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Emily Greene Balch, A.B. 1889

Emily Greene Balch (1867-1961), peace advocate, social reformer, and economist, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946. She received her A.B. in Greek and Latin in 1889, and was the first recipient of Bryn Mawr's European Fellowship.

With practical experience in settlement house work and the academic background of research on public assistance in France, Emily Balch taught economics at Wellesley, and was an early supporter of strikers and an outspoken critic of racial discrimination and class exploitation. Her major work, Our Slavic Fellow Citizens, countered the nativist assumptions of her society. At the time of WWI, she became active in international pacifist affairs and was linked, in newspaper accounts, with the socialist-Bolshevist wing of pacifist activities.

In 1919, the Wellesley Trustees voted not to renew her appointment. She continued in peace work and was involved with the founding of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. A tireless writer, traveler, and organizer, she "had a talent for making diverse individuals and groups cooperate in the cause of peace. " However, because of her concern about Hitler's domination of Europe and the treatment of the Jews, she chose "the lesser of two evils" after Pearl Harbour and supported the war effort. She did not resign from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and her Nobel Prize recognized that organization's contribution as well as her individual leadership

From Bryn Mawr Alumnae Bulletin (Winter 1981), in turn adapted from Barbara Sicherman and Carol Hurd Green (edd.), Notable American Women: The Modern Period (Cambridge, Mass.:Harvard Univ. Press, 1980)