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World Peace Foundation

 Organization

Dates

  • Existence: 1910

In 1910, Edwin Ginn founded the International School of Peace in Boston, renamed the World Peace Foundation shortly thereafter. The World Peace Foundation was founded with the express purpose of educating and mobilizing public opinion towards peace. Early trustees of the Foundation included Edwin Mead, founder of The New England Magazine; Sarah L. Arnold, dean of Simmons College; A. Lawrence Lowell, president of Harvard University; and Joseph Swain, president of Swarthmore College. The Foundation’s efforts ground to a virtual standstill at the beginning of World War I. With the refusal of the United States to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, the Foundation became the exclusive American distributors of literature for the League of Nations and the International Labor Organization, both of which the U.S. refused to join. The Foundation sponsored studies of the Soviet Union, Latin America, and China, and published pamphlets on Nazism and colonialism.

In recent years the World Peace Foundation has sponsored studies of the Soviet Union, and of the Caribbean and Latin America. In the 1980s, the Foundation shifted its attention to Africa, focused particularly on how the United States should respond to Apartheid in South Africa. It also studied the effects of independence on various African countries, as well as Soviet interests in the region. Today, the World Peace Foundation concentrates its efforts on utilizing the media to influence and improve foreign policy.

In 1910, textbook magnate Edwin Ginn founded the International School of Peace in Boston, renamed the World Peace Foundation shortly thereafter. Though many peace organizations already existed in the early 20th century, most of them concentrated their efforts on theory and ideology. The World Peace Foundation, conversely, was founded with the express purpose of educating and mobilizing public opinion towards peace. Early trustees of the Foundation included Edwin Mead, founder of The New England Magazine; Sarah L. Arnold, dean of Simmons College; A. Lawrence Lowell, president of Harvard University; and Joseph Swain, president of Swarthmore College.

The Foundation originally focused on pamphlets as the most efficacious way of reaching large numbers of people. Ginn was also a proponent of networking with peace organizations in other areas. In the years prior to the First World War, the Foundation sent lobbyists to Washington and advocates to school, church, and society groups. Mead spoke extensively in Japan and Europe.

The Foundation’s efforts ground to a virtual standstill at the beginning of World War I as its disillusioned members sought a new direction for their efforts. With the refusal of the United States to ratify the Treaty of Versailles after the war, the Foundation became the exclusive American distributor of literature for the League of Nations and the International Labor Organization, both of which the U.S. refused to join. The Foundation sponsored studies of the Soviet Union, Latin America, and China, and published pamphlets on Nazism and colonialism. Two of its books, Haiti Under American Control, by Arthur C. Milspaugh, and The United States in the Caribbean, by Dana Gardner Munro, were instrumental in changing American policy towards the Caribbean.

In the years leading up to World War II, the Foundation opposed isolationist policies. It advocated military preparedness for the United States and sought economic sanctions against Germany and Japan. After the war, Director Leland Goodrich, focused the Foundation's work on the reorganization of Europe. Goodrich sat on the San Francisco Council, which created the United Nations.

In recent years the World Peace Foundation has sponsored studies on a variety of topics. It produced several studies of the Soviet Union, as well as the Caribbean and Latin America. In the 1980s, the Foundation shifted its attention to Africa, focused particularly on how the United States should respond to Apartheid in South Africa. It also studied the effects of independence on various African countries, as well as Soviet interests in the region. Today, the World Peace Foundation concentrates its efforts on utilizing the media to influence and improve foreign policy.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Burma: Prospects for Political and Economical Reconstruction, 1997

 Part of Collection — Box: 34
Call Number: MS180.011.034.00021
Scope and Contents: This series consists of journals and newsletters published by indigenous groups as well as non-profit and development organizations focusing on indigenous issues that were originally part of a larger Cultural Survival reference library. The publications cover issues faced by particular indigenous groups and indigenous peoples as a whole. The series also includes several directories of indigenous organizations, 1988-2005. Academic, indigenous, and commercial publications that are widely...
Dates: 1997

World Peace Foundation Records

 Collection
Call Number: MS076
Scope and Contents: This collection primarily contains materials generated or collected by the World Peace Foundation between 1899 and 2009. It includes books, pamphlets, maps, correspondence, and minutes and agenda. The collection is largely organized by subject, with most of the material dating from 1912 to 1941. The materials provide a window on international and ethnic tensions in the years between the two World Wars, particularly with regard to Japanese-American relations. They also showcase the activities of...
Dates: 1807 -- 2011