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Women's International Democratic Federation (WIDF) Records, 1945-1979
3 boxes (1.5 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. Copyright to materials authored by persons or other organizations may be owned by those individuals or organizations or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond fair use must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

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." [Women of the Whole World, April 1958, "Madame Cotton Tells Us"]. Although the WIDF was not a Communist group, there were Communists active in the organization. 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, Kate, Red Feminism: American Communism and the Making of Women's Liberation, page 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 Web site it has affiliates in 160 countries [http://www.fdim-widf.com.br/indexingles.htm]

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The WIDF records are arranged in three Series:

I. AFFILIATES contains two sections: Congress of American Women (American affiliate) and publications from various international affiliates. The former consists of correspondence mostly with Zelma Brandt, co-chairman of the Committee of International Affairs; and clippings, reports, and publications dating from the founding of the organization in 1946 to its investigation by HUAC in 1949. The latter contains publications from affiliates in China, Hungary, and Romania.

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 publications of WIDF including Eugenie Cotton, a biography of the founder of the WIDF, XIVth Session of the Executive Committee of the WIDF (1954), materials related to International Women's Day, runs of News In Brief and Vietnam, plus miscellaneous pamphlets and printed material. Additional publications of the WIDF, Women of the Whole World, Documents and Information, and Information Bulletin for the Paris and Yugoslavia branches are located in the Periodicals Collection of the Sophia Smith 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. Copyright to materials authored by persons or other organizations may be owned by those individuals or organizations or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond fair use must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

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. AFFILIATES



Congress of American Women



Correspondence
1946-48, n.d.

Box 1: folder 1
Clippings, reports, and publications
1946-49, n.d.

Box 1: folder 2
National Women's Federation of the People's Republic of China
1965

Box 1: folder 3
Hungarian Women's Council
1968

Box 1: folder 4
Women's National Council of the Socialist Republic of Romania
1966, n.d.

Box 1: folder 5
Miscellaneous lists
n.d.

Box 1: folder 6
SERIES II. CONGRESSES



Women's International Congress, Paris(in French)
1945

Box 1: folder 7
Women's International Congress (2nd), Budapest
1948

Box 1: folder 8
World Congress of Women, Copenhagen
1953

Box 1: folder 9
World Congress of Mothers, Lausanne
1955

Box 2: folder 1
Fourth Congress of WIDF, Vienna
1958

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

Box 2: folder 3
World Congress of Women, Helsinki
1969

Box 2
Agenda, timetable, and financial report


Box 2: folder 4
Reports



"Activities of the WIDF"


Box 2: folder 5
"La Cause Palesteinne et la Legitimate de la Resistance"


Box 2: folder 6
"The Role of Women in the World Today"


Box 2: folder 7
"Women at Work"


Box 2: folder 8
"Women in Society"


Box 2: folder 9
"Women in the Family"


Box 2: folder 10
"Women in the Struggle to Win and Defend National Independence, Democracy and Peace"


Box 2: folder 11
Speeches


Box 2: folder 12
Vietnam War: reports, draft appeal, and declarations


Box 2: folder 13
SERIES III. PUBLICATIONS



Eugenie Cotton
1967

Box 3: folder 1
Executive Committee, XIVth Session
1954

Box 3: folder 2
International Women's Day
1958-75

Box 3: folder 3
News In Brief
1953-72

Box 3: folder 4
Vietnam
1972-74

Box 3: folder 5
Miscellaneous



Pamphlets
1954-79, n.d.

Box 3: folder 6
Printed materials
1951-75, n.d.

Box 3: folder 7

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
  • 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 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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