Another Way of Living: the Start of Peace Studies in 1948
The world changed in 1948. Burma was founded. Gandhi was assassinated. Korea officially became North Korea and South Korea. Apartheid was established in South Africa. The World Health Organization was founded. The Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Newly independent Pakistan warred against India over the region of Kashmir. West Germany was created. Mao established the Northern China People’s Government. The United Nations granted Israel statehood.1
Amidst these world changes, Americans lived in the memory of the Second World War. In 1948, American consciousness was completely defined by World War II. WWII was a total war, no one escaped involvement. On the home front, women took up their husbands’ jobs, and strict rationing dictated consumption of products like fuel, rubber, sugar, meat, and shoes.2 This total war was also a devastating war. Overseas, the war caused hundreds of thousands of American deaths. And with the dropping of the atomic bombs, the world’s end “loomed as a threat.”3
The war also accelerated globalization. Suddenly events in one country mattered to people in other countries. People became invested and interested in other countries and international relations. The United Nations manifested this globalization. Academia followed these world changes: after the First World War, “many courses in International Relations were introduced in the colleges, and studies were made of international organization and international law.” 4 These interests and studies grew after the Second World War. After WWII, there were also changes in the field of history, as more people began to study a broader history of the world, including eastern cultures and history, instead of just western civilization.
In the era of “Pax Americana”,5 the United States’ international relations consisted of spreading American democracy through consumerism and control. The U.S. grew stronger during WWII through military enlargement, increased manufacturing and a lack of fighting and destruction at home. This new power served it well as it sought to influence the world. The United States extended the Western beliefs of individual freedom and capitalism to the rest of the world. This was in direct competition with the Soviet Union’s effort to extend its Communist influence, a competition which fueled the Cold War. The Soviet Union was declared an American enemy in 1946, and imperialism was the accepted mode of combat for the United States.6
Nineteen Forty-Eight: wars raged, governments were challenged, changed, and overthrown, six new countries were founded, world organizations were established to manage the emerging global community. The United States experienced (1) a major paradigm shift caused by World War II and the Cold War (evident in globalization and changes in academia) and (2) a push to propagate American democracy through economic and military control. It was this same year, during this profound moment in American and world history, that something else was starting at a small university in Indiana. It was a new way of thinking about war, international relations, and America’s role in them.
Manchester University is a small liberal arts university in North Manchester, Indiana, with about 1200 students. Founded in 1889, it is one of six colleges or universities affiliated with the Church of the Brethren. The Church of the Brethren, along with the Quakers and Mennonites, is one of the three historic peace churches. It is a non-creedal Anabaptist denomination rooted in peace, simple living, and community. The Church of the Brethren is accustomed to the road less travelled. It was founded by people who chose to do something different: five men and three women in Germany who were baptized as adults, against the state religion. The denomination led the way in the movement to ordain women. It started Brethren Volunteer Service in 1947, a program that served as a model for Peace Corps. And the Brethren are aware of their unconventional lives, evidenced by their self-prescribed tagline “Another Way of Living.”
Manchester University saw many changes during World War II. The enrollment dropped nearly 25 percent. An accelerated schedule was implemented so that young men could graduate early and join the military, intercollegiate sports were eliminated, and women outnumbered men on campus three to one.7 The war’s end brought back some normalcy to Manchester University, but more importantly, it brought hope. Allen C. Deeter, a Manchester student in the late 1940s, remembered an “optimism that human problems could be solved through the United Nations and economic/political cooperation was so strong.”8 A. Blair Helman, a Church of the Brethren pastor at the time, remembered talking about “the urgency of making the dream of One World a reality.”9 Out of the devastating, earthshaking events of World War II rose global consciousness, and hope for and determination to change.
Gladdys Esther Muir was born in McPherson, Kansas on March 5, 1895. She was the only child of Freeman I. Muir and Mary Amanda (“Mandy”) Moherman Muir.10 Her parents had a great influence on her life. Her father was an artist and a musician, and “her mother was a woman of deep religious insights.”11 Her mother loved and respected the church, but was not afraid to question. When Moherman lived in Ohio, she attended and taught Sunday school at the Dickey Church of the Brethren, but did not initially become a member because she was unwilling to wear a bonnet.12 Muir exemplified her mother’s independence and ambition in her learning and her teaching. She also took after her dad: she was a painter and pianist.13 Muir graduated from McPherson College, a Church of the Brethren college in Kansas, and did graduate work at several universities, including the Geneva School of International Studies in Switzerland.14 She was a professor of history at LaVerne College (now University of LaVerne) for 32 years.
