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Phyllis Michaux Papers

Identifier: GTM-990430

Scope and Contents

The Phyllis Michaux Papers contain materials amassed by the founder and first president of the Association of American Wives of Europeans (AAWE) concerning Americans living overseas and their citizenship rights. A series of subject files comprising letters and printed matter regarding overseas voting and citizenship rights is retained. An extensive series of case files for the Aldo Bellei Case is preserved. That particular legal case focused on the debate about the number of years American children born in Europe had to live in the United States to maintain their American citizenship. Coverage is also given to the rights of American women abroad and their children.


  • 1927 - 2002
  • Majority of material found within 1960 - 1999


Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical/Historical note

Phyllis Michaux (1922-2015) was the founder and first president of the Association of American Wives of Europeans (AAWE), a non-profit volunteer organization of American women, resident in France, who share interests in bi-cultural living. AAWE provides information and education on bilingualism, citizenship, education, legal, and voting rights to American citizens living abroad. The organization is a member of the Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas (FAWCO). As an American citizen living in France since 1946, and raising a family with her French husband, Michaux became increasingly concerned about the implications of her children’s dual citizenship. Under Section 301(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 children born overseas of an American parent could not retain citizenship unless they resided for five consecutive years in the United States between the ages of fourteen and twenty-eight. In 1961, Michaux mobilized a group of fifty concerned mothers who brought their concerns about the citizenship law to the U.S. Department of State. A year later, organized and led by Michaux as the AAWE, the women embarked on letter-writing campaigns to Congress. Through their efforts, the citizenship law was amended in 1968 with the residence period reduced from five to two years. Michaux chronicled the history of AAWE in her book "The Unknown Ambassadors: A Saga of Citizenship"(1996). The AAWE is now an organization of six hundred members based primarily in France.


2.5 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Phyllis Michaux, 1991.

Phyllis Michaux Papers
Scott S. Taylor
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2024-04: Edited for DACS compliance by John Zarrillo.

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057