Biography of Lillian and George Willoughby

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A Quaker farm woman and young man raised in the Panama Canal zone joined forces at the University of Iowa in 1939 and set out to make the world more peaceful. Lillian and George Willoughby resettled European refugees in the late 1930s, relocated interned Japanese-Americans when World War II broke out, and served as conscientious objectors during the war. They protested nuclear weapons in the 1950s. They promoted integration of the races, preservation of open spaces, and new ways of communal living. They opposed the Vietnam War and participated in peace walks, one of which reached Moscow. Despite the normal stresses on marital and family life, they worked increasingly as a tem, developing nonviolence training workshops, based on Gandhian principles, which they took to India and other countries in Asia. In the new millennium, they have continued their ministries, and engaged in the new social issues: nonviolent peacekeeping in Central America and Sri Lanka, protection of open spaces, and opposition to the violence of the War on Drugs as well as the real war on Iraq. They participated fully in this, their authorized biography, during a time when Lillian, at 88, faced jail for her antiwar activities. This book contains 11 color photographs and 11 black and white photographs.


“The challenges of life focused by world crisis, Spirit-grounding, and ‘in the world but not of it,’ require men and women of large vision – though not necessarily without flaws and limitations, and this biography of the Willoughbys shows them to have ample measure of all these qualities. Buffered by their faith, disciplined to resist the temptations of greed and violence, the Willoughbys set their lives at the intersection between war and peace, between what George Fox had labeled Darkness and Light. In their biography we meet many others whose vision of an international community grounded in peace, and in mindfulness of the world we inhabit, fed, and we fed by, the Willoughbys’ vision.” – Dr. Emma Jones Lapsansky-Werner, Professor of History and Curator of the Quaker Collection, Haverford College

“There are two equally good reasons for reading Gregory Barnes’s joint biography of George and Lillian Willoughby. First, it is a wonderfully readable, sometimes absorbing account. Here is the story of a couple that met and married in Iowa in 1940 and became constantly involved in peace and social justice actions from then through 2004 ... The second good reason for reading this book is its relevance to the peace and social action movement of the past half century, in America and Southeast Asia, and in the Society of Friends, notably of Philadelphia ... There is nothing abstract or institutional about the relevance of this book. It is about how two committed, nay, morally-driven persons threaded their ways together through innumerable competing opportunities to make a difference in their world.” – Dr. Charles Chatfield, H. Orth Hirt Professor of History Emeritus, Wittenburg University

"Well-written biographies such as this one are far more than just history. It also gives us insights into how the Willoughbes worked together and worked apart on the broad and varied issues of peace and justice. George and Lillian have firmly agreed on the goals of the peace movement; however, they are very dif ferent people and therefore worked different ly. Their biography reveals a number of insights into how they worked through their differences over the years." - Irving and Jennifer Hollingshead, Friends Journal

"George and Lillian Willoughby were as dedicated to their overarching cause, world peace, as any humans could possibly be. They gave up any wealth or comfort or personal security they might have had and put themselves on the line for what they believed in, campaigning tirelessly, and going to jail when necessary. Gregory Barnes has provided the Willoughbys with a fitting tribute, a book that combines careful thorough scholarship with page-turning readability. Anyone thinking right thoughts by sitting on the sidelines will be challenged by the example these two world patriots have given us." - Prof. Timothy Miller, University of Kansas

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: A Family Council
1 Way Opening
2 Following Their Leadings
3 In All Countries, Islands, Places, Nations
4 Making a Witness
5 Pendle Hill and Protests
6 Refocusing
7 The Gandhian Call
8 Balancing Relationships
9 “Change – Ever Change”
10 Movement & Inertia
11 Of Laying Down and Pushing On
12 “So Much Has Happened”
13 Looks Forward and Backward
14 To Study War No More
Appendix 1: The Willoughbys on Words
Appendix 2: Glossary of Acronyms

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