Philadelphia: 1940-1945; 1954. Thirty-five printed and typescript items, approximately pp. total. Some staples, old folds. Scattered contemporary ink stamps. Light toning and minor wear, heavier in places. Scattered chipping and occasional short edge tears. About very good. Item #4307
A fascinating and scarce group of newsletters, pamphlets, and ephemera published by the American Friends Service Committee during and after World War II, comprising thirty-five printed and typescript items. The Committee administered roughly one third of the camps in the Civilian Public Service system, which was established to provide a means of non-military service to religious conscientious objectors during the war, and also played a significant role in the anti-draft, anti-conscription movement. The first group of material present here includes seven issues of the Civilian Public Service Friends Newsletter. These provide a detailed, contemporary account of the overall state of the camps, including camp populations, incoming "campers," camp openings and closures, and the financial situation. The newsletters also include news relating to the administration of the camps and developments regarding their operation and the activities of the interned objectors. Included as well are a promotional report issued on the two-year anniversary of the Service's inception and an elaborate four-page solicitation for donations to the CPS, both also issued by the American Friends Service Committee. The issues of the newsletters present are: No. 5 (October 30th, 1942); No. 6 (December 21, 1942); No. 8 (February 25, 1943); No. 9 (March 15, 1943); No. 10 (April 21, 1943); No. 12 (July 12, 1943); No. 13 (August 23, 1943). A substantial run of a scarce and short-lived newsletter. We locate individually catalogued groups of these reports only at Bethel College and the University of Oregon, and not in the Swarthmore Peace Collection.
A second group of newsletters contains three issues of a weekly periodical, Information, and eleven issues of its monthly offshoot, Information Digest, dating December 1943 to July 1945, with two issues from later in 1946. These issues document the administration process of the CPS camps, and contain reports on various facets of their operation, including finances, fundraising, working and social conditions, religious life, and legal issues. Amongst these are reports on internal efforts and negotiations to fund the camps, both within the Society of Friends and in partnership with other pacifist religious sects such as the Mennonites who were involved in camp operations. The December 2, 1943 issue of Information, for example, contains a detailed narrative of the negotiation to fund the camps in 1944. The newsletters also contain a wealth of information on developments, initiatives, and daily life at the camps, which include some particularly interesting reports on mental health among internees and on civil rights, as the issue related to conscientious objectors but also to racial equality in the United States during the war era. OCLC locates holdings of this periodical at just a small handful of institutions.
The third group of material comprises four scarce, typed reports prepared and distributed by the AFSC during the war regarding the rights of conscientious objectors and their status. Three of the reports address the Selective Service Act and continued amendments thereto, concentrating on the portions of the law that applied to religious objectors to military service and changes that affected objectors during the early years of the war. The first these, issued in March 1942, first outlines the changes made to the draft law during December 1941, in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war on the Axis powers, and then provides an extensive, step-by-step procedure for the application process to become a conscientious objector. Two further, lengthy "memoranda" explain the rights of conscientious objectors as of December 1942 and March 1943, when each report was produced, and gives advice for completing the objector application as well as for preparing supplementary documents and written statements. The other report in this group, dated September 1941, gives an outline of the finances and disposition of the Civilian Public Service (the system of labor camps for conscientious objectors) on the eve of the war, including lists of camps already in operation, their capacities, and statistical charts of objectors already registered and camp populations and assignments. These reports are quite striking as first-hand evidence of the role played by the Society of Friends administration in counseling their members to become conscientious objectors.
Finally, there is an interesting group of Quaker anti-conscription ephemera from World War II, consisting of nine pamphlets that outline the pacifist views of the Society of Friends and the reasons behind them. The works go on to detail how these beliefs necessitate the Quakers' refusal to be conscripted into the American armed forces and defend this stance. Two pamphlets deal specifically with the opposition to peacetime conscription, which became a political issue towards the end of the war. The individual titles are as follows:
1) "Why They Cannot Go to War...." Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1940.
2) "Why We Oppose Conscription." Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1941.
3) "United States of America vs. Arle Brooks." Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1941. (Two copies).
4) Royden, A. Maude. "An Unarmed State." [Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, N.d.].
5) Muste, A.J. "Conscription and Conscience." [Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1944]. (Two copies).
6) "Peace Time Conscription...A Problem for Americans." [Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1944].
7) "Permanent Conscription." [Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1945].
8) "No! To Peacetime Conscription." [Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1945].
9) "Advices on Conscription and War." [Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1954].