World Peace Foundation Records, 1808 -- 2011


Title: World Peace Foundation Records
Dates: 1808 -- 2011
Creator: World Peace Foundation
Call Number: MS076
Size: 155.8 Cubic Feet, 205 Volumes, 6 Audiovisual Object(s), 47 Digital Object(s), 131 Box(es), 3 Folder(s), Oversize Folders
Language(s): English  
Permanent URL:
    Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University


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.


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.


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.

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

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

Use Restrictions

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.

Collection History

Processing Notes

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.

This collection is processed.

Custodial History

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

Subjects and Genre Terms
  • World Peace Foundation
  • League of Nations
  • Peace movements--United States
  • Greater Boston history
  • Social justice

Series Description

  1. Subject files, 1808 -- 1985

    This series contains materials produced or collected by the World Peace Foundation between 1899 and 1941. They include books, pamphlets, broadsheets, flyers, manuscripts, essays, sheet music, maps, correspondence, and minutes and agenda. The materials are organized by subject, with a numerical cataloguing system. They document the activities of the World Peace Foundation in its mission to spread the philosophy of pacifism. Most of the items date from 1912 to 1941, and deal with racial and ethnic tensions around the world between the two world wars, particularly Japanese-American relations. Much of the collection also concerns both the founding of the World Peace Foundation and the League of Nations. Additional material of interest covers the World War I, labor relations in the 1920s and 1930s, various women's peace movements in the 1920s and 1930s, the naval treaties of the 1920s, and the activities of the Massachusetts Intercollegiate Model League of Nations.

  2. Books and pamphlets, 1832 -- 1947

    This series contains books and pamphlets produced or collected by the World Peace Foundation. Most date from between 1912 and 1938. They largely concern the treaties and armament reduction agreements of the 1920s. There are also several committee reports on economic conditions in the US. Additionally, there are several photographs of Japanese atrocities in Nanking.

  3. Inactive projects, 1901 -- 2003

    This series consists of materials generated by the World Peace Foundation for conferences/meetings, studies, books, and reports between 1979 and 2003 as part of its efforts to promote pacifism and humanitarianism around the world. It includes project proposals, studies, grants, budgets, pre- and post-conference correspondence, agendas, participant lists and addresses, copies of conference/meeting papers, and press releases. The World Peace Foundation conferences/meetings led to the production of World Peace Foundation Reports, books, or both. For example the World Peace Foundation held a meeting on "Humanitarian Crises, Policy Making, and the Media: Strengthening Interaction in the Electronic Age" on December 8-10, 1994, which resulted in the WPF Report 7, The Media, Humanitarian Crises, and Policy-Making and the book From Massacres to Genocide: The Media, Public Policy, and Humanitarian Crises. The WPF Report reviews the results of the conferences/meetings, and the books contain revised versions of the conference/meeting papers organized as book chapters.

    Also included in this collection are book forwards, table of contents, book contracts, publisher correspondence, and book reviews. This series does not contain copies of WPF Reports for all of the conferences/meetings and there are no final copies of books only typed edited versions. Many of the project records are incomplete some contain information either pertaining to the conference/meeting, book, or WPF Report. For example this series contains four WPF Reports, numbers 29, 30, 31, and 35, however, there is no other information about what conferences/meetings these reports were created from or if a book was produced.

  4. Correspondence and Subject Files, 1945 -- 1995

    This series consists of correspondence and subject files received and generated by the World Peace Foundation from 1960 to 1982. The material documents the activities of the World Peace Foundation in promoting pacifism and humanitarian efforts around the world. The letters are catalogued alphabetically by author/subject. Much of this material concerns the activities of the WPF in Latin America and Africa, as well as the WPF's involvement in anti-war activities in the 1960s. It also contains items concerning decolonization, nuclear proliferation, and environmental concerns. In addition to correspondence, the folders contain contracts, meeting minutes, reports, memos, agendas, CVs, and conference documents.

  5. World Peace Foundation Financial records, 1935 -- 2009

    This series contains financial records from the World Peace Foundation. Records include audit reports, financial statements, bank statements, investment returns, and both federal and state tax returns. Tax returns are not normally kept. However, in this case, DCA decided to keep tax returns because no other summary of financial records exists for the World Peace Foundation for some years. Arrangement is chronological and then alphabetical within a year or range of years. It should be noted that financial records were kept by calendar year until 1986, after which records are kept by fiscal year running from July 1- June 30 fiscal year. (Because of this change, January through June of 1986 were treated as a fiscal year.) For example: records dated October 1990 are found in folders labeled FY1991.

