Jessie Wallace Hughan

The Early Years: The Feminist Leadership of WRL

War Resisters League - 100 Years of Nonviolent Resistence

In founding and then leading WRL for nearly 20 years, Jessie Wallace Hughan was supported by an impressive group of women, many having previously headed other women’s pacifist, suffragist, anti-conscription, and socialist organizations. Unusually independent for their time, most had graduated from prestigious universities, supported themselves with careers, and were engaged in romantic relationships with like-minded women.

Jessie Wallace Hughan and the Founding of WRL

Up until the first world war, peace and antiwar groups tended to be either religious (such as, AFSC and FOR) or women-only (Women’s Peace Society, Women’s Peace Union, Woman’s Peace Party, WILPF). Hughan sought to change that with the 1915 founding of the Anti-Enlistment League and its pledge to be “against enlistment” for war and against giving “approval to such enlistment upon the part of others.”

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