Tracy Dickinson Mygatt

Tracy Dickinson Mygatt (March 12, 1885 – November 22, 1973) was an American writer and pacifist, co-founder with Frances M. Witherspoon of the War Resisters League, and longtime officer of the Campaign for World Government.

Tracy Dickinson Mygatt
A white woman wearing a beret, from a 1932 newspaper.
Tracy D. Mygatt, from a 1932 newspaper.
BornMarch 12, 1885
DiedNovember 22, 1973
OccupationPolitical activist, pacifist
Known forCo-founder of the War Resisters League
Partner(s)Frances M. Witherspoon
RelativesDaniel S. Dickinson (grandfather)
John Tracy (great-grandfather)

Early life and educationEdit

Mygatt was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised by her widowed mother, Minnie Clapp Mygatt.[1] Her great-grandfather Daniel S. Dickinson and great-great-grandfather John Tracy were both prominent politicians in New York State.[2] Tracy D. Mygatt graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1909. After some years as a suffrage and labor organizer in Pennsylvania, she and Witherspoon moved to New York City in 1913.[3]

Career and activismEdit

In New York City Witherspoon and Mygatt joined the Woman's Peace Party, and together edited their publication, Four Lights.[4][5] They also organized the Socialist Suffrage Brigade,[6] and edited an issue of The Call about suffrage.[7] Mygatt joined Jessie Wallace Hughan and John Haynes Holmes in launching the Anti-Enlistment League in 1915.[8]

Witherspoon and Mygatt continued with peace work after the war, as active members of the Women's Peace Union,[9][10] and as founders of the War Resisters League in 1923.[11] They were charter members of the Episcopal Pacifist Fellowship when it was founded in 1939. In 1961 they were recognized jointly with the WRL Peace Award.[12]

In 1932, Mygatt ran for the New York State Assembly as the Socialist Party candidate.[2] From 1941 to 1969, Mygatt worked full-time for the Campaign for World Government, and was their accredited representative to the United Nations.[13][14]

Witherspoon and Mygatt co-wrote two Biblical novels, The Glorious Company (1928) and Armor of Light (1930), and a play about Vincent van Gogh, Stranger Upon Earth, among other literary collaborations.[15][16] Mygatt also wrote several plays on her own (Children of Israel,[17] Watchfires,[18] Grandmother Rocker,[19] Good Friday,[20] The Noose,[21][22] Sword of the Samurai,[23] His Son, Thim Socialists, and Bird's Nest), and published Julia Newberry's Sketch Book: or, The Life of Two Future Old Maids (1934), a biography of her mother and her mother's cousin.[24][25]

Personal life and legacyEdit

Mygatt lived and worked with Frances M. Witherspoon for over sixty years, in New York City, and later in Brewster, New York and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[26] The pair were active in the Episcopal Church.[27] They died within a month of each other, in late 1973, in Philadelphia; Mygatt was 88 years old, and had been in poor health for some time.[28] The couple's papers were donated to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.[29]

External linksEdit


  1. ^ Amanda Bickel, Minnie Clapp Mygatt: Study in a Victorian Sex Life (1987).
  2. ^ a b O'Flaherty, Mary (1932-11-03). "Of Sturdy Whig Stock is Woman Socialist". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. p. 21. Retrieved 2020-05-03 – via
  3. ^ "Suffragettes Begin Campaign for Votes", Delaware County Daily Times (September 28, 1912): 2. via  
  4. ^ Erika Kuhlman, "'Women's Ways in War': The Feminist Pacifism of the New York City Woman's Peace Party" Frontiers 18(1)(1997): 80-100. DOI: 10.2307/3347203
  5. ^ Mark Van Wienen, "'Women's Ways in War': The Poetry and Politics of the Woman's Peace Party, 1915-1917," Modern Fiction Studies 38(3)(Fall 1992): 687-714.
  6. ^ Tracy D. Mygatt, "The Claim of Socialism to Woman's Vote" The Northwestern Worker (September 30, 1915): 3. via  
  7. ^ Frances H. Early, A World Without War: How U. S. Feminists and Pacifists Resisted World War I (Syracuse University Press 1997): 12-18. ISBN 0815627645
  8. ^ Ellen Baier, "Tracy D. Mygatt," in Benjamin F. Shearer, ed., Home Front Heroes: A Biographical Dictionary of Americans During Wartime, vol. 2 (Greenwood Publishing 2007): 624. ISBN 0313334226
  9. ^ Harriet Hyman Alonso, The Women's Peace Union and the Outlawry of War, 1921-1942 (Syracuse University Press 1999): 96. ISBN 0815604173
  10. ^ "TRACY MYGATT A WOMAN.; The Times Inadvertently Referred to Peace Worker as "Mr."". The New York Times. 1924-04-18. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  11. ^ "Frances Witherspoon, 87, Of War Resisters League". The New York Times. 1973-12-18. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  12. ^ Nancy Manahan, "Future Old Maids and Pacifist Agitators: The Story of Tracy Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon" Women's Studies Quarterly 10(Spring 1982): 10-13.
  13. ^ Tracy Mygatt, "World Government is Common Sense," Progressive Education 24(October 1946): 10-11.
  14. ^ Michael Scheibach, Atomic Narratives and American Youth: Coming of Age with the Atom, 1945-1955 (McFarland 2003): 74-75. ISBN 0786415665
  15. ^ P. W. Wilson, "The Saints Step Out of their Stained-Glass Windows: Tracy Mygatt and Frances Witherspoon Employ Feminine Intuition to Humanize and Revitalize the Acts of the Apostles," New York Times (July 22, 1928): 51.
  16. ^ Alfred H. Barr, Vincent Van Gogh (Routledge 1967): 42. ISBN 0714620394
  17. ^ Tracy Dickinson Mygatt, Children of Israel (George H. Doran Company 1922).
  18. ^ Tracy D. Mygatt, Watchfires: A Play in Four Acts (self-published 1917).
  19. ^ Mygatt, Tracy Dickinson (1922). Grandmother Rocker: A Costume Play in One Act. Walter H. Baker Company.
  20. ^ Mygatt, Tracy D. (Tracy Dickinson) (2012). Good Friday; a Passion Play of Now. HardPress Publishing. ISBN 978-1-290-05075-3.
  21. ^ "White Author Eulogizes the Pilgrims to Freedom". The New York Age. 1957-05-18. p. 16. Retrieved 2020-05-03 – via
  22. ^ Early, Frances (2002-03-01). "Whiteness and political purpose in the noose, an antilynching play by Tracy Mygatt". Women's History Review. 11 (1): 27–48. doi:10.1080/09612020200200309. ISSN 0961-2025.
  23. ^ "'Sword of the Samurai' to be Given by Presbyterians" Mason City Globe-Gazette (February 27, 1931): 11. via  
  24. ^ Mygatt, Tracy Dickinson (1934). Julia Newberry's Sketch Book: Or, The Life of Two Future Old Maids. W.W. Norton & Company.
  25. ^ "Miss Mygatt Writes Book of Sketches: Socialist Campaigner Pens Prim Records of Victorian Years" Brooklyn Daily Eagle (March 11, 1934): 4. via  
  26. ^ James B. Lloyd, Lives of Mississippi Authors, 1817-1967 (University Press of Mississippi 1981): 481. ISBN 0878051392
  27. ^ Andrew Preston, Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy (Anchor 2012). ISBN 140007858X
  28. ^ "Tracy Mygatt Dies; Led War Resisters" New York Times (November 24, 1973): 34.
  29. ^ Tracy D. Mygatt and Frances M. Witherspoon Papers, DG 089, Swarthmore College Peace Collection.