Records of the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice, 1945-2016 (inclusive), 1980-2008 (bulk)
- Majority of material found within 1980-2008
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
Researchers must sign a statement promising to abide by the following restriction: if an individual is clearly and specifically identified in a letter, an interview, in minutes of a meeting, in a photograph (other than a group photograph obviously made in a public place), or in any other document, then the researcher must make a reasonable effort to contact that person and obtain her permission before publishing the material in question. This obligation shall apply for 75 years after the date of the material in question.
Copying. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
35.53 linear feet (59 file boxes, 1 card file box, 2 folio boxes, 1 folio+ box, 3 oversize boxes, 1 supersize box) plus 5 supersize folders, 82 photograph folders, 209 audiocassettes, 234 videocassettes, 1 compact disk, 14 DVDs, and 1 reel of microfilm (M-117)
1.083 Gigabytes (19 files)
Accessions #86-M253--99-M154 were first arranged and processed in 2001. Material was arranged and folders were numbered sequentially (#1-774at). Another group of material (accessions #2000-M137--2017-M15) was added to the collection in 2018. These later accessions are physically housed together at the end of the collection and are listed intellectually in the finding aid, within the series in which they belong. Also in 2018, the entire collection was reboxed and renumbered. The original group of papers is now numbered #1.1-50SB.1-4; 51.1m-52OB.2m; SD.1-SD.4, PD.1-PD.37sl; T-299.1-T-299.12; and the later accessions are #47OB.12-47OB.13; 50SB.5-50SB.7; 52OB.3m-52OB.13m; 53.1-67OB.1; SD.5; E.#-E.#. A copy of the original inventory with original numbering is in the first box of the collection. The original eight series are based on the catalogue of files (#1.1) and the files from the addenda were added to the appropriate series. Titles and information in square brackets  have been supplied by the processor. Whenever possible, original spellings have been retained. Published materials have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library books and printed materials collection and cataloged separately.
Series I, OFFICE, 1978-2010 (#1.1-17.21, 53.1-56.2, 45FB.1-45FB.4, 46CB.1), documents the idea of the Encampment and the organizational operation of the camp. This series contains minutes and agendas of executive collective; camp-wide, and committee meetings, as well as extensive notes and communications on a wide variety of topics by some of the more closely involved members of the Encampment, such as Andrea Doremus, Ethel Goldenbirch, Lucinda Sangree, Leeann Irwin, and others. It also includes their vision statement (#17.11), advertisements for women to work at the Encampment, general information and orientation materials, and correspondence, as well as general office records such as phone logs, mailing lists, "non-registration" materials, and visitor books.
Series II, LOGISTICS AND OTHER "WEBS," 1973-2000 (#18.1-23.7, 56.3-56.10, 47OB.1, 48F+B.1-48F+B.2, SD.1), contains records related to the practical aspects of establishing and maintaining the Encampment. It includes the indenture granting the land to the Women's Encampment, by-laws, insurance information, information on permits, zoning and regulations, as well as a great deal of information on topics such as septic systems, gardening, temporary structures, and tents. It also includes lists of projects, some completed; inventories of supplies on hand and camp needs; worklists; security logbooks; health surveys and medical information, as well as information on children and men at the Encampment. This series also includes correspondence, statements, and printed materials related to land divestment during the transformation to Women's PeaceLand. (#56.8-56.10).
Series III, FINANCIAL, 1983-2007 (#23.8-29.6, 56.11-56.18, 47OB.2, 45FB.5-45FB.11, 48F+B.3, SD.2), includes notes and reports on finance "web" meetings, bills (including phone records), receipts, petty cash records, and bank account records; as well as fundraising records, donation logs, grants given by the Encampment, and sales records. This series also includes tax forms, bills, and other financial documents after its transition into Women's PeaceLand.
Series IV, ART, MUSIC, AND WRITINGS, 1978-2005 (#29.7-31.7, 56.19-59.6, 49FB.1, 48F+B.4-48F+B.8, 47OB.3-47OB.4, 47OB.12-47OB.13, 67OB.1, 50SB.1-50SB.7, SD.5, M-117), contains creative work produced at and about the Encampment. Photographs documenting life at the Encampment and events sponsored by the Women's Encampment were originally arranged within this series but are now located in Series X. This series includes songs by the Average Dyke Band and others, graphic and other artwork and banners, published and unpublished writings about the Encampment (see also #41.19-48F+B.13). It also includes Jane Doe, the Encampment newsletter. This series also contains research and project files, including draft text of a book that members Leeann Irwin and Lucinda (Cindy) Sangree were involved with as editors. The book, In Their Own Words: Personal and Political Influences of Women Peace Encampments was never published. Additional files containing original materials from Encampment members which were collected by Irwin for this book project have been incorporated into their appropriate series. Additionally, this series includes Ruth Putter's book project files related to the published work, The Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice: Images and Writings.
