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American Friends Service Committee: Civilian Public Service / Prison Service Committee Records

Identifier: SCPC-DG-002


Organized to provide alternative service for conscientious objectors, who were assigned "work of national importance under civilian direction; the historic peace churches (Church of the Brethren, Religious Society of Friends and the Mennonite Church) band ed together to form the National Service Board for Religious Objectors (NISBRO) which coordinated the civilian public service (CPS) program; the American Friends Service Committee administered seventeen CPS camps and over thirty special service units which provided an alternative service program for 3400 men between 1941 and 1946.


  • Creation: 1940-1947


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Parts 1, 2 and 4 are restricted. Researchers using the materials in these parts must sign a form agreeing to anonymize personal information in any publications. For more information, contact the Swarthmore College Peace Collection at

Physical Access Note

Part 2 this collection is stored off-site. Contact Swarthmore College Peace Collection staff at at least two weeks in advance of a research visit to request boxes.

Historical Note

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was set up in June 1917 as an outgrowth of and coordination point for the anti-war and relief activities of various bodies of the Religious Society of Friends in the United States. A co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947, the AFSC continues to work to relieve human suffering and to find new approaches to world peace and non-violent social change.


284 linear ft.


Part 1
CPS Administrative Files
Part 2
Case Files (includes medical files) of Men in CPS
Part 3
CPS Camp Periodicals
Part 4
AFSC Prison Service Committee Records
Part 5
Later Accessions
Reference lists of (A) CPS camps; (B) CPS project units; (C) religious denominations with number of men in CPS

Part 1 was reprocessed before 2020 in order to simplify the many series in the old arrangement and to remove files that came from the CPS camps and units. Part 1: Section I now contains administrative and program files, while the CPS camp/unit files are in Part 1: Section II.

It should be noted that the Covid-19 pandemic and other factors prohibited finishing the work needed, especially on Part 1: Section I. Most of that material is still in old 1940s folders and boxes(?). Some rearrangement of the material may still be necessary. Part 1: Section II was given greater attention and has been refoldered and reboxed, but most (all?) of the folders are still unlabeled.

Part 1: Section V was reprocessed in 2023.

Contact the Swarthmore College Peace Collection at for additional information.

Other Finding Aids

For the catalog record for this collection and to find materials on similar topics, search the library's online catalog.

Custodial History

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of E. Raymond Wilson and others, 1940- ; AFSC CPS Office and miscellaneous camp records, 1946-1947 (acc. 46-24, 46-38, 46-305, 46-306, 46-312 46-355,47-7, 47-56, 47-57, 47-60, and more)

Existence and Location of Originals

Most of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) records are stored at the AFSC archives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Swarthmore College Peace Collection serves as the repository for AFSC files from the World War II Civilian Public Service and the Prison Service Committee. It also holds a small manuscript collection of additional miscellaneous material from the AFSC [CDG-A: American Friends Service Committee].

Related Materials

  1. Center on Conscience and War [formerly called NSBRO and NISBCO] (DG 025)
  2. Civilian Public Service Union (DG 008)
  3. Civilian Public Service: Personal Papers and Collected Materials (DG 056)
  4. For information on holdings re: conscientious objection/objectors in the SCPC, see list.

Legal Status

Copyright is retained by the American Friends Service Committee, the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

Finding aid revised by Anne Yoder, August 2001, December 2023.

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

Revision Statements

  • 2018: The file list was standardized in Summer 2017 by Mary Olesnavich in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace. Tessa Chambers added the notes in Fall 2017.

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting repoductions from Swarthmore College Peace Collection Library

500 College Avenue
Swarthmore 19081-1399 USA US
610-328-8544 (Fax)