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International Council of Women records, 1888-1981
1.5 linear feet (4 containers)
Collection number: SSC.MS.00352

Abstract:
The International Council of Women, founded in 1888, was one of the first international women's organizations. The second international conference of the National Woman Suffrage Association, called by Susan B. Anthony, May Wright Sewall, and other suffragists, created the ICW. This is a small collection, including correspondence, minutes and committee reports, records of international conferences, constitutions, membership lists, and publications, including biographical information on ICW leaders. Topics include fine arts, health, education, housing, suffrage, laws, social welfare, trades and professions, The United Nations, and peace.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Sophia Smith Collection

Biographical / Historical

The International Council of Women (ICW), founded in 1888, was one of the first international women's organizations. The second international conference of the National Woman Suffrage Association, called by Susan B. Anthony, May Wright Sewall, and other suffragists, created the ICW. The aim of the conference was to form a National Council of Women in each self-governing country of the world. The councils would bring women from many countries together to work for women, not only in the cause of suffrage, but on many fronts. The United States National Council formed immediately, but progress elsewhere was slow. By 1893, Canada had formed a national body. In Great Britain the National Union of Women Workers federated with the National Council of Women in 1898 and later changed its name to the International Council of Women. By 1938 the number of councils affiliated with the ICW, which had developed into one of the best known and most consulted of women's international organizations, had risen to thirty-six.

In the early years of its existence, the ICW promoted National Councils and gained acceptance in the international community, but it's primary activity was planning the regular congresses. The ICW, regarded by members of other women's groups as the most conservative of women's international organizations, took pride in it's reputation, viewing it as a consequence of maintaining a broad program. It's early refusal to take a position on suffrage contributed to the formation of more radical organizations, such as the International Alliance of Women. In 1899, the Council began to take on more substantive issues, forming an International Standing Committee on Peace and International Arbitration. Other standing committees were soon established, and through them, the ICW became involved in issues from suffrage to health.

World War II caused great disorganization in the Council's work. Some national councils discontinued their work altogether; in others the leadership and organization were disrupted. In 1946, the ICW met in Philadelphia to re-focus its efforts and recover its former unity. The Conference issued a statement condemning war and all crimes against humanity, as well as demanding a more active role for women in the national and international arena.

Since its inception in 1888, the ICW's aims have been consistent-the unification of women's organizations for action to promote human rights, sexual equality, peace, and women's involvement in the international sphere. As of 2002, there are National Councils in seventy-five countries, and Regional Councils in America and Europe. The ICW continues to organize women globally, focusing on local education and health programs.

For further information about the ICW see: Worlds of Women: The Making of an International Women's Movement by Leila J. Rupp (Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ, 1997).

Scope and Contents

The International Council of Women records are by no means the complete body of records for this organization. They appear to be a more idiosyncratic collection, possibly donated by a member active in the 1950s and 1960s. They include correspondence, minutes and committee reports; records of international conferences; constitutions; membership lists; and publications, including biographical information on Lady Ishbel Aberdeen, Rachel Foster Avery, May Wright Sewall, Frances Willard, and other ICW leaders. The committee files include material regarding the ICW's activities in specific subject areas, such as fine arts, health, education, housing, suffrage, laws, social welfare, trades and professions, The United Nations, and peace. Correspondents include Vera Beggs and Alice M.Stetten.

This collection is organized into five series:

  1. I. Organization and Administration
  2. II. Committees
  3. III. Conferences and Meetings
  4. IV. Publications
  5. V. National Councils

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

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Restrictions on use:

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Preferred Citation

International Council of Women records, Sophia Smith Collection, SSC-MS-00352, Smith College Special Collections, Northampton, Massachusetts.

History of the Collection

The provenance of the ICW Records is unknown. It appears that a member of the Council, possibly Grace Gallatin Seton, whose papers are also in the SSC, may have donated her own files.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

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

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English
Bibliography

Rupp, Leila J. Worlds of Women: The Making of an International Women's Movement. (Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ, 1997).

Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
SERIES I. ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION



There is a small amount of material in this series, including constitutions and by-laws, histories and memorabilia, biographical material on Alice Salomon, correspondence, and miscellaneous material.

Contents


Box 1: folder 1
Constitution and by-laws
1936 1953-54 1962 undated

Box 1: folder 2
Histories and memorabilia
1888-1963 undated

Box 1: folder 3
Archives
1953-55

Box 1: folder 4
Alice Salomon: biographical materials
1981 undated

Box 1: folder 5
Correspondence



Dr. Jeanne Eder
1950-53

Box 1: folder 6
Miscellaneous
1950-59 undated

Box 1: folder 7
Miscellaneous lists, reports, and mailings
1957-72 undated

Box 1: folder 8
SERIES II. COMMITTEES



This series consists of general material relating to standing committees, as well as documents produced by individual committees covering subject areas such as arts and letters, cinema, education, housing, international relations and peace, social welfare, and trades and professions (arranged alphabetically by committee name). The bulk of the items were created in the 1950s and 60s.

Standing committees
1957-60

Box 1: folder 9
Arts and Letters
1950-61

Box 1: folder 10
Cinema
1931 1951 1960 undated

Box 1: folder 11
Education
1950-51 undated

Box 1: folder 12
Executive
1951 1963-64

Box 1: folder 13
F.A.O. [Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. ?]
1960?