Series V, MEDIA, 1981-2008 (#31.8-44.16, 59.7-59.15, 46CB.2, 48F+B.9, 48F+B.13), contains press releases, media contact information, and records some of the media coverage of Encampment activities. This series also includes newspaper clippings about the Women's Encampment and the Peace Encampment Herstory Project.
Series VI, PROGRAMMING AND ACTIONS, 1973-1998 (#31.29-36.11, 59.16-60.10, 49FB.2-49FB.6, 48F+B.10- 48F+B.11, 47OB.5-47OB.8, SD.3), contains materials relating to the planning and activities of the Encampment women, including civil disobedience actions and marches, workshops on non-violence and feminism, consensus and facilitation, peace conversion and other topics, films, concerts, etc. It also includes legal information intended for and about the women who were arrested during some of those actions. Also included are the proposal, notes, and related materials related to the Transform or Die discussions in the 1990s (#60.7-60.8).
Series VII, OUTREACH, 1983-2001 (#36.12-37.11, 60.11-60.12, 49FB.7), documents the Encampment trying to work with the local community, reaching out to local residents to educate them about the Encampment and the concerns of the women visiting there, and to local organizations with similar interests (see also Series VIII). Brochures, etc., about speaking engagements on behalf of the Encampment at colleges and for other organizations, as well as an anti-nuclear high school curriculum, are also included.
Series VIII, OTHER PEACE MOVEMENTS, 1945, 1980-2004 (#37.12-41.13, 60.13-61.6, 49FB.8-49FB.9, 48F+B.12, 47OB.9-47OB.11, SD.4), includes some correspondence, notes, meeting minutes, other writings, and extensive printed materials, including newsletters and flyers, by and about various local, national, and international anti-nuclear, peace, and feminist organizations. These organizations include the Rochester Women's Action for Peace, many of whose members were closely involved in the Women's Encampment in Seneca, and the Greenham Common peace camp in England. This series also includes printed materials and articles on nuclear arms and the Seneca Army Depot collected by members.
Series IX. PEACE ENCAMPMENT HERSTORY PROJECT, 1980s-2016 (#61.7-66.1, E.1-E.5), includes correspondence; lists; notes; herstory interview transcripts (#62.8, 63.3-64.5, E.1); financial documents, including grant materials; notebooks, which include to-do lists, notes taken during interviews with members or about members, and notes regarding scheduling; image and video logs of archival materials; event and fundraising materials; clippings, etc., related to the Peace Encampment Herstory Project. The Herstory Project was a non-profit, fully volunteer effort to collect the oral herstories, images, music and other media from the Seneca Women's Encampment (1982-1992) and Women's PeaceLand (1992-2006). Led by Estelle Coleman and Hershe Michele Kramer, project members collected and curated archival materials from many of the women who participated in the Encampment. The series contains documentation related to the financial and administrative development of the Peace Encampment Herstory Project, as well as the initiatives the group undertook, such as the herstory interviews with Encampment members and film projects celebrating and documenting the Encampment, including Every Woman Here: Remnants of Seneca 1983-2006. Original materials donated to the Peace Encampment Herstory Project from Encampment members were incorporated within other series in this collection, including Women's Video Collective video and audiocassettes which can be found in Series X, Subseries A. Women's Video Collective was formed by a group of women from the Boston area in May 1983 with the purpose to document the Women's Encampment. The Peace Encampment Herstory Project created an audio and video log documenting the Women's Video Collective audiovisual tapes which can be found in this series, as well as brief, descriptive logs related to other original photographs and objects. This series also includes Women's Encampment content from the 1980s digitized by the Herstory Project. Herstory Project-related photographs (#E.6-E.19) can be found in Series X. See Series XI for all Herstory Project-related audiovisual materials. The Herstory Project web site is being captured periodically as part of Schlesinger Library's web archiving program. Series is arranged alphabetically.
