T. Corder Catchpool Collected Papers, 1914-1952
Collection: CDG-B Great Britain
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399
Telephone: (610) 328-8557 (Curator)
Fax: (610) 328-8544
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The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for these papers/records.
Catchpool, T. Corder (1883 - 1952)
T. Corder Catchpool Collected Papers
CDG-B Great Britain
Language of Materials
Materials in English
5 linear inches [papers only]
T. Corder Catchpool refusing any service when the Compulsory Military Service Act was passed in 1916 in Great Britain. Heserved slightly more than two years in prison after which he published On Two Fronts: Letters of a Conscientious Objector, a memoir about his experiences during the war and in prison. After World War I, Catchpool became a relief worker, secretary for the Friends International Centre in Berlin, and peace worker. He performed reconciliation work with the Friends War Victims Relief Committee in Berlin and eventually became secretary of the Quaker Centre there. After his arrest by the Gestapo because of his assistance to those adversely affected by Hitler's regime, Catchpool returned to England and made frequent trips to the continent to work as an interpreter for English peace efforts and as a relief worker for Germans in Czechoslovakia and Lithuania. During the Second Wolr War he supported conscientious objectors and volunteered for hospital duty. In 1941 Catchpool became involved with the creation of the Bombing Restriction Committee and the Peace Pledge Union.
Restrictions to Access
Alternate Form of Material
Gift of Gwen Catchpool, 1957
Processed by Anne Yoder; checklist created by Joseph Mathews, May 2004; this finding aid created by Eleanor Fulvio, August 2010
[Identification of item], in the T. Corder Catchpool Collected Papers (CDG-B Great Britain), Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law
Online Catalog Headings
These and related materials may be found under the following headings in online library/archival catalogs.
See tripod record
Thomas Corder Pettifor Catchpool (15 July 1883, Leicester, England -- 16 September 1952, Monte Rosa, Switzerland) was before World War I an engineer and, after it, a relief worker, secretary for the Friends International Centre in Berlin, and peace worker. Educated in schools in Leicester and later at Sidcot Friends' School in Guernsey and at Bootham School in York, he apprenticed and worked as an engineer until World War I. He served in the Friends Ambulance Unit for 18 months, but, in May, 1916, when the Compulsory Military Service Act was passed, he resigned from the F.A.U. in protest. Refusing any alternative service, Catchpool served slightly more than two years in prison, during which his health was somewhat undermined. In 1918, he published On Two Fronts: Letters of a Conscientious Objector, a memoir about his experiences in the war and in prison. After his release in April 1919, he went to Berlin to perform reconciliation work with the Friends War Victims Relief Committee. There, Catchpool met his wife-to-be, Gwen Southall, who had nursed him from pneumonia. In 1931, the entire family--now with four children--moved to Berlin where the Friends Service Council had invited him to serve as the secretary of the Quaker Centre there. Soon the center was absorbed into the Friends International Centre, representing the German Society of Friends and the Service Councils of British and American Friends. Catchpool believed his tasks should include extending advice and relief to pacifists and to those experiencing persecution and political difficulties.
With Hitler's coming into power, Catchpool's assistance to those adversely affected by his regime--including Jews and French civilians--came under suspicion by the Gestapo. In 1933 his house was searched and he was arrested, interrogated and released. After a year, the Gestapo dropped its case against him. In 1936, the term of service at the Friends International Centre over, Catchpool's family returned to England to live in Hampstead, near London. The Catchpool home was open to visitors, especially Germans, and Corder traveled often to the continent, working as an interpreter for English peace efforts and as a relief worker for Germans in Czechoslovakia and Lithuania. He continued his efforts in reconciliation even after the war began in Sept. 1939. During the war he supported conscientious objectors and volunteered for hospital duty; in 1941 he became involved with the creation of the Bombing Restriction Committee and the Peace Pledge Union.
In 1946, Catchpool was finally able to return for a time to Germany to visit friends and to perform relief work. In 1947, he and his wife Gwen were invited by the Friends Relief Service to run the Rest Home at Bad Pyrmont in Germany. Later, in 1950 and 1951, in the midst of extensive travels, they represented the British Friends Service Committee in Berlin, now surrounded by the Russian zone. Corder Catchpool never ceased his activities in various peace societies. In 1952, Catchpool died as a result of a fall while mountain-climbing in Switzerland.
In 1957, Corder Catchpool's wife, Gwen, sent a selection of his papers to her friend Mary G. Cary, Curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection (accessions 57-7 and 57-19) for the use of researchers and students interested in conscientious objection and reconciliation.
The biographical materials in this collection consist of a number of originals and copies of official documents and newspaper clippings relating to Catchpool's court martial in 1917 for refusing military service and his arrest by the Nazis in 1933.
The correspondence contains a number of originals and carbon copies of letters written to and by Catchpool that highlight his interests and concerns (for example, a 1935 letter discussing the impartial inspection of conditions in German prisons, and 1937 and 1938 letters regarding Catchpool's work on behalf of destitute Sudeten Germans and German prisoners in Lithuania).
The collection includes approximately 20 manuscript articles and reports; many are memoirs and timely social observations, like the 23-page article"Adventures in International Understanding: Central Europe," written in 1946, and the "Report from Berlin" of 1951.
The folder of published writings contains a selection of pamphlets by Catchpool, one from 1926 on "La Kvakerismo," translated into Esperanto. There are also many shorter pieces collected from journals, such as the historical article written after the war "Forgotten Germany," and letters to the editor, such as "The Effects of Bombing" from 1943. Such prolific and varied written work reveals Catchpool's stature as a respected peace journalist and commentator.
More information can be found about Catchpool's life in published articles and books. Check the on-line library catalog [tripod] for titles, most of which can be borrowed through interlibrary loan.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Biographical information: C.O. status & court martial, 1916-1918
Biographical information: arrest by the Nazis, 1933 (April)
Biographical information: memorials & tributes
Correspondence: 1914-1919, 1925 [scattered]
Correspondence: re: German political prisoners, 1933-1938
Correspondence: 1931, 1933-1937
Correspondence: 1940-1952, undated
MS articles & reports: 1919-1952