Records of the Center on Conscience and War, 1940-ongoing
[formerly NSBRO & NISBCO]
Collection: DG 025
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399 U.S.A.
Telephone: 610-328-8557 (curator); Fax: 610-690-5728
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (curator)
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
National Service Board for Religious Objectors; National Interreligious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors; Center on Conscience and War
Center on Conscience and War Records
Language of Materials
Materials in English
670+ linear feet [papers only]
Organization still in existence that was formed to aid conscientious objectors in World War II.
Restrictions to Access
Yes [researchers must obtain permission from CCW Executive Director to use files of individual conscientious objectors; contact Curator for details]
Yes [some boxes are stored offsite; a request for their retrieval must be given to the Curator at least two weeks in advance of a visit to the SCPC]
Alternate Form of Material
Gift of NISBRO, 1947-1948; many subsequent accessions
Processed by archivists & student assistants; checklist created by Anne M. Yoder, Archivist, Nov. 2008
[Identification of item], in the Center on Conscience and War Records (DG 025), 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
French, Paul Comley (CDGA)
American Friends Service Committee: Civilian Public Service Records (DG 002)
The Center on Conscience and War (CCW) is a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to spread understanding of conscientious objection. It is sponsored by a broad coalition of religious groups and acts as a service agency for individual conscientious objectors and for churches and organizations interested in CO's. Founded in 1940 by the historic peace churches (the Society of Friends [Quakers], Brethren and Mennonites) to provide a unified approach to the federal government in matters concerning conscientious objection and alternative services, the organization went by the name National Service Board for Religious Objectors (NSBRO). From 1941-1947, the NSBRO office in Washington functioned as the administrative agency for the Civilian Public Service program in which over 12,000 men performed "work of national importance," primarily under the direction of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the Brethren Service Committee (BSC), and the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). NSBRO served as a liaison with the Selective Service System and other federal agencies, disseminated information about the program, and provided counseling and other assistance to individual CO's.
After World War II, NSBRO continued to provide information on registration, classification, regulations, legislation, and court decisions concerning conscientious objectors and furnished assistance to those making appeals. In more recent years, the focus of activity was opposition to any form of registration, the draft, or compulsory national service and the provision of information and counseling for any persons experiencing problems with military service or concerned about convictions of conscientious objection. The organization's name was changed in 1970 to National Interreligious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors (NISBCO), and to The Center on Conscience & War in Dec. 1999.
Paul Comly French was executive director of NSBRO during the war period, 1940-1946, followed by Ora Huston (1946-1948), A. Stauffer Curry (1949-1955), C. LeRoy Doty Jr. (1956-1958), J. Harold Sherk (1958-1969), and Warren W. Hoover (1969- ); later executive directors were: L. William (Bill) Yolton, early 1990s; Philip L. Borkholder and Raymond J. Toney, mid 1990s; J.E. McNeil, 1999?-2011; Maria Santelli, 2011-date.
The collection includes meeting minutes of the Board of Directors and Consultative Council (1943-1969), correspondence (1940- ), memoranda, literature and releases, financial records, statistics, subject files, newspaper clippings, photographs, motion pictures, and much other material. In addition to the administrative records of the Washington office, the 1940-1947 records include correspondence, reports, and publications of 151 Civilian Public Service camps, together with case files of men assigned to CPS camps and of the men who were reclassified or imprisoned. Additional case files covering the period 1949 to 1973 contain information about men who performed alternative service (1-W classification) and about men who sought help with problems relating to military service and/or classification. All case files about individual CPS men and women are restricted. Series titles were established by the organization and modified in 2006 by SCPC staff.
Among the correspondents are the above-named executive directors and Roger N. Baldwin, Allen H. Barr, Charles F. Boss, JR., James A. Crain, Girven H. Culley, E. LeRoy Dakin, Henry A. Fast, Paul J. Furnas, Albert M. Gaeddert, Lewis B. Hershey, A. S. Imirie, Abraham Kaufman, Huber F. Klemme, Lewis F. Kosch, George Loft, Robert A. Lyon, Orie O. Miller, James P. Mullin, A. J. Muste, Mary B. Newman, Ray Newton, W. Harold Row, William T. Snyder, Lyle Tatum, Walter W. Van Kirk, Norman J. Whitney, Herman Will Jr., George Willoughby, and M. R. Higler.
Material in Part I was refoldered and reboxed by student assistants in 2003-2008. With the exception of Series A, material is still largely in the same order as it was when sent to the Peace Collection by NSBRO/NISBCO staff. For the most part, files in Part II and Part III have not been included in this reprocessing effort; partial finding aids for these Parts are available onsite at the SCPC.
Restrictions apply to any Series that include files about individual men, as noted below. Researchers must gain permission from the director of the Center on Conscience and War to view specific files. Contact the SCPC Curator about this matter.
Some boxes are stored off-site. A request for their retrieval must be given to the SCPC Curator at least two weeks in advance of a visit to the SCPC.
Photos were removed to the Photograph Collection. Motion picture films and other audiovisual items were removed to the Audiovisual Collection (search online database here). Newsletters were removed to the Periodical Collection or, as in the case of CPS Camp newsletters (search online database here), to DG 002.
The website/s of the CCW have been archived; click here for more information. A website that includes the CPS Directory (published by NSBRO and NISBCO) was launched in 2011; click here to look up men who served in Civilian Public Service, and for information on CPS camps, etc.
