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Edward Hasbrouck Collected Papers

Identifier: SCPC-CDG-A-Hasbrouck, Edward

Scope and Contents

These papers comprise the first large collection received by the SCPC regarding draft resistance in the early 1980s, though material from the 1960s and 1970s can be found in the collection as well.

Hasbrouck's personal papers include letters written while in prison, as well as his anti-draft statements and information from interviews. An important component of the collection is correspondence, statements and other information -- including news articles -- from draft resisters in the United States and abroad. Other correspondents in the collection include Bob Berkel (Coordinator, National Resistance Committee), Will Doherty (Mass Open Resistance), Steve Homer (Co-Editor, Resistance News, National Resistance Committee), Brad Lyttle (U.S. Pacifist Party), Jeff Mertens (East Bay Resistance), Fred Moore (Editor of Resistance News, National Resistance Committee), Matt Nicodemus (Co-Editor, Resistance News, National Resistance Committee), Richard Orlando (East Bay Resistance), Alex Reyes (Advertising Director and Eastern Director, National Resistance Committee), Alex Stavis (National Resistance Committee), Paul Trudeau (Berkeley Resistance), and Aaron Weinstein (Berkeley Resistance).

Edward Hasbrouck was involved with the National Resistance Committee and other anti-draft groups.** The National Resistance Committee (NRC) was formed in 1980 to oppose registration and the draft, and disbanded following the 1990-1991 Gulf War. It was the only national organization in the USA dedicated exclusively to resisting draft registration and open to all draft resisters.

Much of what was donated by Hasbrouck duplicated what was already held by the SCPC, and was therefore discarded. This included material put out by CaliforniaRD, CCCO, Institute for Policy Studies, Jobs with Peace Campaign, Liberation News Service, Midwest Committee for Military Counseling, Movement for a New Society, National Lawyers Guild, New Society Publishers, The Peacemaker, Promoting Enduring Peace, Syracuse Peace Council, U.S. Peace Council, U.S. Peace Initiative, War Resisters' International, and the War Resisters League. Some of the remaining collection had been damaged by water before it's arrival at the SCPC and was beyond saving or even photocopying; unfortunately this was the situation for many newsletters from local draft resistance groups.

