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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 399

Papers of Alice Paul, 1785-1985 (inclusive), 1805-1985 (bulk)


Correspondence, minutes, reports, photographs, etc., of Alice Paul, Quaker, lawyer, and women's rights activist.


  • Creation: 1785-1985
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1805-1985

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. The collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Alice Paul as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied for individual researchers or other libraries in accordance with the Schlesinger Library's usual procedures.


57.88 linear feet ((126 file boxes, 1 folio box, 1 folio+ box, 6 card file boxes) plus 7 folio folders, 16 folio+ folders, 7 oversize folders)

The Alice Paul papers came to the library in a state of considerable disarray, with a large proportion of duplicates, books, periodicals, and irrelevant items. Several rounds of weeding were required to reduce them from more than 300 linear feet to their present size. Some duplicates and items considered to have little research value were given to the Alice Paul Centennial Foundation for use at Paulsdale, Paul's birthplace and childhood home, now on the National Register of Historic Places. Other duplicates were offered to the Smithsonian Institution, the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, and the National Organization for Women; the staffs of all these institutions had been helpful in the acquisition of the papers. Twenty-six reels of 8mm. film were transferred to videotape by Brodsky and Treadway and a copy of the tape purchased from them in October 1989. Copies of original audiotapes were made by Harvard University's Modern Language Center in June 1990.

It is clear from notes attached to various documents throughout the collection that portions of this collection were included in the microfilm edition published by the Microfilming Corporation of America in 1979; the extent of the overlap between this collection and that on the microfilm (most of which is at the Library of Congress) is not certain, however.

Series I, Personal and family, contains biographical and genealogical information; a journal (1901) from Paul's freshman year at Swarthmore; date books; legal and financial documents, including material about her estate and other property; family papers and correspondence, including letters Paul wrote to her mother from England; correspondence with friends and with organizations, of most of which she was a member; photographs; home movies; and videotapes of television specials with interviews of Paul. For additional information on videotapes in this collection, see Vt-50.

Series II, Suffrage, documents Paul's activities in the movement until 1920 and the passage of the 19th Amendment. It includes a summons and judgment, and pamphlets, leaflets, and clippings from the British campaign; and from the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage and National Woman's Party, general and financial correspondence, reports from field representatives, photographs, pamphlets, leaflets, and clippings.

Series III, National Woman's Party, is divided into administrative and program records (Series IV, which is similarly organized). Administrative records include by-laws, legal documents, and minutes; membership; financial; and correspondence. Programs include records of committees, research on the legal status of women, ERA campaigns, and other aspects of the National Woman's Party's work. Among the administrative records are the constitution, deeds and contracts, and court documents about the internal dispute (1947); histories of the National Woman's Party and Alva Belmont House; photographs; minutes and reports of the National Council; and convention programs, agendas, and announcements. Membership includes lists of members and officers, invoices, pledges, lists of contributors, and membership cards. General office correspondence dates from 1922-1977 and is arranged chronologically.

Financial records consist of correspondence; treasurer's reports and statements of receipts and disbursements; audit reports; minutes and audit reports of the Investment and Endowment Fund Committee; financial statements of the periodical Equal Rights; and financial reports, expense accounts, bills, and check stubs pertaining to the National Woman's Party's international activities.

Records of National Woman's Party programs and other initiatives include minutes and membership lists of the Women's Joint Legislative Committee for Equal Rights. There are questionnaires from the Committee on International Relations about women losing their native citizenship, and others, from a survey sponsored by the National Woman's Party's Government Workers' Council, about a law prohibiting both husband and wife from working as government employees. Also included are the Legal Research Department's summaries by state of the effect of labor laws on men and women and the legal position of women, and "The Law of Women," compiled and edited by the LED; correspondence and treasurer's reports from the Women's Research Foundation; drafts and background material for "Towards Equality," Paul's 1928 dissertation; Congressional documents, speeches, statements, and resolutions by the National Woman's Party and others about the ERA campaign; press releases, pamphlets, broadsides, sheet music, and other publications; clippings by or about the National Woman's Party and its members; taped interviews with Alice Paul and others; biographies of members and other prominent American women; and statements, Congressional documents, and clippings concerning the status of women, sex discrimination, civil rights legislation, and other women's issues.

