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The Peace Links Papers

Description from the Special Collections Brochure Series

Peace Links, a movement of women committed to preventing nuclear war, designated the University of Arkansas Libraries the repository for its permanently valuable records in 1988. The first installment arrived March 30, 1989, and covers the period 1977-1989. The papers (finding aid available online) document the history and activities of a grass-roots movement that was founded by Betty Bumpers in Little Rock, Arkansas, and grew to involve thousands of participants in the United States and the former Soviet Union.

The papers are in twelve series: administrative records of the Washington headquarters; funding sources; state and international contacts; special projects, including promoting Peace Day activities, the Peace Quilt and the Peace Ribbon, and the U.S. / Soviet Women s Exchange; conferences and other events; support organizations; publications, including two news letters, Connection and Friday Letter; educational material about the Nuclear Age; press and media; photographs; audio and video recordings; and awards and artifacts.

Peace Links was organized in 1982 in Little Rock, Arkansas, by Betty Bumpers and a group of women concerned about the threat of the nuclear arms race. Their goal was to effect a "mind-shift in the way people think" about nuclear war and world peace. The non- partisan movement works through established organizations such as churches, professional groups, PTAs, and garden clubs, to increase women s understanding of the global consequences of the nuclear arms race and to give them a sense of responsibility for directing the world s resources toward sustainable peace. Today Peace Links is active in all fifty states and has a mailing list of more than thirty thousand names. An extensive "pen pal" program encourages personal contact between women of the United States and the countries of the former Soviet Union. Peace Links sponsors tours and distributes educational materials that foster awareness of the power of individuals and small groups working for peace. Since the breakup of the Communist bloc, the organization has also addressed community-based violence and conflict resolution.

Betty Flanagan Bumpers, founder of Peace Links, has had a distinguished career in public service. She was a schoolteacher in Charleston, Arkansas, her home town, and, as the wife of then Governor Dale Bumpers, promoted a state-wide immunization program against diseases of early childhood. Relying heavily on women volunteers and local organizations, the program became a model for the nation; she and her husband were recognized for their efforts by the American Academy of Pediatrics. When her husband was elected to the U.S. Senate, Betty Bumpers drew upon her experience and her network of volunteers to develop Peace Links.

Her work has earned Mrs. Bumpers many awards, including the 1985 Woman of Conscience Award from the National Council of Women of the United States, the first Wilton Peace Prize of the Unitarian Universalist Church in 1986, the 1989 Peacemakers Award from the National Peace Institute Foundation, and several honorary degrees. In 1994 she received a special Peace Links Founders Award.

Special Collections holds other materials for the study of women s organizations. A comprehensive list, Manuscript Resources for Women s Studies, was compiled by Andrea E. Cantrell and published by the Libraries in 1989. Among those collections are records of Arkansas Peace Links, the Arkansas Federation of Women s Clubs, the Arkansas League of Women Voters, the DeWitt Mothers Club, the Morrilton Pathfinder Club, the University Infirmary Association, and the Washington County Extension Homemakers Council. In addition there are many collections pertaining to individual women s lives and achievements. The papers of Sara Murphy, for example, document her activities in Peace Links and her endeavors for social and educational reform.

Access to the Peace Links Papers is open to students, faculty, and others upon application to the Special Collections staff. A descriptive finding aid to the collection was completed in 1992, and is available on the Special Collections web site ( The collection is cataloged in the Libraries automated system, InfoLinks (Telnet: tn; login: infolink). Researchers may direct inquiries to Special Collections, but extensive projects may require a visit to the archives. To facilitate their work, researchers who wish to use the papers are advised to write or telephone the division in advance.

Special Collections
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University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701-1201

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