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International Council of Women Records, 1888-1959
4 boxes (1.5 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 352

Abstract:
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:

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

Restrictions on use:

The copyright owner of this collection is unknown. 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

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.

Flyer for International Council of Women  on objectives and history of the organization, 1950

Flyer for International Council of Women on
objectives and history of the organization, 1950

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 of the Collection

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.


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:

The copyright owner of this collection is unknown. 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:

International Council of Women Records, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

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.

Processing Information

Reprocessed by Amy Hague, 2002 .


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.
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.

Series Descriptions



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.




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.




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.




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.




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.

Contents List
SERIES I. ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION



Contents


Box 1: folder 1
Constitution and by-laws,
1936, 1953-54, 1962, n.d.

Box 1: folder 2
Histories and memorabilia,
1888-1963, n.d.

Box 1: folder 3
Archives,
1953-55

Box 1: folder 4
Alice Salomon: biographical materials,
1981, n.d.

Box 1: folder 5
Correspondence



Dr. Jeanne Eder,
1950-53

Box 1: folder 6
Miscellaneous,
1950-59, n.d.

Box 1: folder 7
Miscellaneous lists, reports, and mailings,
1957-72, n.d.

Box 1: folder 8
SERIES II. COMMITTEES



Standing committees,
1957-60

Box 1: folder 9
Arts and Letters,
1950-61

Box 1: folder 10
Cinema,
1931, 1951, 1960, n.d.

Box 1: folder 11
Education,
1950-51, n.d.

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, n.d.

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



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



Biennial Report,
1925-27

Box 3: folder 7
Bulletin: 1947 issues and notes for 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, n.d.

Box 3: folder 11
SERIES V. NATIONAL COUNCILS



Miscellaneous reports and lists,
1947-61, n.d.

Box 4: folder 1
Australia,
1953-66, n.d.

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,
n.d.

Box 4: folder 16
New Zealand,
1960

Box 4: folder 17
Nigeria,
1960-61, n.d.

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)


--------------------, 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--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


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