Muir spent the summer of 1947 at Pendle Hill, a Quaker school in Pennsylvania. Pendle Hill was a living and learning community based in the Quaker faith. There were no grades or academic credit at the school; its focus was injustice and violence in the world. Pendle Hill was often seen as alternative or counter-cultural.15 Muir described the school as “an organic community and close-knit fellowship which shall be an ‘energizing center’ of spiritual power.”16 In later years, Muir would return the Pendle Hill to teach three summers and one full year.17
Her summer of learning in 1947 inspired Muir to write her famous paper entitled “The Place of the Brethren Colleges in Preparing Men and Women for Peace Leadership.” This paper called for Church of the Brethren colleges to be less science-oriented, less preoccupied with objectivity, and to teach values and morals. She wrote:
“...ethical concepts and attitudes lie at the roots of the success of all contractual relationships, and, since in western society contractual relationships form the basis of all our institutions...the neglect of the cultivation of these concepts has been fatal to the fabric of western civilization.” 18
To Muir, ethics were vital to the survival of our civilization. Most importantly, the paper proposed training in peace for Brethren college students.
Muir was no doubt inspired by her time a Pendle Hill, but other writings of the time have similar themes as her essay. One report that probably influenced her was a report from Harvard: “General Education in a Free Society.” The Harvard report – like Muir’s essay – urged educators to teach philosophical and religious values in order to provide meaning to knowledge. Muir admitted that this sort of study was off the beaten path, but encouraged Brethren colleges to take a leap of faith:
“Probably if Brethren educators would feel less hesitancy about departing from conventional patterns, often set up by the larger schools, and were willing to experiment along the lines which they feel would best meet the needs of our generation, they would find that they could trust their own religious intuitions and judgment more, and in the end the results achieved would merit approval, not criticism.”19
“The Place of the Brethren Colleges in Preparing Men and Women for Peace Leadership” was an important public statement for Muir. The essay interested Manchester University’s president Vernon F. Schwalm (1941-1956) very much. 20 Schwalm spent the next six months trying to convince Muir to make the move to Manchester University.
But Peace Studies had already started at Manchester. Gladdys Muir is credited with the founding of the program, but she did not teach the first Peace Studies class at Manchester. Dan West taught “Basis of Enduring Peace” in 1947.21 Dan West was a long-time promoter of peace education and a prominent leader in the Church of the Brethren. West is best known for his part in founding Heifer Project International. In 1947, he was in the middle of 21 years spent on denominational staff (filling several different positions).22 West’s course was discussion-based and focused on psychological, economic, and political factors related to peace.23The semester after the initial class, the same course was taught again and several faculty from different departments collaborated on teaching the course.24 Muir talked to West about his course when he visited Pendle Hill in the summer of 1947. She was glad to hear that peace education had already started to take root at a Brethren college and was interested to learn more.25
Correspondence between Gladdys Muir and Vernon Schwalm began during the summer of 1947, while Muir was at Pendle Hill, before Schwalm had read “The Place of the Brethren Colleges in Preparing Men and Women for Peace Leadership.” Muir actually contacted Schwalm first in early July to inquire about Dan West’s class and Manchester’s student war records (how many joined the military, how many joined Civilian Public Service, etc.) as she was contemplating “the problem of education for peace in the colleges of the Church of the Brethren.” 26 Muir raved about the “ideal” atmosphere and intellectual group at Pendle Hill. Schwalm responded quickly and offered her a position at Manchester University (one of the history professors had resigned).27 A few days later he wrote again, explaining Manchester’s plans for more peace courses, and an Institute of International Relations (denied in February of 1948 by the American Friends Service Committee), and persisting, “You had better come teach for us this year. We could use your advice and the inspiration of your summer’s experience in developing this course.”28
Schwalm wrote again (just two days later) regarding the position for Muir at Manchester. He was ready to discuss specifics: classes she would teach, salary, enrollment, and consent from LaVerne College (Schwalm did not want to “steal” Muir).29 When President Davis at LaVerne denied Schwalm’s request to offer Muir a position at Manchester, Schwalm offered Muir the opportunity to lead Manchester’s Peace Studies program the next school year (1948-1949). He made the case that her peace education efforts would be best used at Manchester where there would be “between 400 and 450 Brethren students.”30 Knowing that it would be at least a year before Muir came to Manchester, Schwalm ended his pursuit for the summer.
