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Fighting for Peace in an International City: The Disarmament Committee of the Women's International Organizations in Geneva, 1931-1939

By Denise Ireton

State University of New York at Binghamton


   The Disarmament Committee of the Women's International Organizations was headquartered in Geneva during the 1930s. Formed in 1931 on the eve of the League of Nations Conference on the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments, the Disarmament Committee helped rally public opinion within different nation-states to muster support for disarmament. The organization acted as a clearinghouse, distributing important information from Geneva throughout the world. Although the conference stopped meeting in 1934, the women of the Committee re-focused their efforts, changed their purpose, and pressed forward in their goals for peace. Once World War II erupted, the Geneva office became difficult to maintain, and the Disarmament Committee disbanded for good. Despite the short life of the Committee, the work in Geneva marked an important aspect to the international activism of this generation of women. For many of the Committee, this work marked a high point in their professional careers and established a tradition of women's international work through international and inter-governmental organizations that carried over into the post-war era. Significantly, the women and their efforts demonstrate how transnational activism both bridged and accentuated tensions created by differences of nationality and of organizational affiliation. Moreover, these international women leaders created a precedent for the role of non-state actors in international politics during the interwar period.

   The international women's movement, international women's organizations, and transnational feminisms have become important historical topics of study in recent years. Several scholars have established the existence of an international women's movement, highlighting particular strands of activism within the movement.[1] Examining the significance of a transnational women's movement, historians of women and gender have started asking important questions about U.S. women's international activism, especially questions that address race, class, and gender as well as those that consider colonialism, imperialism, and nationalism.[2] The women of the Disarmament Committee illustrate how the leading women and women's international organizations negotiated international politics by developing their transnational activism. The women discovered challenges to implementing their activist ideas. The women from the leading organizations could agree to work for peace, but the methods to achieve this goal were not always clear. While attempting to move beyond national borders, the women faced the constraints of nationality as they worked for "common" goals. Indeed, common was not always easy to determine, especially with conflicting ideals among the Committee's member organizations. Charting the strategic transition in the Disarmament Committee from a proponent of disarmament to a proponent of peace illuminates the history of women's peace activism more generally.

   This digital archive, Women and Social Movements, International: 1840 to Present, provides valuable documents related to the work of the women's Disarmament Committee. The archive includes an extensive collection of the minutes covering over one hundred meetings held between 1931 and 1937 for this Geneva Committee. The minutes included in the archive come from the International Council of Women Records at the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Laura Dreyfus-Barney, who served as the International Council of Women (ICW) representative on the Committee for most of the 1930s, originally collected these records. Hidden within the small, unofficial collection of the ICW, these papers are one of the few places to find documents from the Disarmament Committee. Forced out of Geneva during World War II, the Disarmament Committee lost its official documents. The only material that survives from the Disarmament Committee was that preserved by the women active in the organization. Researchers should also consider the Mary A. Dingman Papers, 1917-1957, at the Schlesinger Library, as well as the Peace and Disarmament Committee of the Women's International Organisations Collected Records, donated by Laura Puffer Morgan to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. The Disarmament Committee coordinated peace work of the leading women's international organizations throughout the 1930s.

   With the League of Nations encouraging cooperation among nation-states, the leaders of women's organizations believed they had found a forum for their concerns. As nation-states sent delegates to the coalition of world governments, women's international organizations began sending representatives in 1925 to their own coalition, the Joint Standing Committee of Women's International Organizations (JSCWIO). Coordinated by the International Council of Women, the Joint Standing Committee and the leading women of international organizations advocated for a place for women and women's nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) at the League of Nations. They emphasized the importance of women's perspectives on issues, particularly those deemed of interest to women. On that basis, the League of Nations authorized a highly circumscribed role for the Joint Standing Committee to provide some insight on the problems of trafficking in women and children. Sources from both the Joint Standing Committee and the League of Nations are available in the digital archive. The archive includes official minutes of the Liaison Committee of Women's International Organisations (LCWIO) at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. The run of minutes is nearly complete, covering the Joint Standing Committee from 1925 through its transition to the Liaison Committee of the Women's International Organizations in 1930 and following the Liaison Committee through 1950. Additionally, Susan Zimmerman provides discussion of the history of this organization in her essay. The archive includes much material by and about women in regard to the League of Nations in addition to material related to the Liaison Committee. The most substantial group of documents consists of reports, published during the 1920s and 1930s, from the Committee on Traffic in Women and Children as well as the later reports on the Nationality of Women. Those interested in women and the League of Nations should look at Carol Miller's 1992 dissertation, "Lobbying the League: Women's International Organizations and the League of Nations". The Joint Standing Committee became an important avenue for women to gain access to the League of Nations. The leaders of the Joint Standing Committee and the organizations they represented accepted the League's constraints on action, but worked to expand the range of issues deemed suitable for women by the League and established women as a strong interest group in international politics. In order to pursue additional, less stereotypically "female" topics, the women delegates needed to make changes within their Committee, especially changes at the top.

