be available for Interlibrary Loan. You may reach out to those institutions directly to inquire about access.

  • Ohio State University, Women’s Studies Library
  • University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
  • San Diego State University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California, Riverside, CA
  • Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN
  • Harvard University
  • Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
  • Cornell, University, Ithaca, NY
  • SUNY Binghamton
  • University of Rochester
  • Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
  • University of Cincinnati, OH
  • Texas Women’s University, Dallas, TX
  • Broward TWR Project
  • Rutgers University, NJ
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • College of William & Mary
  • Swarthmore College Peace Collection
  • Ohio University
  • Brooklyn College Library
  • University of Wyoming
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Yale University
  • Florida State University
  • Baker & Taylor Inc Tech Serv & Prod Dev
  • Malone University, Ohio
  • California State University,E Bay Library
  • CUNY Brooklyn College Library
  • CUNY Cent Office
  • UN Library, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Mt. St. Vincent University, Halifax, Canada
  • University of Melbourne, Australia
  • University of Adelaide, Australia
  • International Institute, Netherlands
  • State and University Library in Hamburg (Stabi)
  • University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
  • National Library of Australia

Related Materials

Women's International League of Peace and Freedom materials from local branches exist at many institutions often local or regional to those branches.World Cat contains catalog records for where these collections may exist.

Processing Information

This collection consists of materials from the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom, which arrived in pieces over time. They remain, and were organized, in the groupings in which they were recieved as indicated by the accession in the finding aid navigation.

Box numbers often restart numbering at the beginning of a new addition or sometimes at the beginning of a new series. When requesting material please include the accession, the series and the box number to be sure we are pulling the correct box. You may email us at

Many of the accessions remain minimally processed and in the order in which they were recieved. Please contact with questions.

Description rules
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States