  6. Board of Trustees records, 1910 -- 2002

    This series consists of Trustee correspondence, memoranda, meeting minutes and agendas, reports, and project proposals. The materials were produced by the World Peace Foundation's Board of Trustees between 1977 and 1999. Trustee correspondence is arranged alphabetically by the last name of the trustee member. All other materials are organized chronologically by year. Also included in this series are documents pertaining to the Board of Trustees' search for an Executive Director for the World Peace Foundation in 1981 and another Executive Director search from 1991-1992. The Executive Director searches consist of correspondence, resumes, interviews, ratings of applicants by Board of Trustees members, and follow-up interviews. Also included in these records are reports from the Board of Trustees' Assistant Treasurer from 1970-1975.

  7. Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) Records, 1959 -- 1999

    In 1974, Harvard University created the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) to promote aid, education, and research on Africa, Asia, Latin America, and areas of Europe. The Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) was disbanded in 2000; however, many of the projects being conducted at the time of its termination were adopted by other Harvard University departments. The remaining projects were transferred to other organizations, including the World Peace Foundation.

    The World Peace Foundation also conducted conferences and meetings with the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) prior to its dissolution. The documents of this series were created by the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) between 1959 and 1994. The materials consist of conferences/meetings papers, correspondence, proposals, outlines, and seminars dealing with Africa. For example, the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) sponsored the "Seminar on African Finance Ministers" October 3-5, 1996, and created records including correspondence, outlines, and participant information. This series also includes papers from the HIID Research retreat in 1996 and proposals for African civil service awards. The civil service awards documents consist of correspondence about awards such as the Harvard Awards for Excellence in the African Civil Service. Documents are arranged chronologically by year.

    Also included in this series are drafts of Henry Masauko Blasius Chipembere's autobiography "Hero of the Nation: Chipembere of Malawi." The materials concerning Chipembere's autobiography consist of a hand-written rough draft of the autobiography, typed edited versions of the autobiography, correspondence about Chipembere and his autobiography between 1965 and 1975, newspaper clippings about Chipembere, and other documents written by Chipembere. Materials are arranged chronologically by year.

    Henry Masauko Blasius Chipembere (1930-1975), a Malawian Politician, was one of the leaders of the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) in 1955 and later joined the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). Once the independent state of Malawi was established in 1964 and Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda became President of Malawi, there was opposition against Banda. In 1965, Chipembere led an unsuccessful revolt against Banda's administration and fled into exile. Chipembere wrote an autobiography about his life, the circumstances that led to the founding of Malawi as an independent state, and his exile.

  8. International Organization Financial Records, 1970 -- 1994

    This series contains statements of transactions/investment reviews, financial statements, and income forms related to the journal, International Organization (IO), published by World Peace Foundation. Since 1947, the World Peace Foundation has been publishing International Organization (IO). When first published, IO focused on United Nations issues and work by international organizations. Over the years, its focus shifted to issues of international relations. Originally published by MIT Press, IO is currently published by Cambridge University Press (CUP). [Based on original series description by Sylvia Augusteijn]

  9. Edwin Ginn Trust Financial Records, 1849 -- 1989

    This series contains documents pertaining to the Edwin Ginn Trust such as investment reviews and appraisals, investment summaries, correspondence, property deeds, and documents related to Edwin Ginn's will and estate. In 1910, Ginn founded the International School of Peace, which later became the World Peace Foundation. When he died in 1914, he left $1,000,000 to the World Peace Foundation.

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  10. World Peace Foundation, Copyright Certificates and Ledgers, 1911 -- 1991

    This series contains copyright certificates for publications produced by the World Peace Foundation, 1959-1971,and oversize/bound ledgers of the World Peace Foundation, 1911-1991. The ledgers contain daily entries, cash balances, and balances for specific accounts of the World Peace Foundation. Several of the older ledgers contain ranges of overlapping years, however, several volumes contain indices to facilitate use. Some old ledger bindings are beginning to disintegrate and are very fragile. Starting with 1983, ledgers are bound computer printouts of 'general ledgers and trial balances' as well as a few other investment printout statements.

  11. Bound publications and pamphlets, 1838 -- 2010

    This series contains bound copies of publications of the World Peace Foundation and their pamphlet series.

  12. Reference materials, 1901 -- 2010

    This series contains reference materials used by the World Peace Foundation. It includes books and materials related to the mission of the World Peace Foundation, but distributed by non-WPF publishers.

  13. Office Files, 1862 -- 2011

    This series contains the office files of the World Peace Foundation. Included are materials pertaining to books published by the WPF and Brookings Institute, conferences and meetings hosted by the WPF, historical research about Edwin Ginn and early 20th century publishing, and personnel files for employees, trustees, and fellows. This series contains some historical material outlining the administrative history of the WPF (some original, some photocopied), including the original 1910 charter of the World Peace Foundation and a copy of Edwin Ginn's will.

  14. Rotberg research and personal files, 1900 -- 2009

    This series contains research files related to the World Peace Foundation compiled and maintained by Robert Rotberg.

View Online Materials

Some of the materials from this collection are available online. Not all materials have necessarily been digitized.