Bennett Andrews, a musician from Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), was an absolutist conscientious objector during World War II. His total opposition to war meant for him that neither noncombatant service or Civilian Public Service were options he would consider. Instead, he chose prison with no parole. He was sentenced in April 1943 to five years in a federal penitentiary, and sent to Danbury Prison in Connecticut. There he worked as a farm laborer, librarian, editor of prison publications (The Nutmeg Guidon and Little Nutmeg), truck driver, and finally fireman. This latter position gave him the right to two hours of visitation a month, rather than the former one hour. He was released from prison on July 11, 1946 with no conditions, and received amnesty from President Truman in 1947.
Bennett Andrews, born on September 13, 1906, married Florence (born in 1913) on July 22, 1938. She was also a strong pacifist, who fully supported her husband's C.O. stance. Twice a month Florence traveled ten hours on two trains to visit Bennett for a half hour each visit, all that was allowed. She wrote to him every day while he was in prison, a total of 973 letters, giving him the news of day, telling of her life at home (on a very small budget) and the office, reflecting on her beliefs about God and about peace, and using humorous stories and drawings to help keep up his spirits. These have been excerpted and collected by Florence into a manuscript called "From the Outside." He wrote often to her as well, sharing his opinions about the war, relaying anecdotes about life in prison, and expressing his longing for her. These letters have been excerpted and collected by Florence into a manuscript called "Somewhere in Prison." This collection provides a fascinating and valuable portrait, from both the female and the male points of view, of a devoted couple who were forced to live apart for three and a half years for their beliefs.
Florence worked as a secretary for the American Friends Service Committee in Philadelphia from 1943-1948, as secretary for the Dean of Haverford College (Pennsylvania) for nine years, and in various libraries through her 84th year. Bennett continued his avocation as a musician, working as both music teacher and organ teacher at the Settlement Music School in Germantown (Philadelphia). He died on May 2, 1994.