Series X. PHOTOGRAPHS, 1980s-2008 (#PD.1-PD.82sl, E.6-E.19), contains photographs and slides of different aspects of the Women's Encampment, including setting up camp, daily activities, meetings, civil disobedience actions, and events. The images not only document these actions or events but also show the interactions among the women and convey a sense of experiences and activities at the camp. This series also includes images of related events, such as rallies and marches in other cities, including Washington, DC, Boston, Massachusetts, and New York City; protests at Greenham Common peace camp; and Presidential candidate Sonia Johnson campaigning in Connecticut, etc. This series also contains Peace Encampment Herstory Project-related images, including of Estelle Coleman, Hershe Michele Kramer, and others taken in 2008 and original content from the 1980s digitized by the Peace Encampment Herstory Project (#E.6-E.19). Digital and digitized photographs can be found at the end of the inventory. There is some duplication between Nancy Clover's digitized photograph/slide files (#E.10) and her original slides/photographs (#PD.73sl-PD.77sl). Additional photographs can be found on the Peace Encampment Herstory Project web site.
Series XI. AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS, 1979-2015 (#T-299.1-T-299.209, CD-32.1, Phon-71.1, Vt-283.1-Vt-283.234, DVD.139.1-DVD-139.14), includes audiocassettes, micro-cassettes, videocassettes, mini-DVs, DVDs, CDs, and one record which document the many events, day-to-day activities, actions and rallies of the Women's Encampment, as well as later documentation of the Encampment and its members by the Peace Encampment Herstory Project. Peace Encampment Herstory Project digitized many of these videos before donating them to the library and have made them available, some in edited form, on their website. In many cases, when the videos listed in the inventory are digitally available on the Herstory Project website, links are provided to the website content.
Subseries A. Women's Encampment, 1979-1987 (#T-299.1-T-299.92, Vt-283.1-Vt-283.136, DVD-139.1-DVD-139.3), includes audiocassettes and videotapes of daily activities, meetings, civil disobedience actions and events, singing and gathering, orientation and local outreach, etc. at the Encampment. Related events are also documented including interviews with Encampment women on local radio stations, peace marches in New York and Washington, D.C., Barbara Deming's memorial in New York, and gatherings of women in other cities prior to the opening of the Encampment, including in Seattle, Washington, and at other peace camps, including Greenham Common in England. This series include Women's Video Collective tapes. See series IX for log sheets detailing content for these tapes. Subseries is arranged chronologically, except for Women's Video Collective videotapes which are arranged by Women's Video Collective number.
Subseries B. Peace Encampment Herstory Project, 2005-2015 (#T-299.93-T-299.209, Vt-283.137-Vt-283.234, DVD.139.4-DVD-139.14), includes micro-cassettes and mini-DVs of interviews with Encampment members reflecting on their time at the Women's Encampment. Estelle Coleman and Hershe Michele Kramer conducted many of these interviews on behalf of the oral herstory project in the 2000s. Edited versions of these interviews are viewable on the Peace Encampment Herstory Project website. This series also includes DVD copies of Every Woman Here: Remnants of Seneca 1983-2006. The film includes excerpts from oral herstories, samples of peace camp songs, and over 300 images; and a DVD of the Peace Camp GatherSing which happened in Alpine, New York, in September 2008. The purpose of this gathering of Encampment members was to document songs and chants that were sung at the peace camp, and to create material for future creative endeavors. The links to the Peace Encampment Herstory Project interviews (Vt-283.137-Vt-283.234) show the edited versions of the interviews that are available on the Peace Encampment Herstory Project web site. Complete herstories are available in the collection on mini-DVs and micro-cassettes. Subseries is arranged chronologically, except for interviews which are arranged by the Herstory Project interview number.
Series XII. MEMORABILIA, 1971-2008 (#41.14m-41.18m, 66.2m-66.8m, 51.1m-51.2m, 52OB.1m-52OB.13m), includes buttons, stickers, and t-shirts of the Women's Encampment, as well as buttons, stickers, badges, etc. promoting feminism, peace, and other political and social justice causes, such as pro-choice, lesbian and gay rights, and Sonia Johnson's presidential campaign in 1984. Also included are memorabilia created or collected by Encampment members, including ribbons, an armband, signs, and a wooden plaque, all with inspirational text.
