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Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament Records

Identifier: SCPC-DG-147

Scope and Contents

The records of the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament (GPM) include administrative minutes, departmental working papers, correspondence to and from the marchers, accounts, poetry, art, and songs by marchers, GPM literature including releases, periodicals, a marcher directory, and manuals, as well as memorabilia, photographs, video cassettes, and newsclippings.

Of special significance are the original, chronologically arranged collections of documents found in the City Council Notebooks (SERIES I) where there are C.C. minutes, memos, policies, etc., and the Peace City News Notebooks (SERIES IV) where there are, in addition to the daily newspaper, releases, flyers, correspondence, etc. These original collections show a correct sequence of events as well as which documents were important to the marchers themselves.

Administrative documents include minutes from the Board of Directors (19 March 1986 - 4 May 1987) and the City Council (13 April 1986 - 6 November 1986), as well as judicial case documents, some of which are restricted for fifty years. Working papers of the departments and task forces include minutes, reports, memos, correspondence, and releases. There is a geographical file with material pertaining to different cities and states through which the GPM marched and marcher applications from the Entrance/Exit Department. There is additional correspondence to and from both the march as a unit and individuals in it.

A literature file contains the flyers, mailings, and other releases distributed by the GPM as well as its periodicals, including the daily Peace City News and a marcher directory, The Silver Thread. Journals, diaries, books, poetry, and songs as well as interviews and surveys give first-hand descriptions of the March. There are newsclippings, photographs, a documentary video cassette titled Just One Step: The Great Peace March (1988), and memorabilia presented to the March by city officials and the blue ribbon signed by marchers and wrapped around the Washington monument at the conclusion of the March.

Miscellaneous papers of Franklin Folsom and a separate series of documents pertaining to events after the March are also among the GPM records.

Correspondents include Allan Affeldt, Coleen Ashly, Daniel Chavez, Diane Clark, Evan Conroy, Ed Fallon, Franklin Folsom, Tom Johnson, Richard Polese, John Records, Mordecai Roth, and Dan Weinshenker.


  • 1986 - Date
  • Majority of material found within 1986


Language of Material

Materials are in English.

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

The collection is open for research use.

Copyright and Rights Information


Historical note

The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament evolved from another peace effort, PRO-Peace (DG 152 in SCPC). Formally organized on April 2, 1985, by David Mixner of Los Angeles, California, PRO-Peace envisioned raising $20,000,000 to send 5000 marchers 3000 miles eastward to Washington D.C. The march departed from Los Angeles on March 1, 1986, with only 1200 participants and a fraction of the needed monies in hand. The marchers soon began to realize that the collapse of PRO-Peace was imminent and some began to organize a new structure to take its place. On March 14, while camped near Barstow, California, they received word from David Mixner that PRO-Peace no longer existed. Many marchers departed but those who remained incorporated on March 19 into the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament. A home office was established in Santa Monica, California, and financial aid was received from individuals and organizations, including the Peace Development Fund and Physicians for Social Responsibility. The GPM, also known as Peace City and now numbering approximately 600, resumed its eastward walk on March 28. Its governance and organizational structure adapted to meet its evolving needs. Marchers assumed volunteer jobs, replacing the highly structured and paid PRO- Peace network, and a Policy Board began the task of governing. A City Council soon replaced the Policy Board with decisions made preferably by concensus. The Board of Directors was enlarged from three to seven members and a Judicial Board oversaw resolution of disputes and disciplinary problems among marchers. Three City Managers, one for each of the tent cities, plus department heads, formed an Operations Council. Mayor Diane Clark represented Peace City at ceremonial occasions as the GPM made its way across the United States.

Many departments and task forces were created to carry on the work of the March. These included the Community Interaction Agency which planned outreach events with communities the March passed through, the Field Department which later merged with the C.I.A., Education (Peace Academy) which worried about school for the children on the March as well as issue-oriented speeches for marchers, and Entrance/Exit which handled marcher applications.

A Statement of Purpose was approved with the following preamble "The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament is an abolitionist movement. We believe that great social change comes about when the will of the people becomes focused on a moral imperative. By marching for nine months across the United States, we will create a non-violent focus for positive change; the imperative being that nuclear weapons ar politically, socially, economically and morally unjustifiable, and that, in any number, they are unacceptable. It is the responsibility of a democratic government to implement the will of its people, and it is the will of the people of the United States and many other nations to end the nuclear arms race."

The marchers crossed the United States through California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, and arrived in Washington, D.C. on November 14. Concluding ceremonies were held the following day in Meridian Park,followed by speeches in front of the White House, and closing ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial.


39 Linear Feet (39 linear ft.)


In 1986 six hundred people marched across the United States to demonstrate their opposition to the world-wide nuclear arms race. The march took nine months from California to Washington, D.C. The marchers wrote: "we will create a non-violent focus for positive change; the imperative being that nuclear weapons are politically, socially, economically and morally unjustifiable, and that, in any number, they are unacceptable." The GPM was also a traveling intentional and communal society.


The Great Peace March derived from PRO-Peace (DG 152) so some documents from each group were moved to the other. Chronological order was used except in the Field Department geographical file and among such records as marcher applications where, in both instances, alphabetical order was used.

As discussed in the Scope and Content section, both the City Council Notebooks in SERIES I and the Peace City News Notebooks in SERIES IV are in original order. Much of the other GPM material received by SCPC was neither in notebooks nor in any kind of order. Much of it was subsequently arranged by placing together similar kinds of material, i.e., correspondence, periodicals, art, etc. The departmental origin of many of the working files was unknown.

The correspondence found in SERIES III was found unfiled within the collection. A significant quantity is also found scattered through the working files where it was found.

