MS 185 Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Collection

Summary Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Collection
MS 185
Date [inclusive]
5.5 Linear feet (9 boxes)
Language of Materials
Collection materials are in English, Spanish, and Russian.
This collection contains the papers of the San Diego branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) from 1925 through its closure in 1991.

Preferred Citation

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Collection, MS 185, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

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Biographical / Historical Notes

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) was established as an international peace organization at The Hague in 1915; the U.S. delegation was led by Jane Addams. The delegates advocated a Society of Nations, universal disarmament, and the end of World War I through continuous peaceful mediation by a commission of neutral parties. Since its founding, the WILPF has had as its core motivation: “unit[ing] women in many countries who work by democratic and nonviolent means to remove the causes of war and to create the conditions in which peace and freedom can flourish.” The WILPF was brought to San Diego by Helen Marston (who later became Helen Marston Beardsley) in 1924. Helen (b. 1892; d. 1982) was the youngest daughter of George White Marston, a wealthy San Diego businessman and civic activist. It was during her studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts that Helen became interested in political reform. After college, she spent time volunteering and teaching, but ultimately found that her passion was in politics and the struggle for peace. While in Europe working to alleviate some of the suffering caused by WWI, she attended the third international congress of WILPF in 1921. She returned to San Diego and in 1924, started the WILPF San Diego Chapter. Since then the local WILPF has been active in educational programs involving subjects as diverse as nonviolent resistance and the social structure of China. The main activities of the WILPF have included sponsoring conferences and ongoing community discussions, peace rallies, correspondence campaigns and educational exhibits.

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Scope and Content

This collection includes papers related to the San Diego branch of the Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom (WILPF) throughout its existence from 1925 to 1991. It contains administrative, financial and membership documents as well as correspondence and ephemera related to WILPF local, national and international events and causes. Items of note include the personal correspondence of Helen Marston Beardsley and Florence Stevens, an original signed letter by Cesar Chavez, and photographs of Beardsley and other prominent San Diegans.

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Collection is arranged by series:

Series I: WILPF – San Diego Branch Papers

Series II: WILPF – National / International Papers

Series III: WILPF – Sponsored Events

Series IV: U.S.-Soviet Women’s Conference

Series V: Research Resources

Series VI: Florence Stevens Papers

Series VII: Helen Marston Beardsley Papers

Items in each series are arranged by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection September 6, 2012

1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply. Oral history interview of Florence Stevens by Richardo Moran is restricted to research use only and may not be reproduced except by Ricardo Moran’s permission.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers 860920A, 890809, 920709.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Katrina White on September 6, 2012.

Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Arms Control Association (Washington, D.C.).
  • Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (San Diego, Calif.).
  • Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation.
  • First Unitarian Church (San Diego, Calif.).
  • General Dynamics Corporation. Convair Division.
  • Mobilization for Peace, Jobs and Justice (Organization).
  • New Hope Foundation.
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility (U.S.).
  • Progress for Labor San Diego.
  • Seneca Army Depot.
  • United Nations Association.
  • United States Institute of Peace.
  • Women’s History Reclamation Project.
  • Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Geographic Name(s)

  • San Diego (Calif.)
  • Soviet Union

Personal Name(s)

  • Addams, Jane, 1860-1935
  • Balch, Emily Greene, 1867-1961
  • Ballantyne, Edith
  • Bates, Jim
  • Beardsley, George Marston
  • Beardsley, Helen Marston
  • Beardsley, John
  • Bishop, Helen
  • Bishop, Jane
  • Boehm, Marjorie
  • Boulding, Elise
  • Bowring, Ursula
  • Brown, Edmund G. (Edmund Gerald), 1905-1996
  • Burgener, Clair W.
  • Camp, Kay
  • Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
  • Chalmers, Ruth
  • Chavez, Cesar, 1927-1993
  • Conyers, John, 1929-
  • Cranston, Alan, 1914-2000
  • D’Vincent, Donna
  • Delaney, Patricia
  • Edwards, Don, 1915-
  • Filner, Barbara
  • Frank, Libby
  • Guthrie, David W.
  • Halper, Leah
  • Hamilton, Alice, 1869-1970
  • Harper, Frank
  • Harper, J. C. (Jacob Chandler), 1858-1939
  • Harper, Liliane
  • Hasegawa, Marii
  • Hatcher, Richard G., 1933-
  • Hatfield, Mark O., 1922-2011
  • Headley, Harriet
  • Hoskins, Alice B.
  • Huerta, Dolores, 1930-
  • Hunter, Duncan, 1948-
  • Imutan, Andy
  • Inouye, Daniel K., 1924-
  • Johnson, Glenna
  • Keller, Helen, 1880-1968
  • Korman, Phyllis
  • Kraus, Phyllis
  • Lessner, Milton
  • Linton, Etta
  • Livingston, Millie
  • Lowery, Bill, 1947-
  • Mandeville, Ernest W. (Ernest Wyckoff), 1896-
  • McClure, James A.
  • Midgley, Jane
  • Olmstead, Mildred Scott
  • Pendell, Ann Chalmers
  • Pendell, Carol
  • Plastas, Melinda
  • Reagan, Ronald
  • Reynolds, Barbara (Barbara Leonard)
  • Reynolds, Jessica
  • Rhoads, Anne
  • Rider, Pam
  • Schroeder, Pat
  • Scripps, Ellen Browning, 1836-1932
  • Seagall, Edith
  • Sevigny, Therese P.
  • Shapiro, Sylvia
  • Sills, Joe
  • Simmons, Robert (Bob)
  • Somerville, Rose M. (Rose Maurer), 1908-
  • Steffens, Dorothy R.
  • Steinmetz, Doris
  • Steinmetz, Harry
  • Stevens, Florence
  • Stevens, Robert
  • Sturdivant
  • Taller, Dolores S.
  • Vogel, Robert
  • Walshok, Mary Lindenstein
  • Whitney, Norman J. (Norman Jehiel), 1891-1967
  • Wickler, Beth


