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Discrete CollectionsPolitics, economics and social science collections
TitleWomen's International League for Peace and Freedom, British Section
Extent879 files
Admin Biographical HistoryThe Women's International League for Peace and Freedom was formed in 1915, when a group of women met for an International Women's Congress in The Hague, Holland when most of Europe was engaged in the First World War. The organisers of the Congress were prominent women in the International Suffrage Alliance from both belligerent and neutral countries. Despite the difficulties of travel during war time approximately 1200 women from 12 countries attended the congress, several women were also prevented from attending. This included 180 British women who the British government either denied a passport or prevented those that did hold one from attending by closing the North Sea to shipping. The congress acted as a protest against World War I and the women discussed the principles on which the war could be stopped and a permanent peace constructed. The Congress established an International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace, which four years later became the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

Following the end of the war WILPF held their second International Congress in Zurich, Switzerland in 1919 (with several members of the British section attending) and shortly afterwards WILPF established an office in Geneva, Switzerland which would be the organisation's headquarters. They have since then regularly held International Congresses roughly every three years. During the 1920s and 1930s WILPF campaigned heavily for peace and disarmament, organising peace marches in Great Britain in 1926 and collecting signatures for a world disarmament petition in the early 1930s. On the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 communication between the different sections across the world proved difficult, part of the WILPF office moved to New York, USA with the remainder staying in Geneva. The British section remained active throughout the war.

The post war campaigning activities of WILPF have largely been concerned with nuclear disarmament, social and economic justice and the protection of individual human rights. The British section were active in Greenham Common and supported the anti - apartheid campaign in South Africa. WILPF continues to be active today, although many sections across the world are struggling with falling membership figures and financial difficulties. There are currently sections in 32 countries and WILPF is recognised as an NGO.
Custodial HistoryThe archive has been received in the following deposits:

WILPF/1 - 14, given by WILPF, c. 1971.
WILPF/15, given by Mary Nuttall, 1979.
WILPF/16, given by Edith Ineson, 1980.
WILPF/17 - 18, unknown.
WILPF/19 - 23, unknown.
WILPF/2009, given to The Women's Library in five accessions between 2000 - 2001. Transferred to LSE Library, 2009.
WILPF/2011, given by WILPF, 2011.
WILPF/2012, given by Margaret Turner, 2012.
DescriptionThe archive includes: WILPF constitutions and rules; British section committee records; Annual reports; Circular letters; WILPF correspondence, reports and papers of Catherine Marshall; Press cuttings, publications and publicity material; International, British section and local branch records; WILPF publications; Women's National Commission papers; United Nations papers; WILPF campaigns and projects; WILPF correspondence with the UK and international governments; General correspondence; Seminar and conference papers; Mary Nuttall papers; Edith Ineson papers; Minutes; International congresses; Papers relating to individual members; International executive committee papers; Photographs; Audio visual recordings; Elisabeth Goffe papers; Margot Miller papers; Other peace organisations records.
Related MaterialPrint collections:
The LSE Library and Women's Library Printed Collections hold some publications by the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, including incomplete sets of newsletters and annual reports.

WILPF Archives in the UK:
Additional WILPF, British section records can be found at the University of Bradford.
WILPF: South Wales Branch - Glamorgan Record Office.
WILPF: Aberystwyth branch - National Library of Wales.
WILPF: Liverpool branch - Liverpool Record Office.
WILPF: North Wales branch - Bangor University, Archives and Special collections.
Local record offices should be checked for branch records which are not listed here.

WILPF Archives held internationally:
WILPF: International Headquarters - University of Colorado, Boulder.
WILPF: US section - Swarthmore College Peace Collection.
WILPF: Michigan Branch, University of Michigan.
WILPF: Essex County, New Jersey Branch, New Jersey Historical Society Library.
WILPF: Buffalo Branch, SUNY Buffalo.
WILPF: Seattle Branch, University of Washington.
WILPF: Springfield Branch, University of Illinois, Springfield.
WILPF: Chapel Hill Branch (North Carolina), Duke University.
WILPF: Canda section, University of British Columbia Rare Books and Special Collections.
WILPF: Australia section, Australian National Library, Canberra.
WILPF: Aotearoa (New Zealand) Section, Alexander Turnbull Library, part of the National Library of New Zealand.
Access StatusOpen
Copyright TypeCopyright is held by the depositor
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