The tract of land, approximately 52 acres abutting the Seneca Army Depot (SeAD) in Romulus, New York, in Seneca County, was purchased in May 1983 by the Seneca Encampment Inc., a not-for-profit corporation, for $37,500. Funds were donated by several national peace groups (including the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and War Resisters League), individuals, and a number of smaller peace and social justice groups from around the country. The choice of location was quite deliberate. In addition to believing the Seneca Army Depot to be a key point for the shipment of nuclear weapons abroad, its proximity to Seneca Falls, New York, the site of the 1848 women's rights convention, helped to firmly establish the place of the Encampment in the minds of the organizers as one in a series of important events in American women's history. This continuum is made explicit in the vision statement (#17.11), and provided the theme for the cover illustration of the "Resource Handbook" (#17.3).
The original goals of the Encampment, as stated in the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom letter announcing the creation of the Encampment, were to "1) create a broad based awareness about and opposition to the United States' plans to deploy new missiles to Europe and 2) to forge new links in the women's movement of those working for peace and those working for social justice and 3) to create part of the vision of what the world could be like if militarism was not a predominate force in our lives." Patriarchy was seen as intimately associated with militarism and violence, the domination of women and nature. Thus the camp was restricted to women, as an experiment in communal, peaceful living. That first summer an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 women went to Seneca to participate in Encampment life and protest actions, some staying only a day or two, some many weeks or the entire summer. Policies were set and decisions made according to a "feminist process"--non-competitive, communal, peaceful and consensus driven--and the women there were expected to take part in this process. They used the theme of a web to illustrate the connectedness and unity they hoped would predominate. They established a network of women and organizations across the world and maintained close contact with their "affinity groups."
Women came to the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice from all over the country and the world, from all walks of life, although it was predominantly white and middle-class. The organizers of the Encampment were very desirous of a diverse community, but a few "types" dominated. Although they tried to accommodate varying points of view and backgrounds, factions developed, particularly between more radical feminists and lesbians and more conservative women. The numbers who visited the Encampment and participated in Encampment events dropped dramatically in subsequent years, and the population was made up of a smaller number of more radical women.
The focus of the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice quickly grew from just militarism to embrace a whole range of issues, particularly social prejudices and injustices. The women worked against paternalism, right-wing oppression, anti-Semitism, United States intervention in third world nations, and racism. They developed a membership that was largely lesbian and bi-sexual, embraced a number of "women's" causes, and took on a number of other issues, including environmentalism, speciesism and vegetarianism.
Regular protests were staged at the gates of the Seneca Army Depot, as were marches like the one in July 1983 through Waterloo, New York, which ended in the arrest of 54 participants. Women were encouraged and trained to participate in acts of non-violent civil disobedience, but not required to do so. The Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice network included provisions for legal as well as emotional support.
By 1984, during the second summer, a greater emphasis was placed on education, and a number of workshops were held on feminism, non-violence and peace issues, consensus and facilitation, and civil disobedience training. Without losing sight of their original goals, especially regarding protesting the use of nuclear weapons, the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice developed a new agenda focused on the Encampment as a resource and educational center for women committed to non-violence and feminism.
To promote the ideals embraced by the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice, and to reach a wide audience, the Encampment produced a newsletter (Jane Doe), wrote and distributed leaflets, made presentations on local radio stations and on college campuses, and sold t-shirts and posters, in addition to continuing to stage protests and civil disobedience actions. Participants were committed to creating a safe, legal Encampment. Early in 1984, the planning committee decided to make the Encampment a legal, permanent campground where women could gather. This involved making the physical campground comply with local and state health and zoning regulations. New septic systems were put in place, a well dug, and the water tested.
The Encampment was not popular locally. There were a number of counter-protests and women were harassed by local residents, especially men. The Encampment was sited in a very conservative area. Law enforcement agencies in surrounding towns resented the fact that the presence of the Encampment caused them a great deal of extra work, both because of the regular protests and the extra traffic in these predominantly summer communities. The cost of additional personnel was also an issue. The Encampment was interested in being accepted by the community, and looked for opportunities to involve and educate their neighbors. They enacted policies, such as banning public nudity, to show their respect for other members of the community and women were called to task for ignoring or flouting these "respected policies."