   One of the leading women's organizations of the time, the International Council of Women (ICW), directed the agenda of the Joint Standing Committee. Although the chair at the Committee's meetings rotated among the member organizations, by 1930, non-ICW women delegates had become tired of the ICW's control over the Committee. These women are key activists featured in the digital archive, and they include Mary Agnes Dingman of the World Young Women's Christian Association (World YWCA), Kathleen D'Olier Courtney of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), and Margery Corbett Ashby of the International Alliance of Women (IAW), among others.[3] At two meetings in September 1930, they proposed a new committee—the Liaison Committee of Women's International Organizations—with a new, more active agenda regarding the League of Nations. As it became apparent that the new committee intended to break away from the ICW's domination, President of the ICW, Ishbel Gordon, graced the Joint Standing Committee with her presence during the November 22 meeting (p. 10 online).[4] According to Katherine Bompas, Gordon stirred up resentment with Dingman, Courtney, and others by attempting to bring the Liaison Committee into the organizational structure of the ICW. The power struggles carried over into 1931, with Dingman and Una M. Saunders of the World YWCA protesting the February 25th meeting called by Gordon. Both protesters "wished to dissociate themselves from that meeting" and the decisions made there. It was at this meeting that Gordon refused to commit the ICW to collaboration on disarmament efforts, the policy that the Liaison Committee had agreed to at the previous meeting. In other words, Gordon was working to re-establish the ICW's control over the joint efforts of women's organizations. Not to be dissuaded, the dissenting delegates created another committee: the Disarmament Committee of the Women's International Organizations.

   The creation of these various committees suggests an excessive form of bureaucracy coming from international organizations, which were themselves well-developed bureaucracies as umbrella organizations of national groups. The Joint Standing Committee formed the Liaison Committee, which formed the Disarmament Committee six months later. These committees demonstrate something more profound than excessive bureaucracy. The women delegates did not change with the creation of new committees; the organizations sent the same delegates to all three committees. The new committees and the slightly shifting agenda suggest that the leaders of the women's organizations did not agree with the conservative position of Gordon and the ICW. They created new committees in order to diminish the control of the ICW on joint efforts by the women's organizations. They situated the Disarmament Committee to act not as a body of the ICW but as a coalition of international women's organizations working in the interest of the women they represented.

   In September 1931, the women of the Disarmament Committee elected Mary Dingman as their president. As an industrial secretary from the World YWCA, Dingman was seen to be a strong choice. She had garnered respect among her colleagues on the Liaison Committee with her efforts regarding child welfare and labor issues. Dingman had a resumé of accomplishment, developing her pacifist activism on-the-ground during World War I. Organizing in France for the YWCA of the US, she advocated on behalf of French women workers in the munitions industry to improve their working conditions. She travelled throughout Europe and to Shanghai after the war, making note of the conditions of women workers. Building on her war work, she convinced municipal governments to make changes for women workers.[5] By the time that the World YWCA sent her as a delegate to the Liaison Committee, Dingman had a reputation for getting things done on-the-ground. For women from organizations like the IAW and WILPF who wanted a unified, collaborative effort for international peace, Dingman possessed the leadership qualities necessary for their lofty goals for social change and world peace.

   Other key international women, many of whom are featured in the digital archive, joined Dingman as leaders of the Disarmament Committee. The delegates elected the executive bureau, announcing the results on September 5, 1931. Kathleen Courtney, a British suffragist and a delegate of WILPF, served as vice-chair, along with Laura Dreyfus-Barney, an American living in France and representing the ICW. Rosa Manus, of Amsterdam, agreed to serve as honorary secretary, representing the IAW. Finally, Clara Guthrie d'Arcis, an American who was well-connected in Swiss women's organizations, was elected treasurer and represented the World Union of Women for International Concord. Although not part of these first elections, American Laura Puffer Morgan came on as a technical advisor as did Canadian Dorothy Heneker of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW) in as secretary in the mid-1930s. The women of the executive bureau pushed the agenda at the meetings, but ultimately, the Disarmament Committee acted based on the perspectives and votes of its member organizations.

   From the executive bureau to the member organizations, the Disarmament Committee contained several layers of agency within its umbrella structure. Membership in the Committee was open to international women's organizations, and these organizations sent delegates to the Committee to speak and vote on the organization's behalf.[6] These women delegates selected the bureau, a group of women who would represent and direct the Committee's actions to members as well as other organizations, particularly the League of Nations. Additionally, the Committee relied on its member organizations to connect with national and local groups. The layers of agency from the individual to the local group to the national group to the international group to the Disarmament Committee created distance between the activists at the top and the activists on-the-ground. Nevertheless, the women serving on the executive bureau and as delegates were women with local, national, and organizational connections that make their history worth examining. These women worked to effect social change through their Committee.

   The Disarmament Committee represented the peace interests of many of the leading women's international organizations of the inter-war period. Fourteen major international women's groups made up the Committee, including the major organizations already discussed as well as the International Federation of University Women (IFUW), the World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WWCTU), the World Organization of Jewish Women, and the League of Jewish Women. Almost all of the member organizations of the Disarmament Committee are featured in the digital archive.[7] Moreover, the wide scope of interests and affiliated national groups of the international bodies helped the women of the Disarmament Committee make their claims of world representation.

   The Disarmament Committee met in Geneva, situated in close proximity to the sessions of the Disarmament Conference. Geneva was a significant place for the international women's movement. As early as 1920, women's international organizations recognized the home of the League of Nations as an important place to be—by 1931 it was clearly a hub of international activity. While the Liaison Committee remained based in London, the Disarmament Committee situated itself in the heart of international activities by leasing offices in Geneva from the World YWCA beginning with the meeting on September 11, 1931. The leadership of the Disarmament Committee provided a strong nucleus in Geneva for the international women's organizations as some of the women, like Mary Dingman and her partner Evelyn Fox, took up permanent residence in the city to better coordinate the work of the Committee. The network of women set the itinerary for women travelers to Geneva, hosted banquets for women serving as delegates to the League of Nations and the International Labour Organization, and developed a space in Geneva for women to support one another as their careers brought them to this city throughout the decade. More importantly, this group of international women leaders exemplified a new generation of activists, a generation that established an international presence for non-state actors, especially women, in relation to inter-governmental bodies like the League.

   A closer look at the documents of the Disarmament Committee provides insight into the concerns of these activist women. The first order of business facing the newly-formed Disarmament Committee was planning for women's demonstrations at the League of Nation's Disarmament Conference in February 1932. According to the publicity pamphlet distributed by the Committee, the women in Geneva were determined to focus on the acquisition and presentation of four peace petitions circulated to publicize the conference and focus public opinion in favor of disarmament. Ultimately, the diplomats at the Disarmament Conference allowed non-governmental organizations, including the World Federation of League of Nations Societies as well as the Women's Disarmament Committee, to address the Conference in the opening plenary session. The women, representing fifty-six countries and fourteen women's organizations, presented their petitions in support of disarmament. These petitions displayed the signatures of more than 8 million individuals. The women of the Disarmament Committee pushed to make their point clear: The "women of the world" represented in these petitions, demanded that the delegates of the conference heed their request to eliminate the possibility of war and establish world peace.

   Besides the Disarmament Conference, the Disarmament Committee took note of violent world events. Women from local groups persistently sent pleas to the women in Geneva, especially when the violence affected these women directly. For example, the Secretary of the YWCA in China, Ting Shu-Ching, wrote the members of the Disarmament Committee after the Japanese government invaded Manchuria. In November 1931, she asserted in the telegram: "fundamental human rights of peoples only guaranteed by effective international action." She argued that the situation required China to increase its arms because of the injustice of the invasion, so she asked the Committee to "urge League take inflexible stand for justice that peace may be preserved." The Disarmament Committee responded by sending telegrams to the League of Nations and to the foreign ministers of both the Republic of China and the Imperial Government of Japan, asking for the withdrawal of troops and requesting that both countries turn to the League of Nations to resolve the conflict. Acting diplomatically, the women of the Disarmament Committee believed they had a responsibility to their members to advocate on behalf of peace.

   The women of the Committee set limits on this responsibility; the international group in Geneva refused to act on some pleas by local women. In April 1932, the Committee discussed a letter received from the National Council of Spanish Women. The women of Spain requested action regarding the recent constitutional issues that had resulted in martial law and coup attempts in their country. They believed that international intervention would alleviate the rising tensions. The leaders of the Disarmament Committee discussed the letter and decided on a passive approach. The Bureau set a precedent for Committee action, declaring the event an internal, national event; therefore, direct response was beyond the charge of the Committee. Nevertheless, the executive bureau notified their affiliated organizations and encouraged group or individual action from their membership. The women in Geneva defined their scope of interest within parameters similar to those that guided the League of Nations. Violence within nation-states was seen as a national issue, one to be solved by the national governments and national groups. Interference by the League, or in this case the women's Disarmament Committee, was understood as a breach of a nation-state's sovereignty. Sovereignty was, and still is, a crucial factor affecting international cooperation.

   Questions of jurisdiction for the women in Geneva arose again during one of the more controversial moments of the 1930s. By April 1933, the committee had received several pleas from individuals, asking for the committee to look into the situation in Germany particularly regarding Jewish persecution. The executive bureau called a "special emergency meeting" on April 24 to discuss the necessary actions of the Committee. Earlier in the month, Mary Dingman and "a small informal and unofficial group of women" had met to determine what action needed to be done by women's international organizations to address these concerns. They determined that the first step was to send a letter of protest to the newly elected leader of Germany, Adolf Hitler. Writing "in favour of international co-operation and understanding," the letter contended: "Discriminative action against race or religion must inevitably breed mistrust and enmity and destroy that spirit of confidence and friendly understanding which is the basis of moral disarmament and of peace between nations." Therefore, they "earnestly" asked for Hitler to relieve the "suffering" and instead to act with the "principles of justice and mercy."[8] Despite careful drafting of the document by the small group of women, the letter was never sent.

   Given earlier debates regarding the place of the Disarmament Committee in national concerns, approval from the membership was necessary to send the letter and break from precedent. At the Emergency Meeting, the Committee women reviewed the responses from the member groups. Of the fourteen organizations, three refused to sign and two refused to make a decision. Two German women, upon request of the Committee, expressed that they felt that the Disarmament Committee should not interfere in Germany because it would violate the Committee's precedent to not meddle in domestic issues. In the end, because a third of their organizations refused to sign, the Committee chose not to send the letter. The concern over the policies in Nazi Germany weighed heavily on women of the Committee throughout the 1930s.

   Several months later, during the October 5th meeting, Marguerite Nobs of the World Union of Women for International Concord submitted a resolution for endorsement by the Geneva Committee. The resolution demanded the release of imprisoned pacifists in Germany. The proposal "aroused considerable discussion" among the women, prompting the formation of a "small group…to study the question." While discussion continued into November, the precedent had been established: Committee members refused to deviate from their choice of noninterference in domestic concerns. Following the precedent from the Spanish example, the women of the Committee encouraged member organizations and individuals to respond as they saw fit. The challenges that the Disarmament Committee faced over the German question in 1933 illustrated the difficulty of compromise among women with such wide-ranging interests and deeply held beliefs.