Franklin Folsom's scrapbooks of newsclippings were not photocopied as was done with the other newsclippings. Some of his papers are not in SERIES VIII but were placed with related material.

Some memorabilia was discarded, particularly souvenirs received along the route which were not peace-related, such as high school yearbooks and frisbees. Most memorabilia is housed in the Oversize section of SCPC.

Photographs and A-V materials are housed separately for conservation purposes. Locations are listed in SERIES IX.

Later accessions to the collection remain in the order in which they were donated.

Physical Location

All or part of this collection is stored off-site. Contact Swarthmore College Peace Collection staff at least two weeks in advance of visit to request boxes.

Ownership and Custodial History

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for these records.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament; and others

Accessions incorporated into the processed series include:

  1. [Acc. 86A-133]: Great Peace March
  2. [Acc. 86A-141]: Franklin Folsom
  3. [Acc. 86A-142]: Claire Colfax
  4. [Acc. 86A-145]: Franklin Folsom
  5. [Acc. 86A-146]: Sarah Willner
  6. [Acc. 86A-147]: Roger Voelker
  7. [Acc. 86A-149]: Roberta Wilson
  8. [Acc. 86A-152]: Saafalya (Sara) Banks
  9. [Acc. 86A-155]: Dan Weinshenker
  10. [Acc. 86A-157]: Franklin Folsom
  11. [Acc. 86A-159]: Great Peace March
  12. [Acc. 86A-160]: Billy Lieb
  13. [Acc. 86A-161]: Richard Polese
  14. [Acc. 87A-004]: Ed Fallon
  15. [Acc. 87A-009]: Franklin Folsom
  16. [Acc. 87A-014]: Dan Weinshenker
  17. [Acc. 87A-019]: Franklin Folsom
  18. [Acc. 87A-025]: Sarah Willner
  19. [Acc. 87A-027 [?]]: Diane Clark
  20. [Acc. 87A-046]: Great Peace March
  21. [Acc. 87A-048]: M.L. Nocross
  22. [Acc. 87A-051]: Dan Weinshenker
  23. [Acc. 87A-054]: Dan Weinshenker
  24. [Acc. 87A-060]: Great Peace March
  25. [Acc. 87A-065]: Great Peace March
  26. [Acc. 87A-076]: Sallie E. Gratch
  27. [Acc. 87A-094]: Dan Coogan
  28. [Acc. 87A-106]: Dan Weinshenker
  29. [Acc. 87A-118]: Wendy Innis
  30. [Acc. 87A-119]: Chris Ball
  31. [Acc. 87A-133]: June Thompson
  32. [Acc. 88A-007]: Lisa ?
  33. [Acc. 88A-011]: Great Peace March
  34. [Acc. 88A-013]: Great Peace March
  35. [Acc. 88A-035]: Franklin Folsom
  36. [Acc. 88A-068]: Sarah Willner
  37. [Acc. 88A-082]: Dan Weinshenker
  38. [Acc. 89A-144]: Madonna E. Newburg
  39. [Acc. 90A-006]: Stephanie Wolf
  40. [Acc. 90A-047]: Cathy Zheutlin
  41. [Acc. 90A-105]: Franklin Folsom
  42. [Acc. 91A-009]: Ocean Tree Books: Peace Like a River
  43. [Acc. 91A-017]: Jane Smiley: Journals written by donor on Great Peace March
  44. [Acc. 97A-039]: Diane Clark: Photographs, audio cassette, other miscellaneous Great Peace March material created or collected by donor
  45. [Acc. 01A-052]: Updates on Great Peace March
  46. [Acc. 01A-064]: Ben Atherton Feron: articles about the Great Peace March, 1986
  47. [Acc. 01A-065]: Email list of Great Peace March participants, 2001
  48. [Acc. 02A-019]: S. Michele McGadde
  49. [Acc. 04A-029]: Jacqueline Smith: 360 color slides of the Great Peace March, taken by Khan Mahanm
  50. [Acc. 04A-075]: Judy Jones: newspaper clippings on the Great Peace March, 1986

Related Materials

For the catalog record for this collection and to find materials on similar topics, search the library's online catalog.

Archived Great Peace March Web Site

These web sites were created by the "alumnae" of the 1986 Great Peace March. The sites cover GPM activities since the march. The World Wide Web did not exisit in 1986 when the GPM took place. Beginning in 2002 the Wayback Machine of the Internet Archives (IA) cached theGPM's web site. Please check both URLs listed as there are some each may list different dates on which web sites were saved.

The links are provided here for the convenience of researchers interested in the history of the GPM's web presence. The Swarthmore College Peace Collection has no control over the web sites or how they are saved by IA.

Dates of web sites marked with an * indicate a change in that site from the last saved web site.*/

  1. Pro Peace Records (DG 152)

Related Materials

Separated Materials

Items removed:

  1. Oversize documents
  2. Memorabilia: Blue ribbons used in Washington, D.C.; 1 banner; other memorabilia collected by the Great Peace March is listed separately
  3. Buttons
  4. Bumper stickers
  5. Photographs: photographs; 39 slides; 360 slides by Khan Mahanm
  6. Audiovisual items
  7. Audiocassettes
  8. Videorecordings (Including movie and out takes, by Cathy Zheutlin)
  9. Phono disk
  10. Computer diskettes

Legal Status

Copyright to the records created by the Great Peace March have been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Copyright to all other materials is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

Processed and checklist prepared by Martha P. Shane (January 1989); updated by Wendy E. Chmielewski 1990; finding aid created by Wendy E. Chmielewski, October 2009; finding aid updated September 2018.



Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2018: The file list was standardized in Summer 2017 by Mary Olesnavich in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace. Tessa Chambers added the notes in Fall 2017. Wendy E. Chmielewski updated this finding aid February 2019.

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Swarthmore College Peace Collection Library

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