Fannie Fern Phillips Andrews

Fannie Fern Phillips Andrews (1867-1950) was an educator who fought endlessly for the promotion of peace studies through an international bureau of education.

Fannie Fern Phillips Andrews was an educator who campaigned tirelessly for an international bureau of education to promote peace studies. Born in Lynn, Massachusetts, she was the daughter of a shoemaker father and a mother who was president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Deciding at age three that she wanted to be a teacher, Andrews later attended Salem Normal School in Massachusetts and then taught for six years before receiving her degree in psychology and education from Radcliffe College in 1902. Her work in the public schools of Boston convinced her that students from different ethnic and economic backgrounds had to be taught to communicate and negotiate with each other. Her core belief that men who make war are spurred to conflict by their inability to understand one another's perspectives fueled her interest in "teaching peace".


The American Peace League

In 1908 she founded the American Peace League, an organization which sought to promote peace by teaching the principles of "international justice" in American schools. She extended her influence by organizing the Boston School-Parent group and serving as president of the Boston Home and School Association from 1914-1918. Andrews campaigned nationally for her ideals, and by 1915 League branches had been established in forty states. She envisioned an international bureau of education which would promote understanding among nations. But the era just before the United States entered the World War was an inauspicious time to promote peace. Andrews, who eventually supported American involvement in the war, changed the name of the American Peace League to the American School Citizenship League in 1918, believing that the old title was too provocative during wartime.


International Attention

Andrews and the League received serious consideration from the highest branches of government for her plan to create an international bureau of education. She was engaged in the final planning stages of a multi-national conference to consider the logistics of such an institution when World War I erupted. She had already caught the attention of President Woodrow Wilson, however, and in 1918 he picked Andrews to attend the Paris Peace Conference. There she lobbied for the emerging League of Nations to include in its covenant a provision for her dream of an international bureau of education, but she was unsuccessful. During the war she received a post-graduate degree in international affairs, never losing sight of her goal of an international school curriculum which would promote justice and understanding. Andrews maintained her dedication to promoting peace studies until her death, serving in the International Law Association, the World Peace Foundation, and the International Guild.


Further Reading on Fannie Fern Phillips Andrews

J. McKeen Cattell, ed., Leaders in Education: A Biographical Directory (New York: The Science Press, 1932).

Alden Whitman, ed., American Reformers (New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1985), pp. l22-123.