In early December of 1947, Vernon Schwalm became re-enamored with the idea of Gladdys Muir teaching at Manchester University. He read her essay “The Place of the Brethren Colleges in Preparing Men and Women for Peace Leadership,” and wanted her to implement her ideas at Manchester. Schwalm wanted Muir to direct a peace education program at Manchester. He was ready to have her come and do anything, he wrote, “You could plan your own program, largely, and teach only part time, do research, writing or what you will with the rest.” He offered her a higher salary than he did just four months ago. He was also willing to talk to LaVerne again.31
Gladdys Muir considered the offer for a month or so before deciding to take the position. Vernon Schwalm was thrilled and they discussed the details (courses, salary, housing) throughout early 1948. Muir was sent a letter on February 11, 1948 extending an official offer to join Manchester’s faculty as Head of the Department of Peace Studies.32 On March 25, 1948, the Oak Leaves, the Manchester University newspaper, ran an article about two new faculty members for the 1948-1949 school year. One was T. Wayne Rieman, who was employed as a pastor and religious counselor for students and to teach some religion classes. The other was Gladdys Muir. The hiring of Rieman and Muir at the same time is significant. It follows many ideas laid out in Muir’s essay including a call for campus pastors, a support of religious and moral training, and peace education by Brethren colleges. The article read, “Miss Muir comes to Manchester University especially to head up and promote the program of international studies....”33 In the wake of World War II, international studies and peace studies were always relatable and sometimes interchangeable.
The new concept of teaching and studying peace was confusing, even for those advocating peace education. After Muir had accepted the position to head the Department of Peace Studies at Manchester, she wrote President Schwalm for clarification on her job position:
“Is it your judgment that [my] work will be primarily for pacifists, or to produce pacifists, or is it your judgment that they will be courses that even veterans and others will be comfortable in, where you would examine the causes of war and the processes of peace making, regardless of those who enter and their points of view?”34
Schwalm answered her indirectly, saying that the Department of Peace Studies would not be an independent department, but an emphasis or section under the social sciences. Peace Studies was meant to be an integrated “functional major selected from the various social science departments.” Schwalm was glad to designate Peace Studies in any way Muir wanted. He also warned her, “Since it is a new thing, many [faculty] are not yet enthused.” As the program began (in the memory of World War II and the growth of the Cold War) “peace” was not a popular word. It symbolized a lack of patriotism, unwarranted sympathy for the enemy, and a lack of strength. The name “Peace Studies” was not always well-liked, others preferred “Global Studies” or “Conflict Management.”35 Muir faced confusion, skepticism, and opposition in her new field. Regardless, Schwalm was excited and confident that once things got started enthusiasm would build.36
In August of 1948, Gladdys Muir moved from southern California to northern Indiana – from LaVerne College to Manchester University – to found the world’s first Peace Studies program. Timing was everything. The spirit of the movement came directly out of the devastation of the Second World War, the globalized thinking created by the war, and the determination not to repeat the past. There was a spirit of hope that filled the Manchester University students of the late 1940s, hope that they could work for a better world.37
The very first Peace Studies majors were a small, but passionate group. They believed that real change and real peace were possible with dedication and determination. There were skeptics around them, but they were true believers. When the program started in 1948, most of the students who took the courses were too far into their college career to fulfill a Peace Studies major. However, in the spring of 1949, five underclassmen declared Peace Studies majors. The five young men were all involved on campus, including one who was the Student Body President. They were ambitious student leaders who decided to take an academic risk in a new field of study.38Regardless of the initial academic quality, size, or criticisms (including that the students were brainwashed into pacifism39) of the program, those first brave peace studies majors were believers.
