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A new biography of Balch.

Kristen E. Gwinn, WILPF member and creator of, has written a colorful new biography of WILPF founding mother Emily Greene Balch. The first scholarly biography of Balch, the book draws on primary sources, including a draft of Balch's autobiography, letters and speeches. Emily Greene Balch: The Long Road to Internationalism will be published in December, by the University of Illinois Press.


Born in 1867, Balch served at Wellesley College as a full professor of economics and sociology, starting in 1913, until her pacifist activism against U.S. involvement in WWI resulted in the board of trustees' refusal to renew her contract. In 1915, Balch helped co-found WILPF and when she left Wellesley she became the Secretary General of WILPF at the Geneva headquarters.

Among her many activities, Balch was involved in a delegation to Haiti in 1926, arriving in the middle of the U.S.'s 19-year occupation of the nation (1915-1934). Balch's report on the situation recommended the immediate removal of the U.S. presence, a recommendation which was echoed three years later by an official report. Throughout her years with WILPF she advocated for negotiated peace and promoted ideas like internationalism and global citizenship. In 1946, Balch was honored by being made a Nobel Peace Prize laureate for her work with WILPF. Emily Greene Balch died in 1961, when she was 94.

This new biography helps contextualize Balch's activism, while taking into consideration changes in American attitudes toward war and female intellectuals in the early twentieth century.

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Title Annotation:Emily Greene Balch: The Long Road to Internationalism
Author:Cline, Daniel
Publication:Peace and Freedom
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 22, 2010
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