( 1867-1961), Nobel Peace laureate, citizen of the world
Emily Greene Balch was the second U.S. woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. ( Jane Addams was the first.) She sought and shaped for herself a life of expanding influence in an era when women's lives were still very much defined by domestic concerns. She was an educator, and she was an active social worker; indeed, she helped to develop the concept of social work. Of greatest significance, she dedicated her life to helping create an international perspective that would eliminate the causes of war through her involvement with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).
As a speaker and writer, she expressed her pragmatic idealism through images of unity and sought consensus in potentially conflicting points of view. Rhetorically, she used a very personal tone and presented complex concepts and issues in terms that were familiar to her audiences. She enlivened her ideas with concrete examples and vivid descriptions drawn from the world of nature. Her ideals were embodied in her words as they were expressed in her actions. Her public words echoed her private persuasive efforts, some of her efforts having greater impact than her words. For example, she helped shape Wilson's Fourteen Points at the end of World War I.
Emily Greene Balch appeared almost destined for her international career. Each stage of her life led logically to the next, each preparing her for her future role. Born in Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts, Balch was one of six children of an old New England family, many of whom were social activists. Her father, perhaps the most important influence on her life, was secretary to U.S. Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, an abolitionist who was also committed to peace activism. As Sumner's secretary, Francis V. Balch was clerk to the Senate