Sixty-five years ago, in 1946, Jamaica Plain’s Emily Greene Balch won the Nobel Peace Prize for her visionary work with Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. January 8th marks her 144th birthday and the first public event celebrating the publication of Kristen E. Gwinn’s new book about Balch’s life.
Balch was a renowned writer, social reformer, economist, and academic who was a J.P. native and member of First Church UU in J.P. A professor of economics and sociology at Wellesley College, Balch’s academic career abruptly ended when Wellesley refused to renew her contract following her opposition to the First World War. She dedicated the remainder of her life to the international peace movement.
Our speaker, Kristen E. Gwinn, is author of the new biography, Emily Greene Balch: The Long Road to Internationalism (University of Illinois Press). Gwinn’s book illuminates Balch’s ideas on negotiated peace, internationalism, and global citizenship, while providing pointed insight into the multifaceted career, philosophy, and temperament of this incredible woman.
The location, First Church, became the church of the Balch family when Emily's grandparents moved to Jamaica Plain in the 1820's, and for four generations and over a hundred years, Balches were leading members of the church and the neighborhood. Emily credits the Rev. Charles Fletcher Dole who came to the church when she was ten years old as a key inspiration in her work for peace and social justice. Commemorations to the Balchs and Rev. Dole will be on display at the church.
Co-sponsored by Jamaica Plain Forum of First Church in Jamaica Plain, Unitarian Universalist, the Jamaica Plain Historical Society, and the U.S. Section and the Boston Branch of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.