Arrangement of Collection
Click here for notes about original Series and what they contained.
Part I: Files From 1940-1946
Shelf List for Staff
Finding Aid Chart for Researchers Re: CPS Material
Series A: Records re: Administration of CPS
Series B: General Records re: CPS [formerly Series G]
Series C,1: Records re: CPS Camps
Series C,2: Records re: CPS Camps (Supplement #1)
Series D: Records re: CPS Special Projects [formerly Series SP & Series SP-S]
Series E.1: Records re: Reclassified Men in CPS [men with classification difficulties, or men in prison; formerly Series R] restrictions apply
Series E,2: Records re: Reclassified Men in CPS [men with classification difficulties, or men in prison; formerly Series R-S] restrictions apply
Series F,1: Records re: Individuals in CPS [not just discharge files; includes 1947?; formerly Series D] restrictions apply
Series F,2: Records re: Individuals in CPS (Supplement) [formerly Series D-S] restrictions apply
Part II: Files From 1947-1979
Note: Series designations in Part II are not necessarily the same as in Part I; Series F-M established in July 2015
Shelf List for Staff
Series A: Administrative & General Records [formerly Series G-S; 1970s accessions; misc. boxes of meeting minutes, etc.]
[Part II has no Series B or Series C]
Series D-S : Discharge Records (Supplement #1) [men discharged from Alternative Service Program (1-W Service)], 1952-1954 restrictions apply
Series D-S : Discharge Records (Supplement #2) [men discharged from Alternative Service Program (1-W Service)], 1955-1956 restrictions apply
Series D-S : Discharge Records (Supplement #3) [men discharged from Alternative Service Program (1-W Service)], 1957-1960 restrictions apply
Series D-S : Discharge Records (Supplement #4) [men discharged from Alternative Service Program (1-W Service)], 1961-1966 restrictions apply
Series D-S : Discharge Records (Supplement #5) [men discharged from Alternative Service Program (1-W Service)], 1967-1968 restrictions apply
Series E : Reclassification Records 1949-1959 restrictions apply
Series E-S: Reclassification Records (Supplement #1) [men with classification difficulties, or men in prison], circa late 1940s-1959 restrictions apply
Series F: General Correspondence, 1952-1959
Series G: Administrative and Program Records, 1948-1969
Series H: Conscientious Objector Lists, Religious Organizations, and Administrative Records, 1946-1963 restrictions apply
Series I: Men in I-W Service (Forms), 1960s-1970s [1975 accession]
Series J: Case Files, 1963-1967 [partial] restrictions apply
Series K: Case Files and Correspondence, 1959 to early 1970s [1975? accession]
Series L: I-W Service Records, Releases, Case Files, and Correspondence, 1949-1974 restrictions apply
Series M: Alternative Service, Correspondence, and Administrative/Organizational Records, 1951-1979 [1982 and 1985 accessions]
Part III: Files From 1980-Current
Later accessions do not yet have series designations assigned to them, nor are they included in this online checklist, as of Nov. 2008
Shelf List for Staff
Finding aid for some later accessions.
Refile Box [miscellaneous material left over from rearrangement and processing of Parts I and II]
NSBRO: List of Board of Directors and Consultative Council, 194_
NSBRO: Financial records, 1940-1946
NSBRO: Miscellaneous correspondence
NSBRO: miscellaneous form letters & memos
NSBRO: memo re: C.O.s in the Second World War, November 8, 1943
NSBRO: memo re: attempts to secure compensatory aid for CPS men, June 1, 1944
NSBRO: memo re: public reaction to atomic bomb, October 5, 1945
NSBRO: memo re: C.O.s given probation, December 21, 1945
NSBRO: memo re: removing CPS from Selective Service System
NSBRO: statement by Lewis Taylor (and 4 others) re: intention to fast and not work for a day to protest peacetime conscription, 1941
NSBRO: Responses to Denny Wilcher’s “Should CPS Camps Continue?”
NSBRO: list of suggested assignments (by CPS camps) as of April 14, 1941
NSBRO: individual cases of C.O.s as appeared in newsclippings, April 1941
NSBRO: possibility of using discharged C.O.s as human guinea pigs
NSBRO: lists of denominational leaders, January 17, 1944
NSBRO: problems in operation of Cleveland State Hospital from April 1945 to July 1946
NSBRO: list of CPS men by home state, April 1953
NSBRO: Conscientious Objector Committee [of the W.I.L. and A.F.S.C.], 1939 (October) – 1940
NSBRO: Educational Advisory Committee
NSBRO: Friends War Problems Committee, 1940
NSBRO: National Council for Religious Conscientious Objectors / NSBRO, 1940 (October – December)
NSBRO: Northern California Camp Directors – meeting minutes, May 23, 1945
NSBRO: reference material
NISBCO: literature, 1970s – “Guide to Alternative Service,” 1972
NISBCO: literature, 1980-1989
NISBCO: literature, 1990-
Refile Box [material received in mail from CCW]
Material from Re-File Box, 2007
Material from Re-File Box, 2009
Material from Re-File Box, 2010
Material from Re-File Box, 2011
Material from Re-File Box, 2012-2015
For Staff: Click here for list of office files.
This file was last updated on November 2, 2016 .
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