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Frances Crowe papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00249

Scope and Contents

The collection documents decades of Frances Crowe's social justice activism in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, including activities of local chapters of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Women Against the War, War Resisters' League, and Amnesty International. It includes extensive records from Crowe's work as the western Massachusetts representative for American Friends' Service Committee (1970s-90s), and numerous subject files, slides, cassettes, film reels, and scrapbooks. Writings, memorabilia, and printed material document her trip to China in 1974. The collection also includes a backup of Crowe's computer.

Dates of Materials

  • 1930 - 2019


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use with following restrictions on access: Researchers must sign Access Agreement form agreeing to not identify living persons without their permission.

Conditions Governing Access

Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections ( at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Frances Crowe was a major figure in peace and social justice activism in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. Born in Carthage, Missouri in 1919, she graduated Stephens College (Columbia, MO), 1939; Syracuse University in 1941; and did graduate work at Columbia University and New School for Social Research. She married Thomas Crowe in 1945. They moved to Northampton, MA so that her son could attend the Clarke School for the Deaf. They had three children. Crowe became a pacifist after hearing about the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. She was active in the Society of Friends and the American Friends' Service Committee(AFSC), particularly the Peace and Social Concerns Committee; and became Western Massachusetts Representative for the AFSC in the 1980s. During the Vietnam War she worked as a draft counselor for over 2,000 men. In the 1960s, she founded the Northampton chapter of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; the Sane Nuclear Policy Committee; and the Valley Peace Center in Amherst, MA, all of which she held meetings for in her basement. Also a founding member of the Traprock Peace Center, Deerfield, MA, and the Committee to End Apartheid, Springfield, MA, Crowe attended Quaker Meetings frequently, and organized talks for speakers who passed through town. Crowe participated in numerous protests which led to her 100-plus arrests and imprisonments, including one month in federal prison. She had a radio tower built in her backyard to broadcast “Democracy Now!” locally. Crowe protested war by refusing to pay federal income tax and donating that money to Northampton Pubic Schools and peace organizations. She died in Northampton in 2019 at age 100.


68 boxes (76.155 linear feet)

1.87 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



Frances Crowe was a major figure in peace and social justice activism in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. Her papers document decades of social justice activism in the Valley, including through local chapters of the American Friends' Service Committee, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Women Against the War, War Resisters' League, and Amnesty International. Materials in this collection include her writings, notes, photographs, posters, memorabilia, and publications.


This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time. Note that in most cases, container numbers start over at 1 with each new accession.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains materials received from the donor in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Other Finding Aids

One or more content listings to individual accessions in this collection are available for download. Links can be found in the description of the individual accessions.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Frances Crowe from 1984-2019.

Related Materials

The records of the American Friends Service Committee of Western Massachusetts are in the Special Collections of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Processing Information

The contents of computer media in this collection has been copied to networked storage for preservation and access; the original directory and file structure was retained and file lists were created.



Finding aid to Frances Crowe papers
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Ellice Yasner Amanna
2005, 2019, 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:14-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2018-10-25: Updated to conform to DACS
  • 2020-01-17: Added new accession
  • 2020-02-24: Containers, barcodes, description added and finding aid updated to current standards
  • 2020-04-03: Description added for born-digital content.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063