Rosa Manus

In May 2003, archival materials that had been stolen from the IAV’s Keizersgracht in July 1940, were returned. The stolen material included the personal archive of Rosa Manus (1881-1943), one of the founders of the IAV in 1935 and a very active and internationally-oriented feminist and pacifist. (IAV is still the collection name within Atria.)

Russsiche archief dozen in ons archief
Rosa Manus achter bureauRosa Manus led an activist's life. Just one of her many projects is illustrated in this historical material with a number of wonderful and interesting items found in her archives. The documents deal with Rosa Manus’ work as secretary of the Peace and Disarmament Committee of the Women’s International Organisations, also known as the Dingman Committee (after chairwoman Mary Dingman).
total amount of subscibers to the petition

On 5 September 1931:

This committee was organized in preparation for the major disarmament conference that was to be held in Geneva in February 1932. Initially, there were 13 organizations involved but later on 15 organizations took part in the actionRosa Manus in action.

One of Rosa Manus’ tasks was to prepare a petition articulating ‘women’s desire for peace’ which was to be presented as a declaration of women’s support to the disarmament conference.

Thanks to Rosa Manus’s extraordinary organizational talents and energy, more than nine million signatures from 59 countries were collected on the petition. Her archive contains tallies of signatures by country, correspondence with the committees from different countries, photographs documenting the transportation and official presentation of the mountains of signatures on 6 February 1932, and extensive reports about the event.Rosa Manus in action 2

Fifteen large-format pages with the tallies of the signatures by country. This is where Rosa kept track of the signatures as they came in. She wrote about it in a letter to Carrie Chapman Catt:
‘Of course, it is very exciting to receive the packages, and even if only few countries managed to collect a small number of signatures, I am satisfied. … I hope that we will gather 10 million signatures!’
(Lieve Dr. Jacobs, p. 234-237) She missed that last goal by a narrow margin. In the end, the signatures numbered 9,414,517. That figure is visible on the last typed sheet of the total overview. Rosa Manus in action 3

5 February 1932:

The signed petitions were driven through Geneva in two lorries decorated with a globe, posters and banners..Rosa Manus Petirion

Geneva, 6 February 1932:

Women march through the Jardin des Bastions on their way to the Bâtiment Electoral to present the signatures to the disarmament conference

Geneva, 6 February 1932:

Arriving at the steps of the building where the conference was being held, the women were handed the parcels with signatures to carry inside. The signatures were bound in small packages with green ribbons and labels – the colour of hope. The labels bore the names of the countries where the signatures came from.

Geneva, 6 February 1932:

This photograph shows clearly the enormous mountain of paper required for more than 9 million signatures.

Geneva, 6 February 1932:

The beautifully carved wooden chest in the foreground contained the signatures from former Czechoslovakia.

© 2013 Atria Address Atria: Vijzelstraat 20, 1017 HK Amsterdam, + 31 20 - 6650820, [email protected]