  • Arms control
  • Nuclear weapons
  • Women — Societies and clubs
  • Women political activists

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Collection Inventory

 Series I: WILPF – San Diego Branch Papers

History of San Diego branch, 1981 December and undated


Several versions of a history of the WILPF International and San Diego branch written by Helen Marston Beardsley.

Constitution and by-laws, 1962 April-1982 May 1:2
Administration, 1976-1988 and undated 1:3
Membership records, 1971 June-1981 April


Membership directory

Obituaries and memorial service programs for WILPF members

Board meeting minutes, 1973 May-1975 September 1:5
Board meeting minutes (bound volume), 1976 January-1978 May 1:6
Board meeting minutes, 1978 May-1981 October 1:7
Board meeting minutes, 1984 June-1991 October 1:8
Financial records: Treasurer’s reports, 1965-1989 1:9
Financial records: revenue and debt records (notebook), 1983-1988 1:10
Financial records: disbursement and revenue records (two notebooks), 1986-1990 1:11
Financial records: miscellanea, 1976-1991 1:12
Speeches and position papers, 1977 November-1986 October


Transcript of a speech by Florence Stevens: “Women in the Peace Movement – The Limitations and Challenges,” September 1986

Correspondence: internal, 1970 May-1982 March 1:14
Correspondence: internal, 1982 April-1985 November 2:1
Correspondence: internal, 1986 January-1987 September 2:2
Correspondence: internal, 1987 October-1991 August and undated 2:3
Correspondence: financial, 1980 September-1991 May and undated 2:4
Correspondence: local causes and issues, 1980 January-1984 August 2:5
Correspondence: local causes and issues, 1984 October-1990 August and undated 2:6
Correspondence: political figures, 1969 March-1980 December


Correspondence with politicians including President Carter, Senator Alan Cranston, and Senator S.I. Hayakawa.

Correspondence: political figures, 1981 January-1982 December


Correspondence with politicians including President Reagan, Pete Wilson, Governor Edmund Brown and Congressmen Duncan Hunter, Jim Bates,and Bill Lowry.

Correspondence: political figures, 1983 February-1990 September and undated


Correspondence with politicians including Pete Wilson, Congressman Jim Bates, and Congressman Bill Lowry.

Correspondence: thank you letters, 1980 January-1990 March and undated 2:10
Correspondence: miscellanea, 1980 August-1985 November 3:1
Correspondence: miscellanea, 1986 January-1990 March and undated 3:2
Peace Information Center and Peace Resource Center, 1962 June-1989 May and undated


Documents from the Peace Information Center and Peace Resource Center, storefronts founded by WILPF providing resources to the public regarding nonviolence.

Events, 1981 February-1990 November


Speech and program from awards ceremony for the Helen Beardsley Award presented to Rev. Dr. Richard Shanor, October 5, 1986

Community Peacemaker Awards program including Carol Jahnkow (education director of Peace Resource Center) as an Honoree, March 30, 1989

Newsletters, 1980 January-1986 December 3:5
Newsletters, 1987 January-1991 October 3:6
Press releases, 1980 January-1984 March 3:7
News articles, 1965 October-1989 May and undated 3:8
“Letters to the Editor,” 1981 March-1989 June and undated

Scope and Content:

Intellectual dialogue between WILPF-San Diego members and community members through Letters to the Editor in both the San Diego Union and the Los Angeles Times. Includes letters to the editor regarding the controversy surrounding the State Department’s identification of WILPF as a Soviet supported organization.