The Peace Studies program that officially started in 1948 was an interdisciplinary program. The program was both ideological and practical. An announcement of the program stated the primary objective as “the building of men and women who have not only the requisite knowledge, but the insight and the characteristics of the peacemaker.” 40 Students took classes from many different departments – including social sciences, psychology, religion, and philosophy – as well as specific Peace Studies courses. An additional (and highly important) component to the program was an off-campus summer internship. The internship gave students practical, hands-on experience, and rewarding experiential learning.41Several of the early Peace Studies students went abroad for their internships. For example, Allen C. Deeter, a 1953 Peace Studies graduate, spent the summer of 1951 in Kassel, Germany rebuilding a school. Students went to Germany, Austria, Cyprus, the Middle East, Nigeria, and India; others found meaningful work in the United States. Unfortunately the internship was dropped in the mid-1960s due to lack of available short-term significant assignments and lack of administration to find those assignments.42
The program was grounded in spirituality and religion, and international studies; it was Christian-based and globally-oriented. The program had “a strong emphasis on intercultural understanding, historical and philosophical insights into man’s proneness to violence, and efforts to restrict intergroup and international conflict.”43 Gladdys Muir brought these emphases to the program. Ever since World War I, Muir held a great interest in world affairs. She started an International Relations Club at LaVerne College, and an International Studies Club at Manchester. Muir was a devoted member of the Church of the Brethren, but “sought spiritual guidance from other religions as well.”44 Her classes read religious poems, read excerpts from other holy books, and discussed concepts of other religions. Not everyone appreciated the plural religious influence, and because Muir brought speakers from other religions to campus, “there were rumors that some Brethren colleagues and puristist [sic] wanted to remove her membership in the Church.”45 Fortunately for Manchester University, this never materialized.
Gladdys Muir’s impact went beyond the classroom. She was a prolific letter writer and maintained a large network of friends and colleagues. Muir was constantly writing letters to people about the Peace Studies program. She wrote newsletters to former students and friends. Muir wrote her political representatives; she expressed her concern for issues like the bill for University Military Training. She wrote perspective guest speakers for her classes (even people she had only met for 15 minutes). She wrote recommendations for jobs and graduate schools for former students. Muir was well-connected to her students at Manchester and to dozens of friends around the world. She also networked through conferences, attending several each year. She attended Church of the Brethren conferences, historic peace church conferences, peace conferences, Fellowship of Reconciliation conferences, and more.46
The Peace Studies program under Gladdys Muir was people-centered; it was like a family. The small numbers of students to go through the program got to know each other very well and Muir grew to care about all of them. She showed an “intense personal interest in students,”47 she often had students over to her house for tea and kept up with students after they graduated. Most students went on to seminary, graduate, or professional school. Many graduates from the first few years of the program worked for the Church of the Brethren - as a church pastor, as a professor at a college or seminary, or as denominational staff.48 Muir sent out a bi-annual newsletter to over 100 people with updates about her travels, studies, and work, as well as, updates on former students.49 As students graduated and followed their vocations, “they seemed to be sustaining one another.” The Peace Studies program remained relatively small, in the first 22 years just 33 students graduated with a degree in Peace Studies.50 But Muir was never discouraged by small numbers, she may have even preferred it that way, writing, “I am convinced that our deliverance depends more on a small group of deeply concerned individuals...than upon a large group of superficially grounded individuals.”51
In 1950, the Peace Studies Program was solidified. Gladdys Muir and Manchester University had established a curriculum and were ready to share it with the world. Muir wrote dozens of letters at the beginning of 1950 explaining her program and including a copy of the curriculum. People congratulated her, criticized her, and asked to know more.52 Muir wrote world leaders, such as the Secretary-General of the United Nations and administrators at other colleges, including her alma mater, McPherson, and Blackburn College. Blackburn wrote back requesting 10 more copies of the Peace Studies curriculum53 One man, Harold Ehrensperger responded with, “I think it is pioneering in a very worthwhile field, and I am sure it ought to result in an intelligent approach to peace action.”54 Many other letters expressed the same sentiment. Muir also got a letter from Charles Corliss, a student at the University of Colorado. Charles wrote, “In the February, 1951, issue of F.O.R. [Fellowship magazine], I noticed an article stating that a student could major in Peace Studies leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree at your college. I am a senior at the University of Colorado and would appreciate your sending me information conserning [sic] this course of study culminating in the B.S. degree and also whether or not one may obtain an M.A. degree in this field.”55 One letter of concern came from Chalmer Faw of Bethany Biblical Seminary (the seminary of the Church of the Brethren). Faw was worried that this small group of trained peace leaders could break off from the larger group (the church or the student body). He was also anticipating possible “anti-Church or non-Church attitudes” of peace studies students. Faw wanted to make sure that the church was respected and well represented.56
Muir stayed at Manchester for 11 years, until her retirement. After retiring, she moved back to California, took care of her mother, and taught intermittently at La Verne College. Gladdys Muir died on September 11, 1967.57
In 1971, Manhattan College, a Catholic college in New York City, began a Peace Studies major, claiming to be the first in the nation. This misinformation appeared in a variety of news sources. The school was quickly informed that Manchester University had started a Peace Studies major more than 20 years earlier. Manhattan and Manchester later connected and shared information and insights.58
Nearing the 40th anniversary of Manchester University’s Peace Studies program, in 1986, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame was inaugurated. The Kroc Institute recognized the important work that Manchester did in pioneering the field, and expressed appreciation for Manchester’s leadership.59 The Peace Studies program at Manchester University remains “an unapologetic, values-oriented peace education program.”60 Today there are more than 300 Peace Studies programs around the world, many of them were influenced by or directly modeled after the Manchester University Peace Studies program.
