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.
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Phyllis Michaux (1922- ) 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)
Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository