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World Peace Foundation Records

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 the peace movement from 1912-1993 and its attempts to inform and educate the public about the philosophy of pacifism. Additional material of note covers labor relations in the 1920s and 1930s, women's peace movements in various countries in the 1920s and 1930s, and the operation of the New England Intercollegiate Model League of Nations in the same period.
Content Warning

This finding aid contains language that may be offensive or outdated. Because such language is in titles or direct transcription of published materials, it has not been changed. Keeping this language intact provides the most accurate depiction of the creators’ intent, and can potentially tell us important things about bigotry and bias on the part of the creators, or in a particular historical context. For more information on DCA's content warning policy please visit our website.


  • 1807 -- 2011


Language of Materials



This collection contains some restricted material. Restrictions related to specific material are noted in the Detailed Contents List in each series.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see “Reproductions and Use” on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish. No documentation is available regarding the intellectual property rights in this collection.


This collection is organized into fourteen series: Subject files, 1899-1941; Books and pamphlets, 1897-41; Inactive projects, 1982-91; Correspondence and Subject Files, 1950-95; World Peace Foundation financial records; Board of Trustees records; Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) records; International Organization financial records; Edwin Ginn Trust financial records; World Peace Foundation, copyright certificates and ledgers; Bound publications and pamphlets; Reference materials; Office files; Rothberg research and personal files.


156.8 Linear Feet

205 Volumes

6 Audiovisual Object(s)

47 Digital Object(s)

4 Web sites

Biographical / Historical

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.

Custodial History

Ten boxes of temporary budget files and duplicate books were returned to the World Peace Foundation in September, 2013.

Processing Information

For Correspondence and Subject Files (Series 4): this series was processed by Dan Bullman (Archives and Research Assistant) under the supervision of Liz Francis (Records Archivist) in November-December 2014.

For Financial Records (Series 5, 8, 9, and 10): when folders were crumbling or labels were illegible, we put records into new folders. We also put loose objects into folders. When necessary, we stapled labels to folders. A couple of folders did not have labels or labels had fallen off; in labeling these folders we followed the labeling convention of records in each series. Rubber bands and rusty paper clips were removed. New accessions processed in 2010.

For Series 001 – Group 001: This group consists of subject files and publications organized in broad subject categories according to the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) system. During processing of MS076 World Peace Foundation records, circa 2005, it was discovered that many of the publications in the collection had UDC call numbers written on the covers in pencil. An attempt was made to recreate this UDC arrangement, circa 2005, by arranging the folders by broad subject categories, or “buckets,” according to the UDC system. This work was carried out by student workers under the supervision of DCA staff. The project was halted before it could be completed and 28 boxes that consisted of this partial arrangement by subject category were stored in a dedicated space in the DCA stacks until 2014. These 28 boxes did not have box numbers or location numbers and there was no discernible arrangement aside from the grouping of folders into these broad categories (see collection documentation for MS076 for a list of these categories). Many of the boxes only had the broad subject category written on them (i.e. 17. International Ethics/Pacifism). In August-September 2014, Dan Bullman (Archives and Research Assistant) consulted with Erin Faulder (Archivist for Digital Collections) and Liz Francis (Records Archivist) and they decided to arrange these boxes into a group within the Subject Files series (MS076.001). Dan Bullman rehoused and consolidated the files from the 28 unnumbered boxes into boxes 168-184, maintaining the arrangement of the broad subject categories that the files had been grouped in during a previous project. The boxes were then assigned off-site barcode locations and described at the folder level.

Processing status

This collection is processed.

Repository Details

Part of the Tufts Archival Research Center Repository

35 Professors Row
Tisch Library Building
Tufts University
Medford Massachusetts 02155 United States