Paul, Alice, 1885-1977

Alternative names
Birth 1885-01-11
Death 1977-07-09

Biographical notes:

Quaker, lawyer, and lifelong activist for women's rights, Alice Paul was educated at Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania, where her doctoral dissertation was on the legal status of women in Pennsylvania. She later earned law degrees from Washington College of Law and American University.

Paul also studied economics and sociology at the universities of London and Birmingham and worked at a number of British social settlements (1907-1910). While in England she was active in the Women's Social and Political Union and was arrested and jailed repeatedly as a participant in the campaign for women's rights led by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, Christabel and Sylvia.

Returning to the United States in 1910, Paul was appointed chair of the Congressional Committee of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1912. It campaigned for the passage of a federal amendment and for a time functioned concurrently with the new Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, founded by AP in April 1913. In June 1916, following a clash between advocates of a federal amendment and proponents of a state-by-state approach, Paul founded the National Woman's Party, its sole plank a resolution calling for immediate passage of the federal amendment guaranteeing the enfranchisement of women. After the ratification of the suffrage amendment in 1920, the NWP began a long battle to end all legal discrimination against women in the United States and to raise the legal, social, and economic status of women around the world. The Equal Rights Amendment, as written by Paul in 1923, was first introduced in Congress in December of that year.

On the international front, in the 1920s the NWP campaigned for women's rights in conjunction with the Six Point Group and the Open Door Council, and in 1928 helped to establish the Inter-American Commission of Women, an advisory unit of the Pan American Union (later the Organization of American States). Beginning in 1920, the NWP, through its membership in Equal Rights International and with the Women's Consultative Committee on Nationality of the League of Nations, worked to improve the legal status of women.

In 1938 Paul founded the World Woman's Party in Geneva, Switzerland. After the war, the WWP lobbied successfully for the inclusion of equality provisions in the United Nations charter, and worked in close consultation with the Commission on the Status of women and the Commission on Human Rights on numerous reports on the status of women, and on including equal rights provisions in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Paul died in Moorestown, N.J., on July 9, 1977.

From the description of Papers, 1785-1985 (inclusive), 1805-1985 (bulk). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 232007623


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  • Feminists--Interviews
  • Christian Scientists
  • Women--Suffrage--History--Sources
  • Women--Suffrage
  • Sex discrimination against women--Law and legislation
  • Women's rights
  • Feminism
  • Society of Friends
  • Suffragists--History--Sources
  • Women--Legal status, laws, etc
  • Women's rights--History--Sources
  • Women--Employment
  • World War, 1939-1945--Refugees
  • Equal rights amendments
  • minimum wage
  • Citizenship
  • Women (International law)
  • Women--Suffrage--United States
  • International law
  • Refugees
  • Women--Political activity


  • Social workers
  • Lawyers
  • Suffragists


  • Moorestown, NJ, US
  • Mount Laurel, NJ, US