[OASIS] Harvard University Library
OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:RAD.SCHL:sch00207View HOLLIS Record   Frames Version
Questions or Comments   Copyright Statement

On July 16, 2018, OASIS will retire. It will be replaced by HOLLIS for Archival Discovery. Please explore.
MC 399

Paul, Alice, 1885-1977. Papers of Alice Paul, 1785-1985 (inclusive), 1805-1985 (bulk): A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 399
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Title: Papers of Alice Paul, 1785-1985 (inclusive), 1805-1985 (bulk)
Date(s): 1785-1985
Date(s): 1805-1985
Quantity: 50.79 linear feet (109 file boxes, 2 half file boxes, 1 folio box, 8 card file boxes) plus 7 folio folders, 16 folio+ folders, 7 oversize folders, 2 oversize volumes, photographs, and audiovisual material)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, minutes, reports, photographs, etc., of Alice Paul, Quaker, lawyer, and women's rights activist.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 87-M37, 89-M187, 89-M188, 90-M91
The papers of Alice Paul were purchased for the Schlesinger Library from the estate of Alice Paul's nephew, Donald Paul, by the Alice Paul Centennial Foundation in February 1987.

Processing Information:

Processed: June 1990
By: Susan von Salis, Anne Engelhart, Alison Ernst, Joan Ferguson

Access Restrictions:

Access. The collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Alice Paul as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied for individual researchers or other libraries in accordance with the Schlesinger Library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Alice Paul Papers, 1785-1985; item description, dates. MC 399, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Videotape collection of Alice Paul, 1976-1977 (Vt-50.).


The following items have been removed from the collection:


Quaker, lawyer, and lifelong activist for women's rights, Alice Paul was born on January 11, 1885, in Moorestown, New Jersey, the daughter of William Mickle and Tacie (Parry) Paul. She was educated at Swarthmore (B.A. 1905) and the University of Pennsylvania (M.A. 1907, Ph.D. 1912), where her doctoral dissertation was on the legal status of women in Pennsylvania. She later earned law degrees from Washington College of Law (LL.B. 1922) and American University (LL.M. 1927, DC.L. 1928).
A social worker in New York City, 1905-1907, Paul also studied economics and sociology at the universities of London and Birmingham and worked at a number of British social settlements (1907-1910). While in England she was active in the Women's Social and Political Union and was arrested and jailed repeatedly as a participant in the campaign for women's rights led by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, Christabel and Sylvia.
Returning to the United States in 1910, Paul was appointed chair of the Congressional Committee of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1912. It campaigned for the passage of a federal amendment and for a time functioned concurrently with the new Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, founded by Paul in April 1913. A clash between advocates of a federal amendment and proponents of a state- by-state approach led to a split between the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage and National American Woman Suffrage Association in February 1914. In June 1916, the National Woman's Party was organized, its nucleus composed of Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage members and its sole plank a resolution calling for immediate passage of the federal amendment guaranteeing the enfranchisement of women (the "Susan B. Anthony Amendment"). This amendment was finally passed by Congress in 1919 and ratified as the Nineteenth Amendment in August 1920.
Following its reorganization in 1921, the National Woman's Party began a long battle to end all legal discrimination against women in the United States and to raise the legal, social, and economic status of women around the world. As written in 1923 by Paul, the Equal Rights Amendment (known also as the "Lucretia Mott Amendment") was first introduced in Congress in December of that year. For almost fifty years, the National Woman's Party had this or later versions of the ERA introduced in every session of Congress; it was passed in the House and Senate in 1971 and 1972, respectively but, with a 1982 deadline, failed to secure the votes necessary for ratification.
On the international front, in the 1920s the National Woman's Party campaigned for women's rights in conjunction with the Six Point Group and the Open Door Council, and in 1928 helped to establish the Inter-American Commission of Women, an advisory unit of the Pan American Union (later the Organization of American States). Beginning in 1930, the National Woman's Party, through its membership in Equal Rights International and with the Women's Consultative Committee on Nationality of the League of Nations, worked to improve the legal status of women. For ten years the National Woman's Party tried unsuccessfully to block the ratification of The Hague nationality convention of 1930, which contained several provisions that discriminated against women. Paul and the National Woman's Party also received little support from League delegates for the Equal Rights Treaty (modeled on the ERA) and the more limited Equal Nationality Treaty, which dealt only with citizenship.
In 1938 Paul founded the World Woman's Party in Geneva, Switzerland. Although it was forced to shift its headquarters to Washington, D.C., during World War II, the World Woman's Party continued to help European women and their families with nationality and refugee issues. After the war, the World Woman's Party lobbied successfully for the inclusion of equality provisions in the United Nations charter, and worked in close consultation with the Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Human Rights, both agencies of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, on numerous reports on the status of women, and on including equal rights provisions in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Almost all of Paul's life was devoted to her work in the National Woman's Party and World Woman's Party, and for the ERA, and her papers reflect this devotion. Most correspondence, even if partly personal, also touches on her work. Even her family was drawn into it to some extent: Paul's sister Helen served for a time as her secretary; they also occasionally lived together. Her nephew Donald, a would-be entrepreneur, was conservator of her estate, and so for a time was custodian of these papers. Both Helen and Donald were Christian Scientists.
Paul died in Moorestown, New Jersey, on July 9, 1977. For additional biographical information, see The Story of the Woman's Party, by Inez Haynes Irwin (1921); "Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party, 1912-1920," by Loretta Ellen Zimmerman (Ph.D. dissertation, Tulane University, 1964); "Conversations with Alice Paul: Woman Suffrage and the Equal Rights Amendment," an interview by Amelia R. Fry (Suffragists Oral History Project, University of California, Berkeley, 1976); The National Woman's Party Papers,1913-1974: A Guide to the Microform Collection, edited by Thomas C. Pardo (Microfilming Corporation of America, 1979); The Origins of the Equal Rights Amendment: American Feminism between the Wars, by Susan D. Becker (1981); and From Equal Suffrage to Equal Rights: Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party, 1910-1928, by Christine A. Lunardini (1986). The records of the National Woman's Party are at the Library of Congress.