Series IV, World Woman's Party, is organized similarly to the National Woman's Party series. Administrative records include minutes, reports, resolutions, a broadcast tape of the opening ceremonies of the headquarters in Geneva, and photographs. Membership consists of correspondence, receipts, and member- ship cards. Among the financial records are correspondence, receipts, account books, and check registers. Part of general correspondence is organized by correspondent but the bulk is arranged chronologically.

World Woman's Party program material includes publicity; correspondence about certain refugee cases; and correspondence, reports, minutes, and publications of other organizations, including the International Labour Organization, the Six Point Group, and the United Nations.

Series V, Other international activities, includes correspondence; photographs, reports, and minutes from the Women's Consultative Committee on Nationality; speeches and articles by National Woman's Party members and others on nationality and the Equal Rights Treaty; National Woman's Party publications about its international activities; publications and news releases of the League of Nations, the Inter-American Commission of Women, Open Door International, the Six Point Group, and other international organizations; correspondence and multiple drafts of the survey of nationality laws undertaken by the Inter-American Commission of Women; background material on the World Conference on the Codification of International Law at The Hague and on treaties and laws concerning women; Congressional documents about nationality legislation; and clippings about the international feminist movement, equal rights, and nationality.


Quaker, lawyer, and lifelong activist for women's rights, Alice Paul was born on January 11, 1885, in Moorestown, New Jersey, the daughter of William Mickle and Tacie (Parry) Paul. She was educated at Swarthmore (B.A. 1905) and the University of Pennsylvania (M.A. 1907, Ph.D. 1912), where her doctoral dissertation was on the legal status of women in Pennsylvania. She later earned law degrees from Washington College of Law (LL.B. 1922) and American University (LL.M. 1927, DC.L. 1928).

A social worker in New York City, 1905-1907, Paul also studied economics and sociology at the universities of London and Birmingham and worked at a number of British social settlements (1907-1910). While in England she was active in the Women's Social and Political Union and was arrested and jailed repeatedly as a participant in the campaign for women's rights led by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, Christabel and Sylvia.

Returning to the United States in 1910, Paul was appointed chair of the Congressional Committee of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1912. It campaigned for the passage of a federal amendment and for a time functioned concurrently with the new Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, founded by Paul in April 1913. A clash between advocates of a federal amendment and proponents of a state- by-state approach led to a split between the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage and National American Woman Suffrage Association in February 1914. In June 1916, the National Woman's Party was organized, its nucleus composed of Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage members and its sole plank a resolution calling for immediate passage of the federal amendment guaranteeing the enfranchisement of women (the "Susan B. Anthony Amendment"). This amendment was finally passed by Congress in 1919 and ratified as the Nineteenth Amendment in August 1920.

Following its reorganization in 1921, the National Woman's Party began a long battle to end all legal discrimination against women in the United States and to raise the legal, social, and economic status of women around the world. As written in 1923 by Paul, the Equal Rights Amendment (known also as the "Lucretia Mott Amendment") was first introduced in Congress in December of that year. For almost fifty years, the National Woman's Party had this or later versions of the ERA introduced in every session of Congress; it was passed in the House and Senate in 1971 and 1972, respectively but, with a 1982 deadline, failed to secure the votes necessary for ratification.

On the international front, in the 1920s the National Woman's Party campaigned for women's rights in conjunction with the Six Point Group and the Open Door Council, and in 1928 helped to establish the Inter-American Commission of Women, an advisory unit of the Pan American Union (later the Organization of American States). Beginning in 1930, the National Woman's Party, through its membership in Equal Rights International and with the Women's Consultative Committee on Nationality of the League of Nations, worked to improve the legal status of women. For ten years the National Woman's Party tried unsuccessfully to block the ratification of The Hague nationality convention of 1930, which contained several provisions that discriminated against women. Paul and the National Woman's Party also received little support from League delegates for the Equal Rights Treaty (modeled on the ERA) and the more limited Equal Nationality Treaty, which dealt only with citizenship.