   While the women of the Disarmament Committee chose not to protest the persecution of Jews and pacifists by Hitler's government, they supported Jewish emigration out of Germany to Palestine. The Committee took an indirect approach to emigration. In late October 1933, Hoda Charaoui (also spelled Huda Shaarawi), leader of the Egyptian International Alliance, requested that the Committee support the "Arab resistance" to the increasing emigration of Jews to Palestine under the Haavarah Agreement of August 1933 between Zionists in Palestine and Nazi Germany.[9] Charaoui exemplifies the reaction of individuals in many destination areas for refugees during the 1930s. In fact at the Evian Conference in 1938, many countries including the United States refused to adjust immigration policies to accommodate emigrants from Nazi Germany. Charaoui persisted with her quest for international women's support for Arab resistance, causing a stir at the IAW Congress at Copenhagen in 1939. Unsuccessful, she resigned her position on the IAW board and withdrew the Egyptian Alliance from the IAW in protest.[10] The Disarmament Committee was the first to deny Charaoui, asserting at the 1933 meeting that her request "was a matter outside the jurisdiction of the Committee." By refusing to take action on behalf of Charaoui and the Arab resistance, the women of the Committee tacitly supported Jewish emigration out of Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, such an indirect approach to the growing threats to peace in Europe did not sit well with several of the leading women of the Disarmament Committee. Some of these women wanted more direct and clear action to ensure peace.

   A handful of these women leaders disliked the politics of appeasement, President Mary Dingman among them. At the second meeting in November of the Disarmament Committee, Dingman announced informally that she would be stepping down in January 1934 to pursue other engagements. While the excuse was true, the resignation undoubtedly was fueled by the lack of action on the part of the Committee members regarding Nazi Germany. Dingman envisioned a more assertive peace agenda from the women's organizations, one that held diplomats to the peace clauses within the Covenant of the League of Nations. Rejecting the terms of appeasement that her fellow Committee members wanted to uphold, she urged her colleagues to find a new chairperson. At the December 1933 meeting, Evelyn Fox advocated two motions, to read her partner's resignation and to appoint a new acting president. The group voted to extend a leave of absence to Dingman, with Kathleen Courtney and Laura Puffer Morgan sharing the chair's responsibilities until her return. Indeed, the women of the Committee hoped for a compromise with their President. This action illustrated the reluctance of the rest of the Committee to accept Dingman's resignation.

   The women of the Committee enticed Dingman to return with financial incentives that drew her away from the World YWCA. In a letter dated August 1935, Kathleen Courtney and Dorothy Heneker wrote to secure monetary contributions to ensure a salary for Dingman for a period of three years. While the money was undoubtedly part of Dingman's decision to stay with the Disarmament Committee, the letter reveals the broader agenda behind Dingman's presidency. Courtney and Heneker wrote: "Miss Dingman could only consider such an arrangement if she felt assured of the whole-hearted co-operation of the member organisations, and their determination to make a real effort towards the building of peace." Implicitly articulated here is the disapproval from Dingman for the lack of action taken by the Disarmament Committee concerning tangible threats to international peace. The members of the Committee provided donations to support Dingman and her perspective of action. Despite this, the Disarmament Committee struggled to implement their theories of disarmament as coherent actions for peace throughout the 1930s.

   With the President returning to the Disarmament Committee, the women restructured their organization and officially changed its name to the Peace and Disarmament Committee of the Women's International Organizations. The name change in September 1935 coincided with their new program for action, the "Peace Roll of Industry." Treasurer Clara Guthrie d'Arcis designed the Peace Roll of Industry, a concerted effort to enlist leading corporations for peace. The efforts began in the United States, with General Motors, U.S. Steel, and Standard Oil, among others, signing onto the Peace Roll. While these efforts created publicity for both the corporations and the Disarmament Committee, it also brought much-needed funds to the Committee so it could continue its work. The Peace Roll illustrated a new strategy from the Disarmament Committee—to convince industrial leaders that peace, not war, served their best interests.

   During the second half of the decade, international cooperation was breaking down. As Mussolini invaded Ethiopia, it was clear that the Disarmament Committee's work would need to continue. With the support of Professor Maria Castellani, the President of the Italian Fascist Women's Union, and with the pleas for action from Princess Tsehai, the President of the Ethiopian Women's Work Association, the Disarmament Committee protested the lack of action by the League of Nations after discussion at an October 1935 meeting. The Committee criticized Italy's use of poison gas, especially because reports from Ethiopia relayed news of non-combatant victims, including women and children. Italy's invasion displayed the limitations of the League to many both inside and outside of international politics.

