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Edward B. Marks papers

Identifier: IHRC1479


Edward B. Marks was born in New York 1911, he was one of three siblings growing up in Manhattan. Marks was an American refugee worker, he also worked as an official with the U.S. War Relocation Authority, the International Refugee Organization, and the International Organization for Migration, as well as the U.S. Committee for Refugees, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and UNICEF. Marks understood the refugee was a constant in our times and strived in bringing together a world vision and long term approaches. He worked towards the United States in particular continuing to demonstrate the revered tradition of asylum as a meaningful beacon of hope for world's homeless. He celebrated the contribution of asylum. He believed that refugee issues are inextricably bound not only to human rights but to many of the political dilemas with which we are globally confronted with. The Edward B. Marks collection consists of both personal papers and organisational records and include correspondence, minutes; reports; publications; curricular materials; speeches; newspaper clippings; published and un-published writings The collection records Marks activities within organisations, which were interested in all aspects of immigration and resettlement, including educational services, ethnic presses, social services, and immigration legislation. "We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented" Edward B. Marks


  • 1941-2002

Language of Materials



Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.


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Edward B. Marks was born in New York 22 April 2011, a native of Manhattan. He was born to Edward and Miriam Marks, and was the youngest of three siblings, his sister Phyllis the eldest and brother Herbert. Marks in his memoirs describes his parents as compassionate, his mother was an art lover, and his father highly ethical. His father was a songwriter and publisher of both popular and classical music, in collaboration with a friend they owned the firm Joseph W. Stern and Co. Marks graduated from Dartmouth College in 1932 and completed his Masters in Sociology at Columbia in 1938. Marks began as a journalist writing for the American Wine and Liquor Journal and then worked for the Welfare Council of New York City editing a magazine. He was offered a job at the National Refugee Service after interviewing the then Director on the plight of post war refugees, he worked with this organisation until 1942. This is where he began his lifetime commitment to the refugees a career that spanned for over 50 years. Marks helped to resettle and rehabilitate refugees from conflict of war, all over the world. He worked with government and nongovernmental agencies in postwar Europe, war-torn Africa and troubled Asian countries. He understood the greatest danger facing the worlds refugees was not the threat or continuation of war, but the indifference of the free world. . In 1942 he joined the War Relocation Authority, ressettling Japenese Americans during World War II. He continued once the war had ended to work with housing veterans. Following this period he joined the U.N. International Refugee Organisation. From 1950, Marks was stationed in Athens, Greece working for the International Organization for Immigration. Once there he was faced with refugees from Albania, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia in search for asylum. Edward B. Marks used his journalistic and administrative skills and began to develop strategic ways of assessing and preparing refugees for immigration. In 1953, Marks returned to the United States to open a New York branch of International Organization for Immigration, in preparation of over 100,000 European refugees arriving in the United Sates under the Refugee Relief Act. In 1957, Mr. Marks was sent to Yugoslavia to help resettle more than 20,000 Hungarian refugees after a period of dissent against Soviet rule. In 1958 Marks became the first executive director of the U.S. Committee for Refugees, the organisation was established to coordinate the efforts of U.S. agencies on behalf of refugees during the U.N. World Refugee Year he held this post until 1962. In 1962 Marks served in Lagos, Nigeria, during the nation's civil war with Biafra, Marks joined the Agency for International Development's Africa bureau. He later worked in Saigon and London and in the agency's Asia bureau, which required him to leave his Leesburg home to travel to India, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines and Bangladesh. In 1976, Marks received the agency's first Distinguished Career Award for his work. While deputy director of the secretariat for UNICEF, Edward B. Marks was the principal organizer for the 1979 United Nations International Year of the Child, which was led by the United Nations Children's Fund. In 1985 Marks went on to hold the position of interim president of the United States Committee for Unicef, and was later elected on to committees board of directors In 2002 he received the Granger Award, from Dartmouth College, acknowledging him as a graduate whose commitment to public service illustrates leadership and innovation. Marks wrote many articles and published two books, ''For a Better World: Posters from the United Nations'' (2003) and his memoir, ''Still Counting: Achievements and Follies of a Nonagenarian,'' published in 2005. Marks first wife Margaret Laurens died in 1980 and his son Thomas Marks in 2003. Marks lived with his wife of 18 years Vera Barad Marks in Mill Valley, California until his death in 2005. He had three other children a daughter from his first marriage Katharine Mark, a second stepdaughter, a stepson, Michael Barad and eight grandsons.


4 linear feet


Collection acquired from Edward Marks in 2000-2003. It was processed by Ego Ahaiwe during her archival internship at the IHRC in April-May 2012.
  • Human rights Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Refugees Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • Resettlement Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
Inventory of the Edward B. Marks papers.
IHRC Archives
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Finding Aid in English

Collecting Area Details

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