In 1938 Paul founded the World Woman's Party in Geneva, Switzerland. Although it was forced to shift its headquarters to Washington, D.C., during World War II, the World Woman's Party continued to help European women and their families with nationality and refugee issues. After the war, the World Woman's Party lobbied successfully for the inclusion of equality provisions in the United Nations charter, and worked in close consultation with the Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Human Rights, both agencies of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, on numerous reports on the status of women, and on including equal rights provisions in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Almost all of Paul's life was devoted to her work in the National Woman's Party and World Woman's Party, and for the ERA, and her papers reflect this devotion. Most correspondence, even if partly personal, also touches on her work. Even her family was drawn into it to some extent: Paul's sister Helen served for a time as her secretary; they also occasionally lived together. Her nephew Donald, a would-be entrepreneur, was conservator of her estate, and so for a time was custodian of these papers. Both Helen and Donald were Christian Scientists.

Paul died in Moorestown, New Jersey, on July 9, 1977. For additional biographical information, see The Story of the Woman's Party, by Inez Haynes Irwin (1921); "Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party, 1912-1920," by Loretta Ellen Zimmerman (Ph.D. dissertation, Tulane University, 1964); "Conversations with Alice Paul: Woman Suffrage and the Equal Rights Amendment," an interview by Amelia R. Fry (Suffragists Oral History Project, University of California, Berkeley, 1976); The National Woman's Party Papers,1913-1974: A Guide to the Microform Collection, edited by Thomas C. Pardo (Microfilming Corporation of America, 1979); The Origins of the Equal Rights Amendment: American Feminism between the Wars, by Susan D. Becker (1981); and From Equal Suffrage to Equal Rights: Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party, 1910-1928, by Christine A. Lunardini (1986). The records of the National Woman's Party are at the Library of Congress.


The collection is arranged in five series:

  1. I. Personal and family (#1-221vt, 1627-1690)
  2. II. Suffrage (#222-286)
  3. III. National Woman's Party (#287-1186vo, 1691-1694)
  4. IV. World Woman's Party (#1187-1331, 1695-1698)
  5. V. Other international activities (#1332-1626f+)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 87-M37, 89-M187, 89-M188, 90-M91

The papers of Alice Paul were purchased for the Schlesinger Library from the estate of Alice Paul's nephew, Donald Paul, by the Alice Paul Centennial Foundation in February 1987.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Videotape collection of Alice Paul, 1976-1977 (Vt-50.).


The following items have been removed from the collection:

  1. Buttons, banners, numerous photographs, a dress, jewelry, a desk, and other memorabilia that were also part of the estate were given to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History by the Alice Paul Centennial Foundation.
  2. One folder of letters to Ellen Dwight Eaton was removed and cataloged separately (A/E14).


