Emily Greene Balch

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Emily Greene Balch
Born (1867-01-08)January 8, 1867
Boston, USA
Died January 9, 1961(1961-01-09) (aged 94)
Cambridge, USA
Nationality American
Occupation Writer, economist, professor
Known for Nobel Peace Prize in 1946

Emily Greene Balch (January 8, 1867 – January 9, 1961) was an American economist and writer.

She became a Quaker and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for her work with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Balch combined an academic career at Wellesley College with a long-standing interest in social issues such as poverty child labor and immigration, as well as settlement work to uplift poor immigrants and reduce juvenile delinquency. She moved into the peace movement at the start of the World War I in 1914, and began collaborating with Jane Addams. She refused to support the war effort when the United States entered the war in 1917, and lost her professorship at Wellesley College. In 1919 she played a central role in the International Congress of Women. It changed its name to the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and was based in Geneva. She was the League as its first international Secretary-Treasurer, administering the organizations activities. She helped set up summer schools on peace education, and created new branches in over 50 countries. She cooperated with the League of Nations regarding drug control, aviation, refugees, and disarmament. In World War II, she favored Allied victory and did not criticize the war effort, but did support the rights of conscientious objectors.[1]


Born in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston into an affluent family, she was amongst the first graduates of Bryn Mawr College in 1889. She continued to study sociology and economics in Europe and the United States, and, in 1896, she joined the faculty of Wellesley College, becoming a full professor of economics and sociology in 1913.

During the World War I, she helped to found the WILPF and campaigned against America's entry into the conflict.

When her contract was terminated by Wellesley because of her pacifist activities, she became an editor of The Nation, a well-known liberal news magazine, acted as secretary of the WILPF (a second term in 1934 without salary for a year and a half), and did much work for the League of Nations.

Balch converted from Unitarianism and became a Quaker in 1921. She never married. She died the day after her 94th birthday.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Suzanne Niemeyer, editor, Research Guide to American Historical Biography: vol. IV (1990) pp 1806–1814


Further reading[edit]

  • Gwinn, Kristen E. Emily Greene Balch: The Long Road to Internationalism (University of Illinois Press; 2011) 272 pages; a biography excerpt and text search
  • Christopher McKnight Nichols. Promise and Peril: America at the Dawn of a Global Age (Harvard University Press, 2011).
  • . Randall, Mercedes M. Improper Bostonian: Emily Greene Balch (Twayne Publishers, 1964). scholarly biography

External links[edit]

  • Emily Green Balch biography at Nobel Prize site.
  • Tribute to Emily Greene Balch by John Dewey, pages 149–150 in Later Works of John Dewey volume 17. First published in Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, 1946 page 2.