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The Rowe Family Papers

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P.S. If you take my boys, _shoot_me_

"P.S. If you take my boys, shoot me" - Mrs. V. J. Rowe

Most of the materials in this collection pertain to Mrs. V. Jennie Rowe, the widow of Dr. Z. V. VanZandt-Rowe, and the mother of four sons and one daughter. Mrs. Rowe, a socialist, was opposed to United States participation in World War I, to the draft, and to compulsory military training. According to Pittsburg city directories, Mrs. Rowe was employed as a masseuse at the Health House, located at 110 E. Adams in Pittsburg, Kansas.

Collection #22

Rowe Family Papers, 1912-1920

.3 linear feet


Personal papers and collected materials of the Rowe family of Pittsburg, Kansas. Relates primarily to World War I, the American Union Against Militarism, and conscientious objectors. Includes correspondence, clippings, circulars, and other printed materials. Additional pamphlets, leaflets, and other publications relating to World War I were removed from the Papers for cataloging. A list of the removed items is appended to this guide.


Donor unknown.


The Rowe Family Papers contain correspondence, speeches, newspaper clippings, other publications, and miscellaneous materials that document their activities as conscientious objectors during World War I. Many of the materials relate directly to the American Union Against Militarism. Only a few letters pertain to family news and activities. The collection is arranged into eight series:

The Correspondence Series is comprised of letters both to and from V. Jennie Rowe and her family from 1917-1920. Included are several undated letters and chain letters opposing the draft law intended to be sent to one's Congressman. The series also contains a letter to Mrs. Rowe from the American Legal Defense League in New York City that discusses censorship and restrictions in America. Two family letters describe the effects of the 1919 streetcar strikes and race riots in Chicago, Illinois. A letter from E.L. Burton, attorney in Parsons, Kansas, to Mrs. Rowe, advising her to obey the draft law until it is declared unconstitutional is contained in the series. Also in the series is a letter from Mrs. Rowe to the Provost Marshall, General Enoch Crowder, asking him to not send her four, adult sons to war and a letter from the American Union Against Militarism sent to all contributing members urging them to write to their Senator and Congressman in support of Senator Robert La Follette's Peace Terms Resolution.

The Speeches Series consists of reprints of speeches relating to World War I, the new amendment to the Selective Service Act providing for universal military training, and the draft. The series includes speeches by John Haynes Holmes, a Unitarian minister and social activist, who was prominent in the Unitarian movement throughout much of the first half of the 20th century; John Sharp Williams, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Mississippi; and U. S. Senator and founder of The Progressive, Robert M. La Follette. The series also contains a copy of a speech from "The Letters of Daniel Webster," reprinted by the American Union Against Militarism. Webster, an opponent of the War of 1812, originally delivered the speech to Congress on December 9, 1814.

The Clippings Series consists of undated newspaper clippings and clippings that date from 1915 to 1918. The clippings are primarily about the United States entrance into World War I. Also included is information about the Socialist Party, draft laws, President Woodrow Wilson's foreign policy and position on newspaper censorship, the preparedness program, militarism, contributions of women, and the Red Cross' care for soldier's families. The series also contains articles about Germany, Canada, Britain, and Russia. Newspapers represented in the series are, Pittsburg Daily Headlight, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Kansas City Star, The Melting Pot, The American Home Weekly, and the Appeal to Reason.

The Circular Series is comprised of circulars and wartime programs from the American Union Against Militarism. The circulars are dated from April 1917 to May 1917. Included is information about conscription, the Civil Liberties Bureau, and the maintenance in wartime of the rights of free press, free speech, peaceable assembly, liberty of conscience, and freedom from unlawful search and seizure.

The Bulletin Series consists of bulletins written by the American Union Against Militarism and the National Civil Liberties Bureau that date from 1917 and 1918. Included are bulletins about President Woodrow Wilson, the suppression of seventeen radical publications, constitutional rights in wartime, and a confidential bulletin on the cases of brutality and injustice against conscientious objectors.

The Forms Series consists of membership and other forms for the American Union Against Militarism, the Claim of Discharge from Selective Draft, the Free Religious Association, and a form to register as a conscientious objector to the war.

The Pamphlet Series is comprised of pamphlets distributed by the American Union Against Militarism and the National Civil Liberties Bureau. Included are pamphlets discussing the regulations affecting the conscientious objectors and the various proclamations and resolutions issued by England, Russia, Germany, and the United States concerning World War I.

The Miscellaneous Series contains handwritten notes, fragments of compositions on disarmament, an anti-war petition signed by Mrs. Rowe, and a poster advertising a meeting in opposition to the war with speaker Lawrenc A. Hartley.


Correspondence Series

f. 1 undated
f. 2 1917
f. 3 1919-1920

Speeches Series

f. 4 undated
f. 5 1917-1918

Clippings Series

f. 6 undated
f. 7 undated, 1914-1915
f. 8 1916
f. 9 January-June 1917
f. 10 July 1917
f. 11 August-November 1917

Circulars Series

f. 12 undated, 1916-1917

Bulletins Series

f. 13 March 1917-January 1918

Forms Series

f. 14 undated, 1917

Pamphlet Series

f. 15 undated, 1918

Miscellaneous Series

f. 16 undated, 1917
f. 17 1912


American Legal Defense League -f. 2
American Union Against Militarism -f. 2, 4, 12-15
Baldwin, Roger N. -f. 13
Benson, Allan L. (1871-1940) -f. 6
Bryan, William Jennings (1860-1925) -f. 6
Burton, E. L. -f. 2
Chicago, 1919 -f. 3
Chicago Streetcar Strike, 1919 -f. 3
Civil Liberties Bureau -f. 6, 13, 15
Conscientious objectors -f. 3, 6, 12, 13, 15
Crowder, Enoch H. -f. 2, 10, 11, 14, 16
Draft, 1917 -f. 1-6, 9-12, 14
Eastman, Crystal -f. 2, 13
Espionage Act, 1917 -f. 13
Free Religious Association of America -f. 4, 12, 14
Free Speech -f. 5, 6, 12, 13
Goldman, Emma (1869-1940) -f. 10
Hartley, Lawrenc A. -f. 16
Holmes, John Haynes (1879-1964) -f. 4
Industrial Workers of the World -f. 10, 11
La Follette Peace Terms Resolution, 1917 -f. 2
La Follette, Robert M. (1855- 1925) -f. 2, 5, 11
Morgan, John Pierpont (1837-1913) -f. 9
Pacifists -f. 13
Race riots, Chicago, 1919 -f. 3
Rawls, S. Edgar -f. 3
Rawls, Mertz -f. 3
Red Cross, Crawford County, Kansas -f. 7, 9, 10
Rowe, V. Jennie -f. 1-3, 7, 9, 16-18
Socialist Party, 1910s -f. 6, 7, 9, 10
Strikes, Chicago, 1919 -f. 3
Webster, Daniel (1782-1852) -f. 4
Weinberger, Harry -f. 2
Williams, John Sharp (1854-1932) -f. 5
Wilson, Woodrow (1856-1924) -f. 6, 7, 10, 13
Women, 1910s -f. 1, 2, 7, 9, 10
Women, World War, 1914-1919 -f. 1, 2, 8-10
World War, 1914-1919-Opposition to -f. 1, 2, 5-11

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Last Modified: Jan 09, 2007 - 16:15

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