Ephemera, 1969 December-1987 November 3:10
Ephemera, 1988 January-1989 June and undated 3:11
Scrapbook, 1981 June-1983 June



News articles


Photographs of WILPF-San Diego related activities

Scrapbook, 1983 May-1985 May



News articles


Photographs of WILPF-San Diego related activities

Photographs, 1980-1984 and undated


Photos of WILPF members at Rally Against the Draft, March 22, 1980

Photos of WILPF 65th Anniversary honoring Beardsley , 1980

Photos of WILPF members at Balboa Park Peace Rally, undated

Photos of Silent Peace Vigil in La Jolla, undated

Miscellanea, 1969 June-1985 June and undated


Business cards

Handwritten notes

Publication order form

“San Diego Tour” narration, June 21, 1969

San Diego City Council meeting resolutions on agenda, June 10, 1985

San Diego Unified School District Directory pamphlet, 1981-1982


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 Series II: WILPF – National / International Papers

History of organization, 1921 September-1981 December and undated 4:1
Administration, 1915 April-1986 July and undated 4:2
Position statements, 1929-1990 and undated


Resolution of a Moratorium on Nuclear Power Development for War and Peaceful Purposes, June 18, 1973

Position Paper for International Year of the Child, January 15, 1979

WILPF U.S. Section Statement on the Middle East Crisis, September 5, 1990

What Constitutes Security in Central America?, undated

Border Relations Resolution, undated

WILPF newsletters, bulletins and periodicals, 1924-1986 and undated


The Peace Protocol, WILPF British Section Newsletter, November 1924

Pax International, WILPF International Newsletter, September 1929

Four Lights, WILPF U.S. Section Newsletter, May 1945

WILPF Record, Published on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of WILPF, October 15, 1965

Multiple volumes of Peace and Freedom (formerly  Four Lights), 1973-1986


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 Series III: WILPF – Sponsored Events

WILPF Western Regional Conference 1980, 1979 July-1980 August and undated 4:5
WILPF Video Project, 1981 February-1982 May and undated 4:6
WILPF Western Regional Conference 1984, 1983 May-1984 June and undated 4:7
WILPF 70th Anniversary, 1940-1985 and undated


Cassette tape with recording of San Diego chapter’s celebration event, April 25, 1985

Copy of original WILPF Preamble and Resolutions adopted 1915

ABC Campaign, 1988 June-November and undated


ABC Campaign poster (in Oversize Collections D7)

Action Conference on National Priorities, 1965 July-1969 April and undated 4:10
Conference on Nonviolence: planning, 1967 January-1968 November and undated 4:11
Conference on Nonviolence: correspondence, 1967 July-1968 March and undated 5:1
Conference on Nonviolence: polls on conference, 1967 December and undated 5:2
Effects and Dangers of Nuclear War Exhibit and Conference, 1981-1982 and undated


Photo display (in Oversize Collections D7)

Forces of Change Conference, 1966 February-March and undated 5:4
Guns to Butter Conference, 1971 January-December and undated 5:5
Hiroshima Peace Pigrimage, 1962 March-August and undated


Two crayon illustrations by 3rd grade Del Mar students (in Oversize Collections D7)

Imperial Valley strikes, 1934 January-March 5:7
Listen to Women for a Change Campaign and Poll: planning and research, 1983 July-1984 September and undated 5:8
Listen to Women for a Change Campaign and Poll: correspondence, 1983 November-1984 October and undated 5:9
Listen to Women for a Change Campaign and Poll: questionnaires and results, 1984 February-October and undated 5:10
Mother’s Day Action Conferences, 1987 May-1988 May 5:11
Politican Poll Project, 1982 July-October and undated 5:12
San Diego Peace March, 1969 November and undated 5:13
Speaking tours: Edith Ballantyne, 1985 May-October and undated 5:14
Speaking tours: Kay Camp, 1981 May-November and undated 5:15
Speaking tours: Sonia Sanchez, planning and research, 1986 November-1987 April and undated 5:16
Speaking tours: Sonia Sanchez, correspondence and event evaluations, 1986 December-1987 April and undated 5:17
Speaking tours: recordings and articles, 1985 September-1987 June and undated


Three cassette tapes with recordings of speakers Raquel Beltran, Nica Bell and Sonia Sanchez, April 6, 1987

STAR Campaign, 1982 January-April and undated 6:2
Symposium on World Peace and Disarmament, 1985 February 6:3
Turn Toward Peace Movement, 1962 March-1968 June and undated 6:4
What is Real Security? Workshop, 1986 February-1987 November and undated


“What is Security?” poster, April 6-21, 1987 (in Oversize Collections D7)


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 Series IV: U.S.-Soviet Women’s Conference

Conference planning (some in Russian), 1961 November-1972 December and undated 6:6
Finances, 1960 December-1973 July and undated 6:7
Position papers and statements, 1972 November-1973 October and undated 6:8
Conference booklet, 1972 November-December 6:9
Correspondence: internal WILPF, 1972 February-November and undated 6:10
Correspondence: Russian delegates, 1972 March-December 6:11
Correspondence: outside organizations, 1972 July-November


Correspondence with Community Television of Southern California, the Embassy of the USSR, Grayson Express Musical Group, and administrators and faculty from several University of California campuses, among others.