In November 1984 a series of newspaper articles entitled "Witches of Seneca" appeared in the Syracuse Post-Standard written by a reporter who, with the knowledge of Encampment members, had spent several days at the camp. The articles described the women as vegetarians and lesbians, and detailed the practice of witchcraft and feminist spirituality. These articles seemed to confirm the impressions formed by local communities about Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice women and reignited the debate about their activities. Encampment women disagreed among themselves about this issue, some approving of the publicity about their lifestyles and others disliking the attention taken away from their mission as a focal point for anti-nuclear protests. Over the next few years only a few women were living "on the land" at any given time, but the debate continued, often focused upon the question of lifestyle and antisocial behavior and those Encampment women who refused to abide by "respected policies," especially nudity, vandalism, and consumption of meat, alcohol, and drugs. In 1985, approximately 800 women attended the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice, with demonstrations held on May 12 (Mothers' Day) and July 7. Smaller actions continued from 1986 through 1989.
In the summer of 1990, the organizers organized a series of discussions about the future of the Encampment, with the theme "Transform or Die," during which a number of options emerged. The result was to establish a not-for-profit land trust (called Women of PeaceLand) and an intentional community for women.
- Series I. Office, 1978-2010 (#1.1-17.21, 53.1-56.2, 45FB.1-45FB.4, 46CB.1)
- Series II. Logistics and Other "Webs," 1973-2000 (#18.1-23.7, 56.3-56.10, 47OB.1, 48F+B.1-48F+B.2, SD.1)
- Series III. Financial, 1983-2007 (#23.8-29.6, 56.11-56.18, 47OB.2, 45FB.5-45FB.11, 48F+B.3, SD.2)
- Series IV. Art, Music, and Writings, 1978-2005 (#29.7-31.7, 56.19-59.6, 49FB.1, 48F+B.4-48F+B.8, 47OB.3-47OB.4, 47OB.12-47OB.13, 67OB.1, 50SB.1-50SB.7, SD.5, M-117)
- Series V. Media, 1981-2008 (#31.8-44.16, 59.7-59.15, 46CB.2, 48F+B.9, 48F+B.13)
- Series VI. Programming and Actions, 1973-1998 (#31.29-36.11, 59.16-60.10, 49FB.2-49FB.6, 48F+B.10- 48F+B.11, 47OB.5-47OB.8, SD.3)
- Series VII. Outreach, 1983-2001 (#36.12-37.11, 60.11-60.12, 49FB.7)
- Series VIII. Other Peace Movements, 1945, 1980-2004 (#37.12-41.13, 60.13-61.6, 49FB.8-49FB.9, 48F+B.12, 47OB.9-47OB.11, SD.4)
- Series IX. Peace Encampment Herstory Project, 1980s-2016 (#61.7-66.1, E.1-E.5)
- Series X. Photographs, 1980s-2008 (#PD.1-PD.82sl, E.6-E.19)
- Series XI. Audiovisual Materials, 1979-2015 (#T-299.1-T-299.209, CD-32.1, Phon-71.1, Vt-283.1-Vt-283.234, DVD.139.1-DVD-139.14)
- Series XII. Memorabilia, 1971-2008 (#41.14m-41.18m, 66.2m-66.8m, 51.1m-51.2m, 52OB.1m-52OB.13m)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These records of the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice were given to the library by the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice and its members between December 1986 and January 30, 2017. Members who donated records include Leeann Irwin, Andrea Doremus, Lucinda Sangree, Ethel Goldenbirch, Dorothy May Emerson, Nan Worthing, Margaret Weitzman, Mary Leno, and Michele Spring-Moore. Accession #2016-M199 was donated by Estelle Coleman and Hershe Michele Kramer on behalf of the Peace Encampment Herstory Project.
Accession numbers: #2000-M137, 2004-M126, 2006-M167, 2006-M175, 2007-M157, 2007-M190, 2010-M145, 2013-M78, 2015-M133, 2016-M199, 2017-M15
Processed by: Laura Peimer
The following published materials have been offered to Widener Library, Harvard University:
- N.Y. Mobilizer (Spring 1982)
- Plain Speaking (volume 6, numbers 1, 10-11)
By: Jacalyn R. Blume
Updated: July 2018
By: Laura Peimer, with assistance from Ayoola White.
- Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice. Records of the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice, 1945-2016 (inclusive), 1980-2008 (bulk): A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from the Radcliffe Class of 1956 and the Mary Mitchell Wood Manuscript Processing Fund.
- EAD ID
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.
3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA