The Quakers

By Hugh Barbour; J. William Frost | Go to book overview

B

BALCH, EMILY GREENE ( 8 January 1867, Jamaica Plain near Boston, MA--9 January, 1961, Cambridge, MA). Education: B.A., Bryn Mawr College, 1889; advanced study, Sorbonne, Harvard Annex, University of Chicago, Berlin. Career: Educator; social reformer; Professor Department of Economics and Sociology, Wellesley College, 1897-1918; writer, The Nation, 1918-20; secretary-treasurer, cochairman, president, honorary international president, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), 1919-61.

Emily Greene Balch was reared in a patrician Boston Unitarian family. After graduating from college and pursuing advanced study in modern history, economics, and sociology, she became interested in social work and in 1892 helped found the Denison House in Boston. In 1897 she joined the faculty of Wellesley, where she introduced into the department of economics classes on poverty, immigration, sociology, and field work. A strong advocate of the social gospel and for a time a self-proclaimed socialist, Balch helped found the Women's Trade Union League in 1903 and served on the Massachusetts Minimum Wage Commission. Her first book, based upon extensive research in the Balkans and immigrant communities in America, positively evaluated Slavic culture and contributions to America.

Emily Balch's personal involvement in the peace movement came through the American Union against Militarism and the Women's Peace Party. She served as a delegate to the International Congress of Women and visited the leaders of neutral and warring nations in 1915 to whether continuous mediation without a truce was acceptable. She opposed American preparedness and entrance into World War I. Her pacifism and association with radicals prompted the trustees of Wellesley in 1918 not to renew her contract in spite of twenty years of teaching, service as department chairman, and support from the college president and most of the faculty.

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