This collection includes twelve interviews detailing the formation and peace activism of the Missoula Women for Peace group in Missoula, Montana. The interviews were conducted in 2000 by Dawn Walsh. The interviewees discuss how growing up during World War Two and experiencing the Vietnam War prompted them to form or join Missoula Women for Peace. They describe the group’s activities between 1970 and 2000, detail their personal philosophies on war and peace, and offer their opinions on how to achieve lasting world peace. The original interviews are held as Oral History collection OH 389 at Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula.
This collection includes 12 interviews.
Alexandrine Sandra Perrin
Alexandrine "Sandra" Perrin begins by talking about her childhood and education in France, and the political turmoil there during that time. She describes her move to the United States, and her and her husband’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago and San Diego. Perrin discusses moving to Missoula, Montana in 1972 and becoming involved in Missoula Women for Peace through friends. She talks about Vietnam, the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., and her opinions on war in general. Perrin concludes by detailing the current activities of MWP.
Alice Campbell describes growing up in Missoula, Montana, and the experiences that shaped her views on war and peace. She discusses Jeannette Rankin, her Missoula Women for Peace-initiated statue in Washington D.C, and the origins and early actions of MWP. She considers the possibility of world peace and the importance of education. Campbell also explains the origins of the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center.
Claudia Brown describes how growing up in Butte, Montana, and experiencing the Vietnam War, prompted her involvement in the peace movement. She discusses Missoula Women for Peace, the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, the League of Women Voters, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Brown mentions Missoula, Montana residents and activists, Rae Horan and Connie Skousen and how they influenced her as an activist. She discusses what peace means to her and how she thinks it can be achieved in modern society. Brown explains her work with Missoula Women for Peace and its organized activities, emphasizing the stereotype-defying characters of fellow activists.
Florence Chessin briefly discusses growing up in Columbus, Ohio, attending high school during World War Two, and getting married shortly after the war ended. She describes living in Missoula, Montana, as a young mother and helping found the Missoula Peace Group in 1963 in response to the escalation of the Vietnam War and increased military recruitment in area schools. She talks about Missoula Women for Peace, its formation in 1970, the primary goals of the group, and the activities it planned including fundraisers, potlucks, and lectures. Chessin concludes by reflecting on her own children’s level of involvement with the peace movement and on the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center.
Jacquelyn Elaine McGiffert
Jacquelyn "Jackie" McGiffert describes her childhood in Pennsylvania, her father and his experience during World War One, her own experience working in a war plant during World War Two in between semesters of college, and her attitudes toward war. She discusses her decision to move to Missoula, Montana, in order to be a journalist and how she met her husband. She also talks about the beginnings of her peace activism which prompted her subsequent involvement with Missoula Women for Peace group, and her disagreement with Jeannette Rankin over whether or not the United States’ involvement in World War Two was justified.
Jean Pfeiffer discusses growing up in British Columbia, Canada, with her socialist mother and conservative bank manager father. She talks about attending the University of British Columbia, getting married, and moving to Missoula, Montana. Pfeiffer describes her involvement with the Missoula Peace Group in 1963 and the beginnings of Missoula Women for Peace in 1970. Pfeiffer finishes by discussing her opinions about the cause of war.
Lois Hove describes how the events of World War Two, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Iran-Contra affair affected her life and her decision to become involved in the peace movement. She recalls traveling with a Lutheran church group to Mexico and Central America during the Iran-contra affair. Hove discusses her involvement with Missoula Women for Peace and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
Mary Taylor describes growing up in Canada with her twin brother and pacifist father, attending church, and sending care packages to German families who were being bombed during World War Two. She discusses moving to Missoula, Montana, writing letters to Senator Mike Mansfield, and joining the Missoula Peace Group. Taylor talks about her experience at the Hiroshima exhibit, the League of Women Voters, and her work as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer. She concludes by offering her thoughts on the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, poverty, and family as well as defining her personal peace philosophy.
May MacDonald describes the events that prompted her to join the Missoula Peace Group in 1963, the first of its kind formed in the state of Montana. She then discusses the formation of the Missoula Women for Peace in 1970 and its first year of operation. MacDonald also talks about some of the group’s activities in which she was involved. She mentions her admiration for Jeannette Rankin, and offers her opinions on the importance of peace activism.
Florence Chessin, Alice Campbell, May MacDonald, Valerie Clubb, Mary Taylor, Sandra Perrin, Lois Hove, Jean Pfeiffer, and Jackie McGiffert
Missoula Women for Peace members each describe how they became involved in the organization.
Nancy Erickson describes her childhood, her time living in Germany, and her move to Missoula. She talks about her involvement and her husband’s involvement in the University of Montana-Missoula at the beginning of the Vietnam War as well as their involvement in the peace group Professors against the War. Erickson describes her feelings on the interrelatedness of the feminist, environmental, and peace movement. She talks about her artwork and her involvement in Missoula Women for Peace, what MWP means to her, and vegetarianism.
Valerie Clubb describes her family and her childhood, and she recalls moving from one place to another when she was growing up. She discusses her father, who was involved in the oil industry and just narrowly missed the drafts for both World Wars One and Two. She talks about moving to Missoula, Montana, as an adult, and explains how the possibility of her sons being drafted for the Vietnam War prompted her involvement in the peace movement. Clubb describes her experience in Burma, her philosophy on war and peace, and her participation in Missoula Women for Peace. She offers her thoughts on a third world war, peace groups in general, and the prospect of living in a peaceful world.