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Women's International Democratic Federation (WIDF) Records, 1945-1979
4 boxes (2 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 594

Abstract:
Pacifist organization, Peace activists. Records contain printed materials dating from the founding in 1946 to its investigation by HUAC in 1949; publications of international affiliates; and records of congresses sponsored by WIDF between 1945 and 1969, primarily from the World Congress of Women held in Helsinki in 1969. Included is a biography of the founder Eugenie Cotton; correspondence of the Congress of American Women (American affiliate); and materials relating to the Vietnam War and International Women's Day.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The records are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection

Restrictions on use:

Owners of the copyright to these records is unknown. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Historical Note
Anti-nuclear flier produced by the WIDF, March 8th, 1959

Anti-nuclear flier produced by the WIDF,
March 8th, 1959

The Women's International Democratic Federation (WIDF) was founded in Paris in 1945 at the International Congress of Women by Eugenie Cotton and Marie-Claude Vaillant-Courturier. It was organized around four major concerns: anti-fascism, international peace, child welfare, and the status of women. In a 1958 interview Eugenie Cotton stated, "It was Fascism that caused the 1939-1945 war and because of this the founders of WIDF stressed their determination to work for the strengthening of democracy in the world. When they demand peace, women think first and foremost of safeguarding the lives of their children." ["Madame Cotton Tells Us"] There were Communists active in the organization and as a result, the American press labeled it as "Communist dominated."

The American affiliate of the WIDF, the Congress of American Women (CAW), was founded in New York City in 1946 to "revive the struggles of the nineteenth century woman's movement and attract women radicalized by their wartime experiences into the larger progressive movement" [Weigand 47] Shortly thereafter CAW established itself as an American branch of the WIDF. In response to the House Un-American Activities Committee's (HUAC) charge that the WIDF was a tool of the Soviet Union, the CAW disaffiliated from the WIDF in December 1949 and voted to disband in 1950.

The WIDF is an ongoing organization. According to its website it has affiliates in 160 countries.

Works Cited
  • Women of the Whole World, "Madame Cotton Tells Us." April 1958.
  • Weigand, Kate, Red Feminism: American Communism and the Making of Women's Liberation.
Scope and Contents of the Collection

The WIDF records are divided into four Series as follows:

I. GENERAL consists of miscellaneous statements, appeals, messages, subscription information, and WIDF's Tenth Anniversary publication (1955).

II. AFFILIATES contains general information, publications, and clippings about WIDF affiliates in China, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia as well as correspondence mostly with Zelma Brandt, co-chairman of the Committee of International Affairs, clippings, reports, and publications of the U.S. affiliate, the Congress of American Women (CAW). CAW materials date from the founding of the organization in 1946 to its investigation by HUAC in 1949.

II. CONGRESSES consists of records of seven congresses sponsored by WIDF between 1945 and 1969. The bulk of this series consists of agenda, financial reports, timetables, reports, speeches and anti-Vietnam War material from the World Congress of Women held in Helsinki in 1969.

III. PUBLICATIONS contains WIDF publications including Eugenie Cotton, a biography of the founder of the WIDF, Documents and Information, News In Brief and Vietnam. Also included are miscellaneous pamphlets and printed material. The WIDF's magazine, Women of the Whole World (1951-91), can be found in the SSC's periodicals collection.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The records are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection

Restrictions on use:

Owners of the copyright to these records is unknown. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Women's International Democratic Federation Records. Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass."

History of the Collection

Zelma Brandt, co-chairman of the Committee of International Affairs, Congress of American Women, donated her records of the WIDF and CAW between 1968 and 1972.

Accruals:

Periodic additions to collection are expected and may not be reflected in this record.

Processing Information

Processed by Susan Boone, 2008


Additional Information
Contact Information
Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email Reference Form: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/emailform.html
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/
Language
English, French, German

Contents List
SERIES I. GENERAL



General,
1954-75, n.d.

Box 1: folder 1
Executive Committee,
1954

Box 1: folder 2
Tenth anniversary publication,
1955

Box 1: folder 3
SERIES II. AFFILIATES



Lists,
n.d.

Box 1: folder 4
Central Committee of the Women's Anti-Fascist Front of Yugoslavia: Bulletin,
1950-51

Box 1: folder 5
Congress of American Women


Box 1
General,
1946-49, n.d.

Box 1: folder 6
Correspondence,
1946-48, n.d.

Box 1: folder 7
Publications,
1946-48, n.d.

Box 1: folder 8
Hungarian Women's Council,
1968

Box 1: folder 9
National Women's Federation of the People's Republic of China,
1965

Box 1: folder 10
Women's National Council of the Socialist Republic of Romania,
1966, n.d.

Box 1: folder 11
SERIES III. CONGRESSES



Women's International Congress, Paris,
1945

Box 1
General


Box 1: folder 12
Account of the Work


Box 1: folder 13-17
Women's International Congress (2nd), Budapest,
1948

Box 1
General


Box 1: folder 18
"Account of the Work"


Box 1: folder 19
World Congress of Women, Copenhagen,
1953

Box 1
General


Box 2: folder 1
Preparation


Box 2: folder 2
"Reports, Speeches, Documents"


Box 2: folder 3
"Special Information Bulletin After the World Congress of Women,"
1953-54

Box 2: folder 4-5
World Congress of Mothers, Lausanne,
1955

Box 2: folder 6
Fourth Congress of WIDF, Vienna,
1958

Box 2: folder 7
World Gathering of Women for Disarmament, Vienna,
1962

Box 2: folder 7a
World Congress of Women, Moscow,
1963

Box 2
General


Box 2: folder 8
"Information Bulletin"


Box 2: folder 9
World Congress of Women, Helsinki,
1969

Box 2
General


Box 2: folder 10
"Report on Activities of the WIDF"


Box 2: folder 11
"La Cause Palestienne et la Legitimite de la Resistance"


Box 2: folder 12
"Women at Work"


Box 2: folder 13
"Women in Society"


Box 2: folder 14
"Women in the Family"


Box 2: folder 15
"Women in the Struggle to Win and Defend National Independence, Democracy and Peace"


Box 2: folder 16
Speeches


Box 2: folder 17
Vietnam War: reports, draft appeal, and declarations


Box 2: folder 18
SERIES IV. PUBLICATIONS



General


Box 2
1950s-60s

Box 2: folder 19-21
1970s

Box 3: folder 1
Documents and Information


Box 3
1968-1972

Box 3: folder 2-14
1972-1973

Box 4: folder 1-2
Eugenie Cotton,
1967

Box 4: folder 3
Information Bulletin,
1948-50

Box 4: folder 4-5
International Women's Day messages,
1958-75

Box 4: folder 6
News In Brief,
1953-57, 1968-73, n.d.

Box 4: folder 7-10
Vietnam,
1972-74

Box 4: folder 11-13
Women of the Whole World,[see Periodicals collection]
1951-91

Box 4

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Brandt, Zelma Corning
  • Congress of American Women--History--Sources
  • International Women's Day--History
  • Socialism--History--20th century--Sources
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Sources
  • Women and peace--History--20th century--Sources
  • Women communists
  • Women socialists
  • Women's International Democratic Federation--History--Sources
  • Women's rights--Congresses--History--Sources
  • Women--International cooperation--History--20th century--Sources
  • World Congress of Women (1969: Helinski, Finland)


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