  1. Box 1: Folders 1-3, 6-19
  2. Box 2: Folders 20-34
  3. Box 3: Folders 35-50
  4. Box 4: Folders 51-59, 61-62
  5. Box 5: Folders 63-80
  6. Box 6: Folders 81-87, 89-93, 95-99
  7. Box 7: Folders 100-102, 104-115
  8. Box 8: Folders 116-120, 122-131
  9. Box 9: Folders 132-139
  10. Box 10: Folders 140-148, 150-153
  11. Box 11: Folders 154-169
  12. Box 12: Folders 170-188
  13. Box 13: Folders 189-203
  14. Box 14: Folders 204-214, 217, 222-223
  15. Box 15: Folders 224-240
  16. Box 16: Folders 241-246v, 248-249, 252-255
  17. Box 17: Folders 256-272, 274-275
  18. Box 18: Folders 276, 278-283, 285-292
  19. Box 19: Folders 293-298, 300-303, 305-308
  20. Box 20: Folders 309-315
  21. Box 21: Folders 316, 318-328
  22. Box 22: Folders 329-332, 334-337
  23. Box 23: Folders 338-339, 343-351
  24. Box 24: Folders 352-356, 358-361, 363
  25. Box 25: Folders 365-379
  26. Box 26: Folders 380-391
  27. Box 27: Folders 392-403
  28. Box 28: Folders 404-416
  29. Box 29: Folders 417-420, 422-428
  30. Box 30: Folders 429-433, 436-444
  31. Box 32: Folders 456-468
  32. Box 50: Folders 720-732
  33. Box 51: Folders 733-745
  34. Box 52: Folders 746-758
  35. Box 53: Folders 759-769
  36. Box 54: Folders 770-784
  37. Box 55: Folders 785-800
  38. Box 56: Folders 801-813
  39. Box 57: Folders 814-824
  40. Box 58: Folders 825-837
  41. Box 47: Folders 684-694
  42. Box 59: Folders 838-851
  43. Box 60: Folders 852-867
  44. Box 61: Folders 868-880
  45. Box 62: Folders 881-894
  46. Box 63: Folders 895-908
  47. Box 64: Folders 909-919
  48. Box 65: Folders 920-931
  49. Box 66: Folders 932-940
  50. Box 67: Folders 941-947
  51. Box 68: Folders 948-955
  52. Box 69: Folders 956-966
  53. Box 70: Folders 967-977
  54. Box 71: Folders 978-985
  55. Box 72: Folders 986-994
  56. Box 73: Folders 995-1005
  57. Box 74: Folders 1006-1014
  58. Box 75: Folders 1015-1025
  59. Box 76: Folders 1026-1034
  60. Box 77: Folders 1035-1041
  61. Box 78: Folders 1042-1049
  62. Box 79: Folders 1050-1062
  63. Box 80: Folders 1063-1075
  64. Box 81: Folders 1076-1086
  65. Box 82: Folders 1087-1092, 1094-1098
  66. Box 83: Folders 1099-1104, 1106-1107
  67. Box 84: Folders 1108-1116
  68. Box 85: Folders 1117-1126
  69. Box 86: Folders 1127-1133
  70. Box 87: Folders 1134-1143
  71. Box 88: Folders 1144-1149, 1151-1152, 1154-1163
  72. Box 89: Folders 1164-1165, 1170, 1172, 1174-1179
  73. Box 90: Folders 1180, 1182-1185, 1188-1190, 1193
  74. Box 91: Folders 1194-1200, 1202-1208, 1210-1211
  75. Box 92: Folders 1212-1215, 1217-1228
  76. Box 93: Folders 1229-1242, 1244
  77. Box 94: Folders 1245-1255, 1257-1261
  78. Box 95: Folders 1262-1264, 1266-1267, 1269-1277, 1279-1280
  79. Box 96: Folders 11281-1289, 1291-1297, 1299-1301
  80. Box 97: Folders 1302-1318
  81. Box 98: Folders 1319-1324, 1327-1331
  82. Box 99: Folders 1332-1348
  83. Box 100: Folders 1349-1359
  84. Box 101: Folders 1360-1372
  85. Box 102: Folders 1373-1386
  86. Box 103: Folders 1387-1395
  87. Box 104: Folders 1396-1406, 1414
  88. Box 105: Folders 1415-1416av, 1418-1425
  89. Box 106: Folders 1426-1442
  90. Box 107: Folders 1443-1459
  91. Box 108: Folders 1460-1473
  92. Box 109: Folders 1474-1485
  93. Box 110: Folders 1486-1498
  94. Box 111: Folders 1499-1513
  95. Box 112: Folders 1514-1525
  96. Box 113: Folders 1526-1537
  97. Box 114: Folders 1538-1550
  98. Box 115: Folders 11551-1552, 1554-1561
  99. Box 116: Folders 1562-1572
  100. Box 117: Folders 1573-1583
  101. Box 118: 1584-1595
  102. Box 119: Folders 1596-1609
  103. Box 120: Folders 1610, 1612-1617, 1619-1620
  104. Box 121: Folders 88, 1621-1624, 1627-1634
  105. Box 122: Folders 434, 1635-1643
  106. Box 123: Folders 1644-1650
  107. Box 124: Folders 1651-1658
  108. Box 125: Folders 1659-1674
  109. Box 126: Folders 1675-1690, 1692a, 1964a
  110. Card File Box 127: Folder 1691
  111. Card File Box 128: Folder 1692
  112. Card File Box 129: Folder 1693
  113. Card File Box 130: Folder 1694
  114. Card File Box 131: Folder 1695
  115. Card File Box 132: Folder 1696
  116. Folio Box 133: Folders 1660, 1663, 1665, 1697-1698

Processing Information

Processed: June 1990

By: Susan von Salis, Anne Engelhart, Alison Ernst, Joan Ferguson

Paul, Alice, 1885-1977. Papers of Alice Paul, 1785-1985 (inclusive), 1805-1985 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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