Women of Valor


Peace Work

Lillian Wald, 1867 - 1940

"The motivation of our efforts was an overpowering sense of peril to all held dear by true Americans, which drove our group to act to the limit of strength and ability in the negotiations for peace, even in the midst of war. We found that an organization of people deeply sincere, guided by a vision of what the world might be, and with assurance enough to act, can influence opinion and events.... In conversations between nations, the simple directness that has been found most useful between neighbors is more and more the method approved."

Wald was deeply committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. When World War I broke out in Europe in 1914, she marched with 1500 other women down Fifth Avenue in a "women's peace parade" and joined the Women's Peace Party. In 1915, she was elected president of the newly formed American Union Against Militarism, which argued that war threatened social progress, and ran counter to faith in "civilized relationships between nations."Wald worried that as President Woodrow Wilson was increasingly pressured to involve the U.S. in the war, militarism would "march into the schools" and lead to the infringement of individual rights. Wald and other AUAM members, speaking on behalf of women as the "conservers of life," unsuccessfully lobbied President Wilson and as war fervor intensified, Wald's anti-militarist position cost Henry Street some of its funding. After the U.S. joined the war, Wald abandoned her anti-militarist stance but remained affiliated with the Foreign Policy Organization and the American Civil Liberties Union, the two daughter organizations of the AUAM.

  1. "The motivation..." Lillian Wald, Windows on Henry Street. (New York: Little Brown and Company, 1934) 316.
  2. "civilized relationships ..." Lillian Wald, The House on Henry Street. (New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc. 1915) 290.
  3. "march into the schools..." R.L. Duffus, Lillian Wald, Neighbor and Crusader. (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1938) 154.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Lillian Wald - Peace Work." (Viewed on April 20, 2014) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/wald/peace-work>.