Betty Peterson fonds

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Betty Peterson fonds

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  • 1976-2013, predominantly 1980-2013 (Creation)
    Peterson, Betty

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Physical description

7.85 m of textual records. – 60 photographs: b&w, col.; 20 x 26 cm or smaller.

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Biographical history

Betty Peterson was born in the United States in 1917. As social activists, pacifists and Quakers, she and her late husband, Gunnar Peterson, were conscientious objectors during World War II. They also participated in the civil rights movement in Chicago for 23 years and in Vietnam War protests before leaving the United States to settle in Halifax in 1975. In Nova Scotia Peterson continued her advocacy for the peace movement, especially with the Voice of Women for Peace and Halifax Society of Friends (Quakers), and also supported causes concerning the environment, feminism, education, nuclear disarmament, and aboriginal rights. She participated in several out-of-province crusades, which were supported in part by Canadian Society of Friends and chronicled in national media reports, including a 1988 trek to Little Buffalo, Alberta, to support the Lubicon Cree Nation's land-claim fight and a 1987 trip to Goose Bay, Labrador to stand with the Innu protesting low flying military planes. Among her many activities in Halifax were participating in ecumenical movements for social justice (with Kairos), protesting the 1991 Gulf War, promoting an alternative People's Summit (P7) during the 1995 G-7 meeting held in Halifax, NS, and joining a 1996 sit-in at a Gottingen Street Canada Employment Centre being closed. In the early 2000s she participated in public vigils protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has been a member of the Raging Grannies, a greying band of activists who use street theatre to promote peace and women's rights. In most of these organizations Peterson had a major role such as organizing, planning, and keeping detailed records of activities, names, strategies and results. She died on February 24, 2018 at the age of 100, in Halifax, NS.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of records documenting Betty Peterson's activities and interests in peace and social justice issues in Nova Scotia and internationally. The records are organized into three groups, the first consisting of files documenting her activities from 1980-1993, the second her activities from 1994-2004, and the third her activities from 2004-2013, with some overlapping of dates. Records are arranged by subject, by either the name of an organization (e.g. Voice of Women for Peace), or a cause (e.g. aboriginal rights). Fonds includes a large amount of published research and resource material on a given issue (e.g. newspaper clippings, periodicals, and newsletters), but also contains Peterson's notes and diaries with comments and recollections, as well as correspondence (incoming and outgoing), memoranda, speeches, minutes of meetings, briefs, reports, biographical documents and photographs.

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Donated to Nova Scotia Archives by Betty Peterson in 1993, 1999, 2004, 2010 and 2013.


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Copyright for materials still under copyright is held by Nova Scotia Archives.

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Associated materials

See also the Women's International Peace Conference fonds (MG 20 vols. 1750-1757), Muriel Duckworth fonds (MG 1 vols. 2900-2949), and the Nova Scotia Women's Oral History Project fonds (Sound 1994-004, 1995-009) at Nova Scotia Archives.

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Women of Nova Scotia

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