The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

Women's Search for Peace

“The contact I have had with the international women’s peace movement has challenged many of my own patterns of thought and assumptions. My personal encounters are not intended as a travelogue. But where else do we question and learn, but from our own experience?”
-Sissy Farenthold’s speech, "Women’s Search for Peace", 1988

Farenthold at a 1997 anti-nuclear protest.
Photographer unknown.

Frances T. “Sissy” Farenthold is an influential figure in Texas politics and the women’s movement. She is perhaps best known for her political work during the 1970s. In the 1980s, however, she began to work actively in the international women’s movement. Much of that work was aimed, at least initially, at nuclear disarmament.

In 1988, after a decade of involvement with the international women’s peace movement, Farenthold delivered a speech entitled “Women’s Search for Peace” to the Federation of Houston Professional Women. She detailed her journey as a feminist and peace activist, outlining her travels to peace movement events. It offers an excellent overview of this era of her political history and is the basis for this website. Read the entire speech here.

This website showcases scanned documents generated from Farenthold’s involvement in the events outlined in “Women’s Search for Peace.” The events include her visits to anti-nuclear peace camps, the Peace Tent at the 1985 U.N. Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya, and the anti-nuclear efforts of the organization Women for a Meaningful Summit. Quotes from the speech and other documents introduce introduce each page.

Farenthold’s cousin, Genevieve Vaughan, worked closely with her throughout this period and is a prominent figure in these papers. Because these documents shed light on the Cold War, the nuclear arms race, and the international peace movement, bibliographies related to these global events are provided for further reading.

Also included are video clips of a July 2011 interview with Farenthold and Vaughn. Excerpts can be found throughout the website. Here Farenthold discusses the importance of nuclear disarmament:

View the transcript.