**FROM HASBROUCK IN 2008: > "It's probably easiest to consider these the "Edward Hasbrouck papers", > since most of the organizations involved were informal, illegal (at > least in the eyes of the government), and no longer exist. But most of > this collection is actually organizational archives of draft > resistance groups with which I worked, and which ended up in my > custody after the groups broke up. It would be especially important > to cross-reference them for researchers as being the primary archives > of the National Resistance Committee (1980-1987) and Resistance News.... > > These papers include material I inherited from the personal and > organizational collections of Will Doherty, Matt Nicodemus, Fred > Moore, Steve Homer, and Elizabeth Boyer (Elizabeth Davidson), among > others. > > In addition, several older draft resisters from the era of the > American war in Vietnam donated material from their personal > collections, much of which similarly consisted of archives of defunct > Vietnam-era draft resistance. These were passed on to the NRC, in the > hope that younger draft resisters would find them a useful and > supportive reference of past personal and organization experiences -- > as we did. (It's in the same spirit that I have placed some NRC > material, as well as some updated and new material on draft > registration and draft resistance, on a new Web site at > />. This Web site also includes a summary > history of the NRC and of draft registration, draft resistance, and > the prosecutions of draft resisters in the 1980's.) > > This older material included the badly water-damaged collection of > newsletters from local Vietnam-era draft resistance groups, which had > been in a succession of storage spaces for many years before I > received them. Most of the older material came from the archives of > the Vietnam-era Berkeley Resistance (passed on via the 1980's group of > the same name), and the archives of Vietnam-era draft resistance > groups at Stanford University which I received by way of Matt > Nicodemus of the 1980's Stanford Against Conscription (SAC). > > In deciding to donate these papers to Swarthmore (or any archive), and > in culling them for that purpose, I and my comrades faced a difficult > choice. Draft resistance was and is illegal, at least in the eyes of > the government. Many people had worked in, or communicated with, the > NRC, Resistance News, and other resistance groups, trusting us as > fellow resisters to keep their identities confidential. Even today, > some of these people could potentially be hurt, legally or otherwise, > if their identities were disclosed. Despite the best intentions of > archivists, there is no archival privilege that could resist a > government subpoena. For that reason, we agreed -- with considerable > regret -- to destroy portions of our archives that could not readily > be rendered anonymous. We apologize to future researchers, and hope > they will understand our obligations of confidentiality and trust. > Some additional, securely stored, materials could be made available to > bona fide researchers by arrangement.... > > Peace, > > Edward Hasbrouck > > "The following is a summary history I wrote for the Web site: > > About the National Resistance Committee > > The National Resistance Committee (NRC) was formed in 1980 to oppose > registration and the draft, and disbanded following the 1990-1991 Gulf > War. > > The stated goals of the National Resistance Committee were: > > * To resist current U.S. preparations for conscription and war by > encouraging those of draft age to refuse registration. > > * To sponsor and promote nonviolent demonstrations and civil > disobedience to oppose draft registration. > > * To build a grass-roots movement by collecting pledges of > nonregistration, distributing literature, holding public actions, > forming support groups, and working with existing organizations to > resist registration. > > The National Resistance Committee was open to all draft resisters: > pacifist and non-pacifist, religious and secular, ideological and > individualistic, internationalist and isolationist, young and old, > women and men, queer and straight and questioning (and, like me, > confused), public and closeted, anarchist, communist, libertarian, > patriotic, pagan, feminist, and of course many who didn't identify > with any "ism". As a group potentially regarded by the government as a > criminal conspiracy, the NRC had no formal structure or officers; its > activities were carried out by local and national working collectives > and individual activists. We were funded almost exclusively by small > individual contributions, many of them anonymous and many of them from > the same people who were doing the work. > > Like other draft resistance groups, the NRC used as its symbols the > rainbow of diversity and the Greek letter "omega", which has been used > since the 1960's as the symbol of the resistance to the draft. The > omega is the symbol (in physics and electronics) of the unit of > resistance, the "ohm", and also symbolizes the Buddhist chant for > peace, "om". > > From 1980 to 1987, the NRC published 25 issues of a newspaper, > Resistance News, providing an open forum for all draft resisters. > (Contact me if you are interested in obtaining one of the remaining > sets of printed copies.) According to a statement published in each > issue: > > "Gandhi's term for nonviolence was Satyagraha, which he defined as > "truth force." The National Resistance Committee has no dogma, > Gandhian or otherwise. But we agree with Gandhi that belief in > nonviolence implies belief in the power of truth, and in the ability > of people to discern it for themselves. Resistance News is devoted to > the search for truth. We can only conduct that search, and permit > others to do otherwise, if we print the most divergent opinions and > encourage open discussion of controversy. Our editorial policy is to > print what you write, edited only for length and only with your > permission. If we can't afford to publish all your contributions (we > couldn't this time [and we never could], we'll save them for the next > issue. You are the resistance, and the news of the resistance is the > news of your lives. Write to us about it." > > Such a policy may seem commonplace today, when the Internet makes it > possible and affordable to disseminate huge amounts of information, > without the need for as much selectivity. But at the time, it was a > radical position. We were using the Internet and other computer > networks even in the early 1980's, but the Internet wasn't yet a > medium of mass communication. Getting out the word required costly > printing and mailing, and relatively few people were willing to pay, > often out of their own pockets, to print and distribute the opinions > of those they disagreed with, not just their own opinions. > > There were, and are, many other organizations involved in draft > resistance as well as other activities, organizations for draft > resisters from specific religious or political groups, organizations > working against the draft through means other than resistance, > organizations supporting conscientious objectors within the draft and > military system, draft and military counselors and organizations, and > local draft resistance organizations. > > But from 1980 through 1991, the National Resistance Committee was the > only national organization in the USA dedicated exclusively to > resisting draft registration and open to all draft resisters. As of > 2008, it remains the only such organization to have existed in the USA > since the last involuntary inductions into the military in the USA in > 1973. > > After the U.S. military was driven out of Vietnam in 1975, the antiwar > movement -- including many forms of resistance -- forced an end to the > draft. When draft registration was reinstated in 1980, massive > resistance and the failure of the government's attempts at > intimidation through show trials of registration resistance organizers > (including myself and other participants in the National Resistance > Committee, which was itself investigated and considered for possible > prosecution as a criminal conspiracy) forced the government to abandon > enforcement of the draft registration law, and no one has been > prosecuted for draft or registration resistance since 1987. So we know > that draft resistance has the power to stop the draft. But are we > prepared to resist the next attempt to bring back the draft? > > To every war, and to every draft, there has been, is, and will be > resistance. Each generation has its own reasons to resist, and finds > and forms its own organizations. I'm sure that new grassroots draft > resistance groups and networks are already forming, even if I and > other older draft resisters haven't yet heard about them. > > I was involved with the NRC throughout its life, and moved to San > Francisco in 1985 to take over as one of the editors of Resistance > News when Fred Moore (whose historical significance I've written about > in a separate article in Peacework magazine) left on one of his > extended peace walks. > > As the custodian of many of the archives (some have been sent to the > Swarthmore College Peace Collection),of the NRC, and Resistance News, > as well as many of the archives of earlier draft resistance > organizations that were passed on to us in the NRC, I'm trying to make > some of these materials available, in updated form, to those who might > not otherwise get this information and these points of view, and to > new generations of draft resisters. These leaflets and other materials > reflect the work and contributions of many people. Many members of the > NRC's core collectives are still in touch with each other. If you are > interested in making use of other draft resistance writings or > graphics from our archives, or talking with people who were active in > the draft resistance movement in the 1980's, please get in touch. > > Please use, modify, and distribute these materials freely and widely, > or use them to create your own, with your own ideas. I especially > encourage draft and registration counselors to make material > advocating draft resistance, like these leaflets, available to those > they counsel, to explain the reasons people like us have chosen to > resist registration and the draft, and why they might want to do so > too. If you don't feel comfortable advocating draft resistance -- > either because you don't want to take that legal risk, or because you > don't feel it appropriate to encourage other people to take a risk you > haven't taken yourself -- you can point people to this and other draft > resistance advocacy. > > This Web site is hosted in Canada, not in the USA. In Canada, the > privacy of information concerning visitors to this Web site is > protected by Canadian laws including the Personal Information > Protection and Electronic Documents Act. > > Reproduction or distribution of this literature in the USA might be > considered by some people, such as the Selective Service System and > the Department of (in)Justice, to be illegal. On the other hand, both > the draft itself, and the laws against advocating draft resistance or > conspiring to resist the draft might be considered to be > unconstitutional. And prosecutions for draft resistance advocacy or > conspiracy have, historically been even rarer (none at all since the > Vietnam War) and less successful than prosecutions for > nonregistration. But past performance is no guarantee of future returns. > > It's your life. Make your own decisions. If you'd like to talk to > someone who has made some of the same choices -- in a different era, > and in different circumstances, of course -- feel free to get in touch > with me. I'm always available to talk to individuals or groups, and to > do my best to put you in touch with others who can do likewise, about > the draft, draft registration, draft resistance, and the choices I've > made. I chose to resist, and while I've made many mistakes along the > way, I have no regrets about that choice to resist registration and > the draft, to refuse to register, to encourage others to do likewise, > and to join together with others to carry on our resistance."