Box 1: folder 14
Finance
1950 1960

Box 1: folder 15
Health
1950

Box 1: folder 16
Home Economics
1950 1961-62

Box 1: folder 17
Housing
1950 1963 1967

Box 1: folder 18
International Committee for the World Refugee Year
1963

Box 1: folder 19
International Relations and Peace
1947 1960 1952 undated

Box 1: folder 20
Laws and Suffrage
1950-51 1967

Box 1: folder 21
Migration
1951 1963

Box 1: folder 22
Moral Welfare
1960

Box 1: folder 23
Radio and Television
1950-51 1965

Box 1: folder 24
Social Welfare
1950-51 1960 1963-64

Box 1: folder 25
Trades and Professions
1963

Box 1: folder 26
United Nations
1951 1960-63

Box 1: folder 27
Women in Community Development (ad hoc)
1966

Box 1: folder 28
SERIES III. CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS



This largest series contains records of ICW Conferences and meetings, arranged chronologically. There is one folder of material related to board meetings in the 1950s and 1960s.

First International Women's Conference, Washington, DC
1888


General: speech by Isabella Beecher Hooker and The Birth of the I.C.W.
1938

Box 2: folder 1
Report of the International Council of Women
1888

Box 2: folder 2
International Council of Women, Berlin
1904

Box 2: folder 3
Quinquennial Meeting, Rome
1914

Box 2: folder 4
Meeting with the League of Nations
10 Apr 1919

Box 2: folder 5
Eighth Quinquennial Meeting, Vienna
1930

Box 2: folder 6
International Congress of Women, Chicago
1933

Box 2: folder 7
Joint Conference of the International Council of Women and the International Council of Women in India, Calcutta
1936

Box 2: folder 8
First Post-war Conference, Philadelphia
1947

Box 2: folder 9
Triennial meeting, Athens
1951

Box 2: folder 10
Triennial meeting, Helsinki
1954

Box 2: folder 11
Sixteenth Triennial meeting, Istanbul
1960


Programs, correspondence, reports, and resolutions
1959-60

Box 3: folder 1
Nominations


Box 3: folder 2
Seventeenth Triennial meeting, Washington, DC
1963

Box 3: folder 3
Eighteenth Triennial meeting, Tehran
1966

Box 3: folder 4
Nineteenth Plenary Conference, Bangkok
1970

Box 3: folder 5
Board meetings
1950-62

Box 3: folder 6
SERIES IV. PUBLICATIONS



This series is a miscellaneous collection of various ICW published reports, newsletters and other periodicals, pamphlets, press releases, and newspaper clippings. As is the case in the other series, the bulk of the material was published in the 1950s and 1960s.

Biennial Report
1925-27

Box 3: folder 7
Bulletin: 1947 issues and notes for 1952-53 issues
1952-53

Box 3: folder 8
Quarterly: First Quarter 1960 issue and correspondence
1959-60

Box 3: folder 9
Monthly News Sheet/Newsletter
1956-70

Box 3: folder 10
Miscellaneous: pamphlets by and about, brochures, press releases, and clippings
1930-67 undated

Box 3: folder 11
SERIES V. NATIONAL COUNCILS



This series is arranged alphabetically by country, contains small files on many of the National Councils, again primarily from the 1950s-60s, consisting primarily of constitutions, correspondence, reports, and lists.

Miscellaneous reports and lists
1947-61 undated

Box 4: folder 1
Australia
1953-66 undated

Box 4: folder 2
Bolivia
1959

Box 4: folder 3
Cameroon
1961

Box 4: folder 4
Canada
1949-60

Box 4: folder 5
Denmark
1948

Box 4: folder 6
France
1960

Box 4: folder 7
Ghana
1960

Box 4: folder 8
Great Britain
1960-61

Box 4: folder 9
Greece
1960-61

Box 4: folder 10
Haiti
1961

Box 4: folder 11
India
1948 1950 1960

Box 4: folder 12
Iran
1966-67

Box 4: folder 13
Italy
1960

Box 4: folder 14
Kenya
1960

Box 4: folder 15
Netherlands
undated

Box 4: folder 16
New Zealand
1960

Box 4: folder 17
Nigeria
1960-61 undated

Box 4: folder 18
Norway
1960

Box 4: folder 19
Peru
1949

Box 4: folder 20
Rhodesia
1960

Box 4: folder 21
South Africa
1960 1963

Box 4: folder 22
Sweden
1960

Box 4: folder 23
Turkey
1960

Box 4: folder 24
Uganda
1960-61

Box 4: folder 25
United States
1960

Box 4: folder 26
Books on Shelf



National Council of the United States, Our Common Cause Civilization
1933


ICW Quinquennial Record 1909, Transactions of the National Council of Women of the United States, Assembled in Washington, D.C., February 22 to 25, 1891
1891



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
  • Aberdeen, Ishbel, 1857-1939
  • Avery, Rachel Foster, 1858-
  • Beggs, Vera W. (Vera Wadsworth), d. 1968--Correspondence
  • Eder, Jeanne--Correspondence
  • Gilman, Charlotte Perkins, 1860-1935
  • International Council of Women
  • International Council of Women--History--Sources
  • National Council of Women of the United States--History--Sources
  • Salomon, Alice, 1872-1948
  • Sewall, May Wright, 1844-1920
  • Stetten, Alice Mayer, 1887-1972.--Correspondence
  • Willard, Frances Elizabeth, 1839-1898
  • Women's rights--Congresses--History--Sources
  • Women--International cooperation--History--20th century--Sources
  • Women--Societies and clubs--United States--History--Sources
  • unknown

Genre terms
  • Biographical sketches
  • Constitutions
  • Membership lists
  • Minutes
  • Publications
  • clippings
  • correspondence
  • reports


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