Scope and Contents
The records of the CPSU were deposited in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection in June of 1946 by Robert Beach of Philadelphia, a CPSU member. A small portion of the records came to the Peace Collection in 1976 from historian Charles Chatfield. These records originated in the larger collection of CPS records given to Chatfield by Gordon Streib (see Accession 76A-84). Records include a proposed constitution, scattered minutes, correspondence (1943-1945), CPSU Newsletter, statements, releases, financial records, membership and contact lists, and research date on use of manpower in CPS. Also in the collection are the records of local units in various CPS camps, including scattered minutes, correspondence, financial records, and membership lists. Camps represented by significant amounts of material include: Big Flats, NY Camp #46; Powellsville, MD Camp #52; Middletown, CT, Camp #81; Trenton, ND Camp #94; Pownal, ME Camp #130, Germfask, NC Camp #135; and Jaundice Unit, Philadelphia, PA Camp #140. See also American Civil Liberties Union, National Commission on Conscientious Objectors, Kampelman, AFSC-Civilian Public Service, labor and peace, conscientious objection.
The Civilian Public Service Union was organized at the beginning of 1944 in the CPS camp at Big Flats, New York. Men at other camps and units quickly joined the group. CPSU, a union for "drafted workers conscientiously opposed to war," was formed to provide an organized means of communication and group action among men in all sections of CPS and to combat the waste and injustice of the CPS system itself. Ralph C. Rudd served as chairman from late 1944 until CPSU was dissolved in early 1946.