Library resources for researching World War I: peace pamphlets

It’s sometimes said that the richness of a library’s collection can be judged by the number and variety of its pamphlets. This Library has over a thousand boxes and volumes of pamphlets, which we aim to catalogue individually.

Pamphlets have long been used to popularise political or religious ideas, or as an important campaigning tool, and can be issued speedily in response to unfolding events. Cheap to produce and distribute, they can be printed in much larger numbers than books – yet their physical flimsiness means their chances of survival are often lower. Pamphlets, posters and ephemera are frequently among the rarest items in library collections. When they survive, they can be a rich primary source on the opinions and activities of pressure groups, campaigning bodies and individuals.

The Library holds hundreds of pamphlets produced before, during and immediately after World War I. The collection is not limited to Quaker material, but includes pamphlets of all kinds, both religious and secular[1], on a wide range of peace and war related topics[2]. Among them are a core of 400 plus “War Tracts” collected by Philip Millwood, donated by him to the Adult School Guest House, Guildford in 1921 and arriving at this Library in 1930.

All of the peace pamphlets have been catalogued, as part of our ongoing Retrospective Cataloguing Project, and can be searched using our online catalogueTIP: For a more effective search use “Advanced search” and select Library catalogue > Books, to search by title, author, organisation, publication year or subject – or use “Expert search” and search in Library catalogue > Books for a wider range of search options, including date range, publisher, language and publication type.

Grants for the 18 month peace project included funds for dis-binding 37 tightly bound volumes of “War tracts” and “Peace pamphlets”, conserving and re-housing the pamphlets in archival quality boxes, for better preservation and ease of use.


[1] Publications of the following organisations are represented:

Alternative Service Guild
American Association for International Conciliation
Anti-Conscription League
British Stop the War Committee
Fabian Society
Fellowship of Reconciliation [active from 1914 –  ]
Friends Peace Committee
Friends Service Committee
Friends War Victims Relief Committee (1914-1919)
Independent Labour Party (Great Britain)
National Council against Conscription
National Council for Civil Liberties
National Peace Council [1908 – 2000]
No Conscription Fellowship [1914- ]
Northern Friends Peace Board
Rationalist Peace Society [1910 – 1920s]
School Peace League
Socialist Quaker Society
Swiss Committee for the Study of the Principles of a Durable Treaty of Peace
Union of Democratic Control [1914- 1960s]
War & Social Order Committee (1915-1928)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Workers’ Anti-Militarist Committee
World Peace Foundation [organisation in Boston, Mass., active from 1910]

You might also search these publishers:
Limit Printing and Publishing – owned by George Lansbury
Headley Brothers – a favoured Quaker publishing company
National Labour Press
War and Peace – pacifist journal founded by Norman Angell, October 1913

[2] Some World War I related subject areas covered  by peace pamphlet collection:

Peace, international understanding, arbitration, foreign policy and diplomacy, Hague Conference, peace conferences, militarisation, armaments, disarmament, League of Nations

Military training, Military Service Acts, Australasia Defence Acts, conscription, pacifism, non-violence, conscientious objection, absolute conscientious objection, tribunals, prisons, prison ministers, Defence of the Realm Act (1917), censorship

Christianity and war, Just war, atrocities, women, refugees, relief, food supply

Christian socialism, social justice, League of Nations

This entry was posted in Guides and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Library resources for researching World War I: peace pamphlets

  1. Pingback: Quaker Strongrooms blog at the turning of the year | Quaker Strongrooms

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.