Nineteen Forty-Eight was an incredible year in world history. The world was overwhelmed with conflict, change, and memories of World War II. In 1948, Manchester University started something different. Founded in the tradition of the Church of the Brethren, Peace Studies suggested an alternative to American military and economic dominance, to violence, and to war. In 1948 when the Church of the Brethren, Manchester University, Gladdys Muir, and a handful of inspired students began the first Peace Studies program, they offered the world another way of living.
1 “1948 Selected Events,” accessed December 7, 2010, http://www-cdr.stanford.edu/~petrie/1948.html.
2 “World War II Rationing on the U.S. Homefront,” accessed December 10, 2010, http:// www.ameshistoricalsociety.org/exhibits/events/rationing.htm.
3 Melanie A. May, “Reflections on Reading Gladdys E. Muir’s ‘The Place of the Brethren Colleges in Preparing Men and Women for Peace Leadership,’” Manchester University Bulletin of the Peace Studies Institute, 1989, 36-37.
4 Gladdys Muir, “Education for Peace at the College Level,” Manchester University Archives and Brethren Historical Center.
5 Pax-Americana (Latin for “American Peace”) refers to the peace established after WWII by the United States’ economic and military power.
6 “History of U.S. Foreign Policy Since WWII,” last modified November 27, 2004, http://en.internationalism.org/ir/ 113_us_policy.html.
7 Timothy K. Jones, A Century of Faith, Learning, and Service: Manchester University 1889-1989, (Manchester, Indiana: Manchester University, 1989), 113-114.
8 Allen C. Deeter, “Reviving the Vision of God’s Peaceable Kingdom: Response to Dr. Muir’s Paper,” Manchester University Bulletin of the Peace Studies Institute, 1989, 27.
9 A. Blair Helman, “Comments on Dr. Muir’s Paper,” Manchester University Bulletin of the Peace Studies Institute, 1989, 24-26.
10 Donald F. Durnbaugh, The Brethren Encyclopedia, (The Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc., 1983), 893.
11 Harry A. Brandt, “Meet Gladdys Muir – Portrait of a Beloved Teacher,” Messenger, March 3, 1966, 9-11.
12 Herbert W. Hogan, “Gladdys Esther Muir: Teacher, Mystic, Peacemaker,” Manchester College Bulletin of the Peace Studies Institute, 1989, 5.
13 Dale Bernard, letter to Ferne Baldwin, September 26, 1994.
14 Durnbaugh, The Brethren Encyclopedia, 893.
15 “Pendle Hill Beginnings,” accessed November 30, 2010, http://www.pendlehill.org/vision-mission-and-history/ 90-pendle-hill-beginnings?showall=1.
16 Gladdys E. Muir, “The Place of the Brethren Colleges in Preparing Men and Women for Peace Leadership,” 1947, found in Manchester College Bulletin of the Peace Studies Institute, 1989, 17.
17 News Release, Manchester University News Service, February 18, 1956, Manchester University Archives and Brethren Historical Center.