   As violence continued to erupt with Nazi Germany annexing Austria in March 1938 and invading Czechoslovakia in October, the women of the Committee realized their efforts were failing. During the summer of 1939, Dingman and Fox made arrangements to leave their Geneva home by the end of the year. In a letter from Geneva on September 3rd, 1939, Dingman described to her friends and family the realities of war mobilization in Switzerland. She despaired:

   Yesterday I called some members of the Peace and Disarmament Committee to-gether but there seemed nothing really effective to be done—it was too late. We may issue an appeal to strengthen Roosevelt's appeal to spare open towns and the civilian populations from bombardment yet we know that if Hitler feels the necessity of doing it nothing will hold back his ruthlessness.[11]

   The women of the Disarmament Committee failed in their central goal, that is, the creation of a lasting peace.

   Despite efforts to persuade the League of Nations to promote disarmament and to bring the "economic forces into co-operation with the women's peace movement," the women of the Disarmament Committee doubted the efficacy of their long-held position for disarmament as a way to create peace. Political upheaval and violent conflict in China, Spain, Germany, and Ethiopia threatened international cooperation and arguments of disarmament. Moreover, these conflicts highlighted the tensions within the Disarmament Committee due to organizational affiliation and nationality. By the end of the 1930s, the women of the Disarmament Committee had realized its central paradox. Disarmament worked in theory—if all nation-states, and groups within nation-states, disarmed, it would end the violence. However, as these women witnessed, the theory was difficult, if not impossible, to put into practice. The military conflicts throughout the 1930s showed the challenges of reducing arms; peace became difficult to maintain without severe consequences for violating that peace. Unfortunately, neither nation-states nor the League of Nations were prepared to take strong steps to defend world peace.



[1] See, Leila J. Rupp, Worlds of Women: The Making of an International Women's Movement (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1997); Bonnie S. Anderson, Joyous Greetings: The First International Women's Movement, 1830-1860 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); Carol Miller, "'Geneva—The Key to Equality': Inter-War Feminists and the League of Nations," Women's History Review 3, no. 2 (1994): 219-45; Miller, "Lobbying the League: Women's International Organizations and the League of Nations", Ph.D. dissertation, Oxford: University of Oxford, 1992; Harriet Hyman Alonso, Peace as a Women's Issue: A History of the U.S. Movement for World Peace and Women's Rights, 1st ed., Syracuse Studies on Peace and Conflict Resolution (Syracuse, N.Y: Syracuse University Press, 1993); Susan Becker, "International Feminism Between the Wars: The National Woman's Party versus the League of Women Voters," in Decades of Discontent: The Women's Movement, 1920-1940, ed. Lois Scharf and Joan M. Jensen (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1983); Ian R. Tyrrell, Woman's World/Woman's Empire: The Woman's Christian Temperance Union in International Perspective, 1800-1930 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991); Stephanie A Limoncelli, The Politics of Trafficking: The First International Movement to Combat the Sexual Exploitation of Women (Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 2010); Karen Garner, Shaping a Global Women's Agenda: Women's NGOs and Global Governance, 1925-85 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010); and, Kristen E. Gwinn, Emily Greene Balch: The Long Road to Internationalism (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010).

   See also, institutional histories of women's organizations: Anna Virena Rice, A History of the World's Young Women's Christian Association (New York: Woman's Press, 1948); Gertrude Carman Bussey and Margaret Tims, Pioneers for Peace: Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, 1915-1965, 2nd ed. (London: WILPF, British Section, 1980); Catherine Foster, Women for All Seasons: The Story of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1989); and, Arnold Whittick, Woman into Citizen: The World Movement Towards the Emancipation of Women in the Twentieth Century with Accounts of the Contributions of the International Alliance of Women, the League of Nations and the Relevant Organisations of the United Nations (London: Athenaeum with F. Muller, 1979).

[2] Kimberly Jensen and Erika Kuhlman, ed., Women and Transnational Activism in Historical Perspective, History of International Relations, Diplomacy and Intelligence (St. Louis: Republic of Letters Publishing, 2010).

   Additionally, the discourse on "transnational" as a subfield, method, and/or category of historical analysis has not settled exactly what transnational history is. For example, see C.A. Bayly, Sven Beckert, Matthew Connelly, Isabel Hofmeyr, Wendy Kozol, and Patricia Seed, "AHR Conversation: On Transnational History," The American Historical Review 111, no. 5 (December 1, 2006): 1441-464; and, Shelley Rose, "Transnational Identities in National Politics: The SPD and the German Peace Movements, 1921—1966" (Ph.D. dissertation, State University of New York at Binghamton, 2010), pp. 35-47.

[3] All of these women's organizations—the ICW, the World YWCA, the WILPF, and the IAW—are featured in this digital archive, most notably with the proceedings or reports from the international conferences held by the organizations. One of these organizations, the International Alliance of Women, changed names several times in the early twentieth century. This organization began as the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA), adopting the name of the International Alliance of Women for Suffrage and Equal Citizenship (IAWSEC) after suffrage had been achieved for women after World War I in Great Britain, the United States, and other represented nation-states. Sometime during the 1930s, the organization shortened its name to the International Alliance of Women (IAW). Within the documents from the Disarmament Committee, the IAW is referred to with IAWSEC and IAW acronyms as well as simply "the Alliance"; for clarity, I have chosen to refer to the organization as the IAW.

[4] Ishbel Gordon's full name and title was Ishbel Maria Marjoribanks, Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair. Often she signed documents and was referred to by her colleagues as Lady Aberdeen.

[5] Young Women's Christian Association, "American YWCA in France," Pamphlet, c. 1918, p.2, Ruth Woodsmall Papers, Box 61, Folder 3, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass; Peace and Disarmament Committee of the Women's International Organisations, "Biographical Material of Mary A. Dingman, International Board, Peace and Disarmament Committee of Women's International Organizations," 1937, Mary A. Dingman Papers, 1917-1957; A-65, Box 1, Folder 1, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass [hereafter referred to as MAD Papers]; and, Sarah S. Lyon, "International Work with the YWCA," in "A Service of Thanksgiving for Mary A. Dingman, April 9, 1875 — March 21, 1961 Held at the National Board of the YWCA of the U.S.A., 600 Lexington Avenue, New York, N.Y., April 21, 1961," MAD Papers.

   According to YWCA colleague Sarah Lyon, in France Dingman "laid siege to Monsieur [Edouard] Herriot," demanding "Il le faut!" or "it is necessary," necessary for the women to have centers to boost their spirits and provide them with hot meals. Lyon reported that Dingman received the aid from the government along with "the amused but respectful" nickname, "Mlle. Il-le-faut."

[6] Leila Rupp refers to umbrella organizations like the Disarmament Committee as "superinternational coalitions." See, Worlds of Women, 37-43.

[7] International groups less prominent in the archive but also represented by the Disarmament Committee included the Ligue des Femmes Ibériques et Hispano-Américaines (International League of Iberian and Latin American Women), the League of Mothers and Educators for Peace, the European Federation of Soroptimist Clubs, the International Co-operative Women's Guild. National groups not affiliated with a member international organization applied for membership as well, and these groups included the National Committee on the Cause and Cure for War (U.S.), the Women's Polish Organizations, the Association of Slavic Women, the Women's Peace Crusade (G.B.), and the Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas.

   Although both the World Organization of Jewish Women and the League of Jewish Women provided delegates as members of the Disarmament Committee, it is likely that both of these organizations were part of the organizational roots of the International Council of Jewish Women. See, Nelly Las, Jewish Women in a Changing World : A History of the International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW), 1899-1995, trans. Stephanie Nakache (Jerusalem, Israel: Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1996), especially pp. 31-41.

[8] Mary Agnes Dingman, "To the Membership and Enclosure to Herr Hitler," Letter (Geneva, April 12, 1933), MAD Papers.

[9] According to Saul Friedlander, about 37,000 of 525,000 Jews left Germany in 1933, and 19 percent of the emigrants (about 7,000 individuals) left for Palestine. Saul Friedlander, Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939, vol. 1 (New York: HarperCollins, 1997), 62-63.

[10] The IAW's Report of the Thirteenth Congress, Copenhagen, July 8th-14th, 1939 is silent on this controversy at the meeting. However, Arnold Whittick uncovered Charaoui's discontent in a letter that President Margery Corbett Ashby wrote to her husband regarding the events at the conference. See, Whittick, Woman into Citizen, 144.

   Setting these differences aside in the post-World War II period, Charaoui rejoined the IAW and returned as a vice-president on the board, according to the IAW's Report of the Fourteenth Congress, Interlaken, August 11th - 16th, 1946.

[11] "Mary Dingman to Family and Friends, September 3rd, 1939, Geneva," letter, MAD Papers.