The collection is arranged in five series:


The Alice Paul papers came to the library in a state of considerable disarray, with a large proportion of duplicates, books, periodicals, and irrelevant items. Several rounds of weeding were required to reduce them from more than 300 linear feet to their present size. Some duplicates and items considered to have little research value were given to the Alice Paul Centennial Foundation for use at Paulsdale, Paul's birthplace and childhood home, now on the National Register of Historic Places. Other duplicates were offered to the Smithsonian Institution, the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, and the National Organization for Women; the staffs of all these institutions had been helpful in the acquisition of the papers. Twenty-six reels of 8mm. film were transferred to videotape by Brodsky and Treadway and a copy of the tape purchased from them in October 1989. Copies of original audiotapes were made by Harvard University's Modern Language Center in June 1990.
It is clear from notes attached to various documents throughout the collection that portions of this collection were included in the microfilm edition published by the Microfilming Corporation of America in 1979; the extent of the overlap between this collection and that on the microfilm (most of which is at the Library of Congress) is not certain, however.
Series I, Personal and family, contains biographical and genealogical information; a journal (1901) from Paul's freshman year at Swarthmore; date books; legal and financial documents, including material about her estate and other property; family papers and correspondence, including letters Paul wrote to her mother from England; correspondence with friends and with organizations, of most of which she was a member; photographs; home movies; and videotapes of television specials with interviews of Paul. For additional information on videotapes in this collection, see Vt-50.
Series II, Suffrage, documents Paul's activities in the movement until 1920 and the passage of the 19th Amendment. It includes a summons and judgment, and pamphlets, leaflets, and clippings from the British campaign; and from the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage and National Woman's Party, general and financial correspondence, reports from field representatives, photographs, pamphlets, leaflets, and clippings.
Series III, National Woman's Party, is divided into administrative and program records (Series IV, which is similarly organized). Administrative records include by-laws, legal documents, and minutes; membership; financial; and correspondence. Programs include records of committees, research on the legal status of women, ERA campaigns, and other aspects of the National Woman's Party's work. Among the administrative records are the constitution, deeds and contracts, and court documents about the internal dispute (1947); histories of the National Woman's Party and Alva Belmont House; photographs; minutes and reports of the National Council; and convention programs, agendas, and announcements. Membership includes lists of members and officers, invoices, pledges, lists of contributors, and membership cards. General office correspondence dates from 1922-1977 and is arranged chronologically.
Financial records consist of correspondence; treasurer's reports and statements of receipts and disbursements; audit reports; minutes and audit reports of the Investment and Endowment Fund Committee; financial statements of the periodical Equal Rights; and financial reports, expense accounts, bills, and check stubs pertaining to the National Woman's Party's international activities.
