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Women's International League for Peace and Freedom: Meta Riseman Records

Identifier: UR000619

Scope and Content

The papers of Mrs. Riseman reflect her deep involvement in the activities of the WILPF and other peace groups.

Important subjects: Anti-semitism Disarmament (A and H bombs, nuclear weapons) Draft (UMT, conscription) Human rights (including civil rights, women's rights, Indians' rights) Peace

Correspondents: Katherine (Kitty) Arnett Alice Bostick Kathleen Hendrie Mildred Scott Olmstead Elsie Picon Elizabeth Weideman

Series Description: Series I, WILPF Files, 1913-1976: Office files kept by Mrs. Riseman, including correspondence, membership lists and directories, bulletins and financial reports, petititions, pamphlets, brochures and reprints on pertinent topics.

Series II, WILPF Branch Packets, 1956-1970 Packets of mimeogrpahed material sent monthly from the national to state branch embers.

Series III, Personal Files of Mrs. Riseman, 1933-1973: Correspondence, newspaper clippings and pamphlets covering Mrs. Riseman's interests in Dryden, Michigan, her friendships, and her activities in organizations other than WILPF.

Scrapbooks, 1941-1942: These scrapbooks document the activities of the Detroit and Michigan Branches of the WILPF, primarily through clippings. Three of them focus on specific projects (Human Rights Project, Disarmament Project, and Fortieth Anniversary), and the other four cover general activities.


  • 1913 - 1979
  • Majority of material found within 1946 - 1957


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom was founded in 1915 at the Hague during the first Women's Peace Conference, which met to seek ways of ending existing hostilities. Jane Addams, who presided over the conference, became the League's first international president and remained in tha toffice until her death in 1935. In 1919, the Second Women's Peace Conference vorted to continue WILPF on a permanent basis. Its goal was, and is, to "unite women in all countries who are opposed to every kind of ware, exploitation and oppression, and who work for universal disarmament and for the solution of conflicts by recognition of human solidarity, by conciliation, and arbitrations, by world cooperation, and by the establishment of social, political, and economic justice for all, without distinction of sex, race, class, or creed."

The U.S. Section, one of twenty national section on five continents, supports state and local brances across the country by its national offices in Phladelphia and Washington D.C.

The Michigan and Detroit brances came into existence jointly in 1919. The member have, since that time, been very involved in WILPF projects on the national, state, and local levels. Some of the original members are still active.

Meta Riseman, nee Rosenberg, was born in Germany in 1904. She came to the United States in 1910 with her parents, and lived with them in Newark, New Jersey until she entered Smith College around 1920. After graduating in 1924, she spent a year in Europe where seh attended teh University of Berline and the University of Zurich. Upon her return she taught school for two years, in New York and New Jersey. In 1927 she was married to Harry Riseman and came to Detroit.

Mrs. Riseman's WILPF activity began when her mother encouraged her to beome a member in 1928. In 1941 she becaem president of the Detroit Unit. She was elected president of the Michigan branch in 1943. She also served as president of the U.S. Section, and chaired a national committee on human rights.


8 Linear Feet ((14 MB, 1 SB), 1 OS)


Subjects include: peace; human rights; anti-Semitism


Arranged in 4 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-8, Series 2 (Boxes 9-13), Series 3 (Box 14), and Scrapbooks. Folders are arranged alphabetically or chronologically, depending on the series.


Women's International League for Peace and Freedom: Meta Riseman Records was placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in May 1976 by Meta Riseman.


Approximately thirty photographs relating to the Michigan Branch WILPF participation in the 1960 and 1961 State Fairs and the 1965 Symposium Toward a Peaceful Planet have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual collection. A WILPF button has also been placed there. Numerous pamphlets and periodicals dealing with peace, human rights, and anti-semitism have been placed in teh Archives Library. With them are issues of Pax et LIbertas, and the UAW Local 180 Newsletter.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in June 1978.
Guide to the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom: Meta Riseman Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA