Scope and Content
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Seattle Women Act for Peace (SWAP) is an affiliate group of Women Strike for Peace (WSP). WSP was founded by Bella Abzug and Dagmar Wilson after an international protest against the arms race and atmospheric nuclear testing conducted by the United States and the USSR. On November 1, 1961, women around the world, including 1500 in Washington D.C., were roused to protest out of concern for children's health, which was at great risk due to radiation's effect on milk. SWAP was formed shortly after WSP by a group of peace activists in Seattle, including Rosemary Brodie, Anci Koppel, and Thorun Robel. The slogan often used on SWAP stationery declared "End the Arms Race - Not the Human Race." In their first year, they held a demonstration against nuclear testing during President John F. Kennedy's visit to commemorate the University of Washington's centennial anniversary. After Kennedy signed the 1963 Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, his motivation to sign was credited partly to WSP and other women's peace organizations. In 1969, SWAP lobbied in Olympia against the proposed antiballistic missile system. Over the decades, SWAP was involved in many areas of peace and justice work, including the campaign for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the 1978 protests at the Trident submarine base, the celebration of the 1989 International Year of the Child, and the 1999 protests against the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle. SWAP produced a monthly newsletter, edited by Thorun Robel, and launched letter writing campaigns to urge government officials to work for peace. SWAP has also participated in world peace conferences such as the 1973 World Congress for Peace in Moscow.
Biographical Note, Anci Koppel: Anci Koppel cofounded Seattle Women Act for Peace, and remained a vital part of the organization until her death in July of 2000. She was born Anci Rosenfeld in Austria in 1907 and emigrated to the United States in 1931 with her husband Charles Koppel. The Koppels ran a small tobacco and pipe wholesale business, which Anci continued after her husband died in 1954. Koppel's career as a peace activist began in 1938, when she protested against the sale of scrap metal to Japan for fear that it could be used for weaponry. She was arrested in 1978 for climbing the fence at the Bangor Naval Base in protest against Trident submarines. Koppel attended many conferences dedicated to world peace, including the 1962 World Conference Against A and H Bombs in Tokyo, Japan, the 1966 World Conference for Children in Stockholm, Sweden, and the 1977 World Peace Council in Warsaw, Poland. She also traveled to Cuba and Nicaragua. Not only did Koppel travel and protest, she also wrote many letters to elected local and national officials and to local newspaper editors. In 1981, the YMCA of Greater Seattle gave her its Milnor Roberts International Understanding Award. In the 1990s, Koppel became involved in the global movements to support Mumia Abu Jamal, a Pennsylvania journalist convicted of murder, and to oppose the World Trade Organization. On the topic of the WTO protests, Koppel said, "We built a grand coalition that spans the movement for peace, equality and economic justice, one that is powerful enough to make our voices heard by the WTO officials. Now we have to keep things together and make our elected officials stop and listen. They are the ones that have to make the changes. Our work isn't finished." She was a tireless activist until the end of her life, working during her last week to oppose the inclusion of the Trident nuclear submarine in the Seattle Seafair celebration.
Scope and Content
Accession 4073-2 (7.04 cubic feet, 1936-2000) is mainly comprised of records created by Anci Koppel. It also contains records of two peace organizations to which Anci Koppel belonged. The Abe Keller Peace Education Fund was established by Abe Keller's widow and SWAP member, Rosemary Brodie, in 1998 to provide financial resources for peace education activities in the Puget Sound region. The Northwest Disarmament Coalition is composed of organizations in the Northwest with a common desire for disarmament and the complete elimination of weapons of mass destruction. SWAP was an active member of the Coalition, along with the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
Anci Koppel served on the KUOW Community Advisory Board. KUOW, a member of National Public Radio, is licensed by the University of Washington and has been broadcasting since 1952.
Subject files such as "Special Events and Very Special People" and "In Memoriam" are original file headings created by Anci Koppel.
A collection of audiotapes is also included in this accession. The tapes, recorded from 1975 to 1999, cover a wide range of topics. Included are political-educational tapes from various organizations, including Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility (WPSR), and from local lectures and events concerning varying issues, such as SWAP's 1984 International Women's Day celebration, the arms race, nuclear weapons, Iraq and economic sanctions, the Iran Contra affair, Trident submarine protests, pesticides, computers and technology, Holocaust survivors, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Beijing. Two WSP tapes cover the Star Wars campaign and a talk given by Dr. Daniel Ellsburg regarding the Pentagon Papers at a 1992 WSP meeting. There are audiotapes of two conference proceedings: the 1985 Seattle Conference on Central America and the 1986 Hands Off My Neighbor symposium. There are also memorial tapes for Nghen Thai Bin, Richard Carbray, and Abe Keller. Musical tapes and four tapes of Ronald Reagan's presidential speeches and debates were not retained.
Additional records of SWAP are found in accession no. 4073-1 (3 cubic ft., 1968-1988), consisting primarily of clippings, articles, and subject files kept by Trudy Holzinger. It is not inventoried.
Restrictions on Access
Open to all users.
Access to archival recordings: Due to the fragility of archival tape recordings, potential users may be required to arrange for transfer to digital format before the material can be accessed. Please contact Special Collections for further information.
Twenty slides and 179 photographs were transferred to the Seattle Women Act for Peace Photograph Collection, PH Coll. 629, in the division. A bulk of the photographs cover SWAP's history through local and national pacifist protests and conferences. These include the World Conference Against A and H Bombs in Tokyo (1962), Hiroshima Day at the Peace Arch at the border between Washington State and British Columbia, Canada (1968), the American Peace Delegation to the Soviet Union (1968), the San Francisco Peace March (1969), an anti-nuclear protest by the Stroller Brigade at Green Lake, Seattle (1986), SWAP's 31st Anniversary celebration (1992), a President Clinton protest rally (1993), and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Celebration (1996). Also included in the transfer were photographs and snapshots of Anci Koppel, Thorun Robel, friends, and other SWAP members. Photographs of other individuals include Barbara and Lyle Mercer, Vietnam draft resistor Rick Best, Claire Shallit, and Trudy Holzinger. A few photographs related to Vietnam, the Guatemala earthquake of 1976, and Dr. Spock's visit to Seattle in 1969 were also transferred. Fourteen of the slides capture an historical overview of SWAP history through marches and conferences. Six of the slides are from Women Strike for Peace's Star Wars campaign.
Accession no. 4073-1 was donated by Women Act For Peace, Seattle, May 2, 1990. The records in accession no. 4073-2 were transferred to Rosemary Brodie following the death of Anci Koppel and were donated to the Libraries on November 30, 2001.
Processed in 2003.
|Last modified: February 27, 2009|