New Collection: Friendship Force of Dayton Records

By Jesse Damsteegt, Wright State University Public History graduate student and collection processor

Jeanne Comer receiving Rosalynn Carter’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000, presented personally by Carter (MS-645, Box 5, File 31)

Jeanne Comer receiving Rosalynn Carter’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000, presented personally by Carter (MS-645, Box 5, File 31)

We are pleased to announce that the Friendship Force of Dayton Records (MS-645) is now open for research.

The collection was created by the Friendship Force of Dayton, and it documents the organization’s international peace efforts via inbound and outbound travels and personal friendships around the world. It especially emphasizes Jeanne Comer’s central role in developing and leading the organization until her passing in 2012. Reaching its 40th anniversary this year, the Friendship Force of Dayton is still active.

The collection contains five series: Administrative Files, Country/Exchange Files, Event/Special Project Files, Jeanne Comer Files, and Graphic Materials. Of particular interest are the travel planning efforts in the Country/Exchange files, which are organized alphabetically by country. If the Friendship Force interacted with the same country more than once, they are then organized chronologically.

The Friendship Force of Dayton Records best exemplifies how Dayton has pursued and still does pursue peace around the world.

The Friendship Force of Dayton, founded in 1979 by Jeanne Comer, is a subgroup of the Friendship Force International, a non-religious and non-profit group dedicated to nurturing international friendships. They do this by planning both outbound trips with Ambassadors, or representatives, from Dayton as well as inbound trips with Ambassadors from other countries.

1979 letter response from Wayne Smith to Jeanne Comer after she expressed an interest in developing a branch of the Friendship Force International in Dayton (MS-645, Box 1, File 2)

1979 letter response from Wayne Smith to Jeanne Comer after she expressed an interest in developing a branch of the Friendship Force International in Dayton (MS-645, Box 1, File 2)

The Friendship Force of Dayton Records (3.18 linear feet and 263.5 MB) consist of trip planning documentation, newspaper/media articles, photographs, administrative files, and files pertaining directly to founder Jeanne Comer. The collection would be of particular interest to those researching international peace efforts.

This collection was processed in Spring 2019 by Jesse Damsteegt. For more information about this collection, including a detailed box and file listing, please review the MS-645: Friendship Force of Dayton Records finding aid.

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