18 Muir, “The Place of the Brethren Colleges in Preparing Men and Women for Peace Leadership.”
19Muir, “The Place of the Brethren Colleges in Preparing Men and Women for Peace Leadership.”
20Helman, “Comments on Dr. Muir’s Paper,” 24-26.
21Jones, A Century of Faith, Learning, and Service, 124.
22 Durnbaugh, The Brethren Encyclopedia, 1330-1331.
23Muir, “The Place of The Brethren Colleges in Preparing Men and Women for Peace Leadership.”
24Vernon Schwalm, letter to Gladdys Muir, July 12, 1947.
25Gladdys Muir, letter to Vernon Schwalm, July 7, 1947.
26 Gladdys Muir, letter to Vernon Schwalm, July 7, 1947.
27Vernon Schwalm, letter to Gladdys Muir, July 9, 1947.
28 Vernon Schwalm, letter to Gladdys Muir, July 12, 1947.
29 Vernon Schwalm, letter to Gladdys Muir, July 14, 1947.
30Vernon Schwalm, letter to Gladdys Muir, July 26, 1947.
31Vernon Schwalm, letter to Gladdys Muir, December 8, 1947.
32Vernon Schwalm, letter to Gladdys Muir, February 11, 1948.
33 “E. Muir Will Teach at MU,” Oak Leaves, March 25, 1948.
34Gladdys Muir, letter to Vernon Schwalm, March 13, 1948.
35Ken Brown and Steve Naragon, “Introduction: Peace Studies at 50,” Manchester University Bulletin for the Peace Studies Institute, 1998, 1-4.
36Vernon Schwalm, letter to Gladdys Muir, May 15, 1948.
37Deeter, “Reviving the Vision of God’s Peaceable Kingdom,” 27.
38Muir, “A Report On the Progress Of The Manchester Program of Peace Studies September 1948-1950.”
39Deeter, “Reviving the Vision of God’s Peaceable Kingdom,” 28.
40Bollinger, Manchester University: The first 75 years, 177-178.
41Jones, A Century of Faith, Learning, and Service, 125.
42Allen C. Deeter, “Pioneering in Peace Education in the Church College” Manchester College Bulletin for the Peace Studies Institute, 1977, 29-30.
43Allen C. Deeter, “Survey of Peace Studies Students 1948-1970” Manchester University Bulletin of the Peace Studies Institute, January 1971, 30-32.
44Hogan, “Gladdys Esther Muir: Teacher, Mystic, Peacemaker,” 5-8.
45Dale Bardard, letter to Ferne Baldwin (Manchester University archivist), September 26, 1994.
46Letters, Misc. Correspondence #2, #3, #4, Large Box 89, Manchester University Archives and Brethren Historical Society.
47Donald F. Durnbaugh, “Gladdys Muir as Educator,” Manchester University Bulletin of the Peace Studies Institute, 1989, 34-35.
48 Deeter, “Pioneering in Peace Education in the Church College,” 31.
49Brandt, “Meet Gladdys Muir - Portrait of a beloved teacher.”
50Terry Pettit, “Peace Studies: Is the Crux Reconciliation or Social Change?” Messenger, March 15, 1971, 4-6.
51Jones, A Century of Faith, Learning, and Service, 125.
52 Misc. Correspondence #1, #2, Large Box 89, Manchester University Archives and Brethren Historical Collection.
53 Letters, January 31, 1950, Misc. Correspondence, Large Box 89, Manchester University Archives and Brethren Historical Society.
54Harold Ehrensperger, letter to Gladdys Muir, January 24, 1950.
55 Charles E. Corliss, letter to Gladdys Muir, April 7, 1951.
56 Chalmer E. Faw, letter to Gladdys Muir, February 2, 1951.
57 “In Brief,” Messenger, October 12, 1967.
58 Allen C. Deeter, “The Growth of Peace Studies Programs,” Manchester University Bulletin for the Peace Studies Institute, January 1972.
59 John J. Gilligan, letter to William Robinson and Ken Brown, February 17, 1989, found in Manchester University Bulletin for the Peace Studies Institute, 1989.
60 Timothy A. McElwee, “Dedication To Dr. Gladdys E. Muir Founder Of The World’s First Peace Studies Program” Bulletin of the Manchester University Peace Studies Institute, 2008, 1.