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Friends Committee on National Legislation Records

Identifier: SCPC-DG-047


A Quaker lobbying group established in 1943 to bring conscience and spiritual values to the political process in Washington; it grew out of the work of the Friends War Problems Committee in 1940.


  • 1943-


Language of Material

Materials are in English.

Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research without restrictions. Most boxes are stored off-site. Contact Swarthmore College Peace Collection staff at least two weeks in advance of visit to request boxes.

Historical note

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) had its roots in the Friends War Problems Committee (FWPC), which worked in 1940 with government officials who were responsible for drafting the Selective Training and Service Act. The fact that provisions for religious conscientious objectors in this legislation were broader than those of the earlier Conscription Act was due in great part to the perseverence of the FWPC. With the increasing emergence of post-war problems relating to the securing of a just and durable peace, the concern arose among Friends that a broad-based organization for dealing with them was needed. This led to a meeting convened in Richmond, Indiana, on June 11, 1943, at which the FCNL was established. A General Committee was set up, with three members selected from the various Yearly Meetings and additional members representing Friends' organizations around the country. It appointed its own Executive Committee. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the FCNL's first Executive Secretary was E. Raymond Wilson. In 1962 he became Secretary Emeritus, and Edward Snyder, who had been serving as Legislative Secretary, took his place.

The FCNL is still active (in 2009). working on such issues as preventing war, Iraq, banning cluster bombs, nuclear disarmament, immigration, Native American rights, and protecting the environment. Its web site may be accessed at


200 Linear Feet (200 linear feet.)


The early material from FCNL, arranged under the supervision of FCNL staff person, Jeanette Hadley, was sent to the SCPC in 1951. Subsequent accessions were added to the collection without rearrangement by SCPC staff. A very detailed checklist, including much historical background, was created by E. Raymond Wilson and is available at the SCPC for viewing. The online checklist is an attempt to interpret Wilson's somewhat confusing listing of series/boxes/folders; there may be some mistakes accordingly. It should be noted that later accessions do not follow the same Series outline.

Records of the Race Street Draft Committee (1939-1940) and the Friends War Problems Committee (1940-1943), and material from the Civilian Public Service Fund Committee of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (1941-1946) were removed to other collections.

Bound volumes of meeting minutes, newsletters, mailings and other material from the national office of FCNL (1966-current), and from the California FCL, are stored in the Periodical Collection. They will be incorporated into the FCNL Records collection when shelf space is available. Accessions of records received after 19885 are listed at the end of this finding aid, in order of receipt. These materials are unprocessed.

Ownership and Custodial History

Deposited by the Friends Committee on National Legislation, 1951 and after.

General Note

This entry replaces MS 60-2198.

General Note


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

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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