Correspondence: post-conference (some in Russian), 1972 December-1973 July and undated 7:1
Educational materials, 1970-1972 7:2
Articles, 1972 June-1973 January and undated 7:3
Photographs, 1972-1973 and undated 7:4

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 Series V: Research Resources

Anti-ballistic missiles and other weapons, 1968 December-1982 August and undated 7:5
Arms control and disarmament, 1969 March-1988 August and undated 7:6
China and Communism, 1965 and undated 7:7
Draft resistance, 1961 February-1980 April and undated 7:8
Economic conversion and budget issues, 1967-1969 7:9
Economic conversion and budget issues, 1969-1986 and undated 7:10
Elections, 1982 September-1986 February 7:11
Martin Luther King, Jr., 1968 April-1983 August 7:12
Latin American issues, 1966 February-1987 December and undated


Los Angeles Times Opinion section on “A Year that Proved the Futility of Reform by Violent Revolution,” December 31, 1967 (in Oversize Collections D7)

Military, 1981 February-1986 June and undated 7:14
Native Americans, 1968 June and undated 7:15
Nonviolence: research materials, 1965 June-1968 June and undated 8:1
Nonviolence: newspaper articles, 1966-1968


Manchester Guardian Weekly (Special Air Edition), June 30, 1966; May 4, 1967; July 27, 1967; and August 10, 1967 (in Box 9, folder 3)

Nuclear waste, 1979 October-1986 May and undated 8:3
Poverty and welfare, 1966 February-1986 April 8:4
United Farm Workers, 1968 April-May and undated


Original letter signed by Cesar Chavez, April-May 1968

United Nations and international issues, 1966 February-March and undated 8:6
United States politics, 1981 May-1986 February 8:7
Vietnam protests, 1969-1973 and undated 8:8
Miscellaneous articles, 1966 March and undated 8:9
Miscellaneous publications, 1932-1988


The Etude, March 1932 (in Box 9, folder 3)

Post, July 29, 1950 (in Box 9, folder 3)

Collier’s on “Hiroshima, U.S.A.,” August 5, 1950 (in Box 9, folder 3)

The New York Review of Books on “Violence and the Negro,” August 24, 1967 (in Box 9, folder 4)

San Diego Newsline, May 7-13, 1980; March 31, 1987; and April 7, 1987 (in Box 9, folder 4)

Plowshare Press, Summer 1985 (in Box 9, folder 4)

The Telescope, A Publication of the Associated Students (Palomar College), March 2, 1971; March 23, 1971; April 20, 1971; and May 7, 1971 (in Oversize Collections D7)

Los Angeles Times Opinion section, Interpretation Perspective: News in Review Editorials, May 26, 1968 (in Oversize Collections D7)

Miscellaneous publications, undated 8:11

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 Series VI: Florence Stevens Papers

Personal papers, 1962 November-2003 March and undated


Oral history interview by Ricardo Moran, March 23, 2003

Drafts of speeches


Handwritten notes


Correspondence, 1962 April-1982 February and undated


Letter to President Kennedy, April 10, 1962

Handwritten letter from Stevens to her children, February 1966

Correspondence with Helen Marston Beardsley, February-April, 1980


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 Series VII: Helen Marston Beardsley Papers

Personal papers, 1935-1982 and undated


Biographies on Beardsley

Statements for WILPF written by Beardsley


Handwritten notes

Correspondence, 1921 August-1982 July and undated


Copy of letter from Beardsley to mother, August 2, 1921

Letter from Jane Addams, May 14, 1929

Correspondence with J.C. Harper, November–December 1929

Letter from Helen Keller, June 13, 1938

Correspondence with Florence Stevens, February 1980–December 1981

Articles, 1930 April-1988 April and undated


Copy of article by Beardsley in The Open Forum, “A Woman Views Imperial Valley,” March 3, 1934

Original copy of San Diego Reader feature on “The Marstons of San Diego: We’ve Always Looked After Our City,” February 7, 1980 (in Box 9, folder 4)

Obituary for Beardsley in San Diego Union, February 23, 1982

Copy of San Diego Union article, “Memories of the Marstons,” April 20, 1988

Miscellanea, 1980 and undated


Tape cassette recording of Beardsley’s talk at WILPF 65th Anniversary celebration, 1980

Photograph of young Beardsley, undated

Photograph of elder Beardsley at awards luncheon, undated


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