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Alice Shaffer Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: FMS-88

Scope and Contents

The Alice Shaffer papers document the life and work of a Quaker social worker and humanitarian who was one of Earlham College's most distinguished alumni. They include correspondence, notebooks, photographs, and reports from her work in the United States, Europe, and Latin America.


  • 1918-1996
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1999

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access, except the archivist must be consulted before viewing the government ID's in Box 12.

Conditions Governing Use

Some materials may be protected by copyright. Permission to reproduce and to publish for commercial purposes must be requested from the Archivist.

Biographical or Historical Information

Alice C. Shaffer was born in Chicago, August 8, 1905, and spent her childhood in Vermilion Grove, Illinois, where she was a member of the Friends meeting and graduated from Vermilion Grove Academy, a Quaker school, in 1924. She then entered Earlham College, where she graduated with honors in 1928. In 1932 she entered the Graduate School of Social Science Administration at the University of Chicago, from which she received her M.S. degree in 1935. Her thesis, "The History and Administration of the Indiana Poor Law," was published by the University of Chicago Press in 1936. After graduating from Earlham, Shaffer worked as a home economist for the Charity Organization Society in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1931 she joined the staff of the Hamilton County Welfare Department in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she remained until 1935, when she became a field work supervisor at the University of Chicago, where she served until 1943. Shaffer's international work began in June 1939, when she went to Berlin as a volunteer staff person for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), working with child refugees. At one point, she came face to face with Hitler in a Berlin hospital. In 1942, she received another leave to serve as a consultant to the government of Paraguay to develop child wlefare services, acting in a similar capacity in Cuba in 1944. In November 1944 she was appointed chief of the Social Branch, Division of International Labor, of the U.S. Department of State. She left this position to serve from September 1947 to June 1948 as a volunteer for the AFSC in Berlin. In July 1949, Shaffer became head of the UNICEF Area office for Central America, which at that time also included the Caribbean. In 1958 she traveled in Europe, Africa, and Asia as a UNICEF consultant, charged with formulating recommendations for the strengthening of family life and services for children. From 1966 until her retirement in 1969 she was UNICEF Representative for Brazil. After her retirement, Shaffer settled in Richmond, Indiana, where she was an active member of West Richmond Friends Meeting. In 1961 she received an honorary doctorate from Earlham College, and in 1972 a distinguished alumnus certificate from the University of Chicago. In 1994, Earlham presented her with its distinguished alumni award. In 1995 she moved to Martinsville, Indiana, where she died July 19, 1997. She is buried in Earlham Cemetery.

Note written by


22 Boxes

Language of Materials