  • Majority of material found within 1965-1987


Language of Material

Materials are in English.

Restrictions on Access

The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access Note

All or part of this collection is stored off-site. Contact Swarthmore College Peace Collection staff at at least two weeks in advance of visit to request boxes.

Copyright and Rights Information


Biographical Note

Edward Hasbrouck was born on January 11, 1960 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He attended high school in Wellesley and college at the University of Chicago (1977-1980). In 1980, when registration for the draft was reinstituted, he refused to register; shortly thereafter, he moved back to Massachusetts, where he was prosecuted in 1982 for refusing to register. Hasbrouck worked with the National Resistance Committee, its national journal Resistance News, and affiliated local organizations in Chicago, Boston, and the San Francisco Bay Area. In January 1983, he was put on probation because of his draft refusal and sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service. This sentence was revoked in November 1983 in favor of a six month prison term, which Hasbrouck served at the federal prison camp in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, from November 1983 to April 1984.He moved to San Francisco in 1985 to take over as one of the editors of "Resistance News." He continues to publish a draft resistance web site at

Hasbrouck has gone around the world three times. While updating the most recent edition of "The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World," he spent 13 months on an 80,000-mile trip through 28 countries on 6 continents. Hasbrouck has visited all 50 states of the USA, 8 Canadian provinces, and more than 60 other countries, travelling by foot, bicycle, train, bus, boat, car, taxi, rickshaw, donkey and pony cart, and on more than 60 different airlines. In recent years, he has bicycled thousands of miles across the USA, Canada, Europe, and Argentina.

Long active in peace and human rights organizations, Hasbrouck is an evangelist for travel as a positive force for global change. In addition to his travel books and articles for travel magazines, Hasbrouck has written for a variety of publications on peace, justice, and human rights. In 2021, he received a Social Courage Award from the Peace and Justice Studies Association “for exemplifying courage and honor in speaking truth to power”.


4.5 Linear Feet (4.5 linear ft.)


Edward Hasbrouck was born in 1960 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1980, when registration for the draft was reinstituted, he refused to register. Hasbrouck worked with the National Resistance Committee and affiliated local organizations. In June 1983, he was put on probation because of his draft refusal and sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service. This sentence was revoked in November 1983 in favor of a six month prison term, which Hasbrouck served at the federal prison camp in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, from November 1983 to April 1984.


This collection first documents the draft resistance of Edward Hasbrouck and other men in the early 1980s (in the U.S. and abroad), followed by files about events, by draft resistance groups, and other reference material.

Custodial History

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for these papers/records.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Edward Hasbrouck, 2000 [Acc. 00A-020]

Related Materials

For related materials, search the library's online catalog.

Legal Status

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.


Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2017: The biographical and scope/content notes were updated by Anne Yoder, Archivist, in April 2022

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