December 4, 1915
Members of industrialist Henry Ford’s Peace Expedition, seeking among Europe’s neutral nations a “Neutral Conference for Continuous Mediation” that would end the war, sailed from New York City for Oslo aboard the Oscar II. Led by Ford himself, the 150 pacifists included Inez Milholland Boissevain ’09 and Vassar student Katrina Brewster ’16. The college declined to send a formal representative, but President MacCracken proposed, with no success, that his father, the vice-president of the New York Peace Society, be among the delegates.
The students in the delegation embarked for home on January 11, 1916, and the others followed four days later.
Successful talks in Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Holland established the conference, which worked for over a year to achieve its goals, ceasing on February 7, 1917, when Ford, apparently persuaded that his and other efforts had moved President Woodrow Wilson from an isolationist to a active pacifist position on the war, ordered the mission’s end.