Richard Bartlett Gregg

American philosopher, pacifist and peace activist

Early Years

  • 1885 - Born in Colorado Springs, CO to James and Mary Gregg.
  • 1907 - Graduated from Harvard College.
  • 1908 - Entered Harvard Law
  • 1911 - Graduated Harvard Law. Toured England, Scotland, France and Germany.
  • 1911-1913 - Worked at the law office of Gaston, Snow, and Saltonstall in Boston, MA. 
  • 1913 - Visited India for the first time.
  • 1915 - Opened a law office in Chicago with Robert G Valentine and Orway Ted, experts in personnel managed and industrial psychology.
  • 1918 - Accepted a position with the National War Labor Board. During the Bethlehem Steel Strike Gregg was the examiner in charge.
  • 1919 - Published and article discussing the formation and activities of the NWLB for the Harvard Law Review.
    • NWLB dissolved. Accepted a job in the Railway Employees Department.
  • 1922 - Actively involved in bitter railway strikes that involved over 400,000 workers. The strikes were violent and at the end employers claimed complete victory.
  • 1922-1924 - During the strikes he discovered and read Gandhi and decided to travel to India.


India and Ghandi

  • 1925 - January 1, 1925.  Sailed for India.  Lived at Gandhi’ ashram.
  • 1929 - He returns to the US and lives with his sister in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
  • 1930 - Marries Nonie Davis Tupper an interior designer from Charleston, S.C. 
  • 1930 - Visits India with Nonie and reunites with Gandhi
  • 1932 - Publishes Gandhism vs. Socialism


The Power of Non-Violence

  • 1935 - Lived at 8 Eliot St. in Natick MA.  Publishes The Power of Non-Violence. 
  • 1936 - Moved to Pendle Hill Quaker retreat and study center in  Pennsylvania  to serve as Acting Director.
  • Published The Value of Voluntary Simplicity through Pendle Hill.
  • 1937-1938 - Visited the UK and the Peace Pledge Union
    • Published Training for Peace: A Program for Peace Workers through J.B. Lippincott Company, by the Peace Pledge Union.
    • Left Pendle Hill for Natick, Mass. And worked in his for his vegetable garden where he wrote, lectured, and worked until 1941. 
    • Published What is the Matter with Money?  
  • 1939 - April: Writes Pacifist Program in Time of War, Threatened War or Fascism through Pendle Hill. 


Voluntary Simplicity

  • 1941-1942 -At the request of a friend, worked as a farm hand in a six-week course learning bio-dynamic farming and gardening at Kimberton Farm, PA. 
    • Published A Discipline for Non-Violence through Pendle Hill. 
  • 1942-1943 - Left Kimberton Farm, PA to work at the dairy farm of a friend in West Central VT for a year. 
  • 1942-1946 - Took part in a School for Non-Violence in Big Flats, NY, a camp for Conscientious Objectors during WWII.[1]  
  • 1944 - Due to his wife’s illness took a job teaching mathematics in Putney, VT. Gregg believed “she would be happier in those surroundings.”  
    • Published Primer of Companion Planting: Herbs, Their Part in Good Gardening with Evelyn Speiden based on his time in Kimberton, PA.  
  • 1946 - Resigned from Putney, VT to dedicate his time to full-time care of his wife who became confined to a psychiatric facility.


Organic Farming

  • 1947-1948 - Realized he had to stop round the clock care for his wife, moved to the sugar farm of Helen and Scott Nearing  in Jamaica, VT, Lived at Winhall.    
    • Published “The Validity of Indian Handicrafts in this Industrial Era,” Art and Thought: Issued in Honor of Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy “ on the Occasion of his 70th Birthday. 
  • January 30, 1948   Gandhi is assassinated. 
  • 1949 - Met Bill Coperthwaite who became international known for his design and building of Yurts.
    • Winter months, attended the World Pacifist Conference in India.
  • 1952 - Published Which Way Lies Hope? An Examination of Capitalism, Communism, Socialism and Gandhi’s Program (Navajivan, India) 
  • 1954 - May 20, 1954, his first wife, Nonnie Tupper, passed away.
  • 1956 - Left the sugar farm. (The Nearings sold the farm in 1954). 
    • Remarried to long-time friend Evelyn Spieden whom he met during his time at Kimberton Farm, PA.  
    • Published an article in Liberation: An Independent Monthly, Volumes 1-4, Pg. 10 in which he said, in part, “after the US has used up all its natural stored resources, it will revert to a village economy living on its annual income of solar energy. This is my guess anyhow.” 
    • September - Returned to India to teach Gandhian Economics in South India at a training center for Indian social workers.  The school of G. Ramachandran to train young Indians to carry out Gandhi’s program.  Met Ramachandran in 1925 at the school of Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore while on a tour of khaddar villages, a few weeks after arriving at Gandhi’s Ashram.  
    • Published: 
    • A Compass for Civilization (Navajivan Publishing House, India)
    • The Self Beyond Yourself (J.B. Lippincott Company) 
    • Spirit Through Body (University Press of Cambridge)
    • Self-Transcendence (Gollancz)
  • 1958 - Returned to the United States to his home in Chester, NY. 
    • Published A Philosophy of Indian Economic Development (Navajivan Press, India)


Civil Rights Movement

  • 1959 - Met Martin Luther King in February at a War Resisters League Annual Dinner. King spoke at the event, his speech largely paraphrasing Gregg’s arguments from The Power of Non-Violence. King left for India the next day with a list of people to visit provided by Gregg.  

  • July 22-24: Attended the ‘First Southwide Institute on Nonviolent Resistance to Segregation,’ at Spelman College in Atlanta. Gregg led a discussion group.  MLK proposed the Institute upon his return from India.  King felt the SCLC had “failed to get the philosophy [of non-violence] over to many persons in the South because we had not taken the time to give serious study to it.” 
  • 1960 - Participated in Non-Violence protest at Polaris Action in Groton, CT. 
  • 1961 - Published I Want a Job or What Can I Do? (New Delhi: Gandhi Smarak Nidhi)  
  • 1963 - Published The Big Idol (Navajivan Pub. House)
  • 1964 - Moves to McMinville, Oregon as his health begins to fail. 
    • Published “Satyagraha as a Mirror” (Chapter in Gandhi: His Relevance for Our Time, World Without War Publishing) 
  • 1966 - Published Companion Plants and How to Use Them (with Helen Philbrick, The Devin-Adair Company, Publisher) 
  • 1968 - Moves to a retirement community – Cascade Manor, Oregon. Published Which Way Lies Hope and What Am I?  
  • 1969 - October 11-17, Presented a paper, “Gandhi as a Social Scientist and Social Inventor,” at the Gandhi Centenary Conference on Science, Education, Non-Violence. Appears to have been held in India at the Gujarat Vidyapith, university founded by Gandhi in 1920. 
  • 1974 - January 27, Gregg passed away