Records of National Woman's Party programs and other initiatives include minutes and membership lists of the Women's Joint Legislative Committee for Equal Rights. There are questionnaires from the Committee on International Relations about women losing their native citizenship, and others, from a survey sponsored by the National Woman's Party's Government Workers' Council, about a law prohibiting both husband and wife from working as government employees. Also included are the Legal Research Department's summaries by state of the effect of labor laws on men and women and the legal position of women, and "The Law of Women," compiled and edited by the LED; correspondence and treasurer's reports from the Women's Research Foundation; drafts and background material for "Towards Equality," Paul's 1928 dissertation; Congressional documents, speeches, statements, and resolutions by the National Woman's Party and others about the ERA campaign; press releases, pamphlets, broadsides, sheet music, and other publications; clippings by or about the National Woman's Party and its members; taped interviews with Alice Paul and others; biographies of members and other prominent American women; and statements, Congressional documents, and clippings concerning the status of women, sex discrimination, civil rights legislation, and other women's issues.
Series IV, World Woman's Party, is organized similarly to the National Woman's Party series. Administrative records include minutes, reports, resolutions, a broadcast tape of the opening ceremonies of the headquarters in Geneva, and photographs. Membership consists of correspondence, receipts, and member- ship cards. Among the financial records are correspondence, receipts, account books, and check registers. Part of general correspondence is organized by correspondent but the bulk is arranged chronologically.
World Woman's Party program material includes publicity; correspondence about certain refugee cases; and correspondence, reports, minutes, and publications of other organizations, including the International Labour Organization, the Six Point Group, and the United Nations.
Series V, Other international activities, includes correspondence; photographs, reports, and minutes from the Women's Consultative Committee on Nationality; speeches and articles by National Woman's Party members and others on nationality and the Equal Rights Treaty; National Woman's Party publications about its international activities; publications and news releases of the League of Nations, the Inter-American Commission of Women, Open Door International, the Six Point Group, and other international organizations; correspondence and multiple drafts of the survey of nationality laws undertaken by the Inter-American Commission of Women; background material on the World Conference on the Codification of International Law at The Hague and on treaties and laws concerning women; Congressional documents about nationality legislation; and clippings about the international feminist movement, equal rights, and nationality.


Container List

Additional Index Terms

Christian Scientists
Conference for the Codification of International Law (1st : 1930 : Hague, Netherlands)
Equal rights amendments--United States
International American Conference
International law
Minimum wage--United States
Sex discrimination against women--Law and legislation
Social workers
Society of Friends
Women (International law)
Women--Legal status, laws, etc.
Women--Suffrage--Great Britain
Women--Suffrage--United States
Women's rights
World War, 1939-1945--Refugees
Ackley, Fannie
Allender, Nina
Belmont, Alva Erskine Smith Vanderbilt, 1853-1933
Brent, Margaret, 1600-1670?
Catt, Carrie Chapman, 1859-1947
Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (U.S.)
Fry, Amelia R.
Gallatin, Albert, 1761-1849
Hill, Elsie Mary, 1883-1970
Inter-American Commission of Women
International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Equal Citizenship
International Labour Organisation
League of Nations. Women's Consultative Committee on Nationality
Martin, Anne, 1875-1951
Milholland, Inez
Murray, Mary A.
National American Woman Suffrage Association
National Woman's Party
Open Door International for the Economic Emancipation of the Woman Worker
Pankhurst, Christabel, Dame, 1880-1958
Paul family
Pethick-Lawrence, Emmeline, 1867-1954
Pollitzer, Anita, 1894-1975
Powell, Ernestine
Ransome, Amy C., 1872-1942
Rogers, Elizabeth Selden
Shaw, Anna Howard, 1847-1919
Six Point Group
Swarthmore College
United Nations
Vernon, Mabel
Weed, Helena H.
Women's Joint Legislative Committee for Equal Rights
World Woman's Party
Younger, Maud