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Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors Records

Identifier: SCPC-DG-073

Scope and Contents

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for the records of the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (previous name: CCCO/An Agency for Draft and Military Counseling). Much of this collection has not yet been processed (as of 2014).

Series I contains organizational records (1948-1980), including the constitution (1969) and meeting minutes of the executive committee, mostly complete from its founding in 1948 through 1969. Financial information spans the years 195l to 1973 and includes a fairly complete set of monthly statements (1955-1973) as well as audits and other scattered financial records.

Series II: Publications, Communications and Releases (1948-1980) contains CCCO-written material such as its "Handbook for Conscientious Objectors" (1952-1972), manuals for military and draft counselors (1969-1972), releases (1948-1980), and its annual brochures (undated), and other printed material. Three CCCO booklets were scanned in 2011 and may be accessed here: - Conscientious Objectors Under Selective Service, 1950 (September) - Conscientious Objectors Under Selective Service: Second Edition, 1951 (February) - Handbook for Conscientious Objectors: First Edition, 1952 (November)

In Series III: Staff Files (1956-1978), an attempt has been made to identify whose file it was. Staff persons included: George Willoughby, executive secretary (1956-1962), Arlo Tatum, national secretary (1962-1972), Robert Seeley, draft counselor and editor of the CCCO periodical News Notes (1968-1974), staff attorneys E. Curry First (1968-1973) and Jon Landau (1970-1977), and counselors and staff members Jeff Blom, Douglis Farnsworth, Steve Gulick, David Morrison, Robert Musil, GayenThompson, Ellen Wilkinson, and Irene Wren (1970-1978). Series IV: Reference contains an alphabetical-within-state file of Draft Counseling Centers used by CCCO, newsclippings (1945-1970), published legal briefs (1948-1968), Department of Defense material (1955-1974), and mail, reports, booklets, and papers from other organizations. The bulk of records acquired in the first three accessions originated in the early 1970s.

Series V: Case Files (1964-1978) comprises the bulk (71 ft.) of the collection. These were compiled by its draft and military counselors and contain counseling correspondence, records from the military, legal briefs, and court records. Included is a file (197l-1972) of Alan Saltzman, a California lawyer who litigated CO cases in cooperation with the CCCO. All material in Series V, as well as other specified boxes, contain information of a confidential nature about individuals who were counseled by CCCO staff. Thes files were restricted at the CCCO's request and may be used only with permission from CCCO. Contact the SCPC Curator for more information. . All boxes in this series are stored off-site.

Correspondents include all those whose names have already been listed as well as John Ginaven, Jerry Kinchy, A.J. Muste, Tom O'Brien, Jim Peck, Earle and Barbara Reynolds, and Norman Thomas. Most of the correspondence in these records is found in the case files.

These records (accs. 75A-067, 77A-058, 79A-066 only), were originally processed under NEH Grant No. RC 20111-81-1655.


  • Creation: 1948-2010


Language of Material

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Case files for individuals who consulted with the CCCO (Series V) are restricted indefinitely. Researchers using these materials must sign a form agreeing to anonymize personal information in any publications. For more information, contact the Swarthmore College Peace Collection at

Restricted materials include:

  1. Series III, box 14, file: Morrison, David: correspondence (regarding conscientious objectors and conscientious objector cases)
  2. Series III, box 23
  3. Series V, boxes 1-30
  4. Acc. 95A-036, boxes 24-31
  5. Acc. 02A-041, box 19, file: Confidential material

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.

Historical Note

CCCO/An Agency for Military and Draft Counseling was founded in August 1948 by a coalition of peace and civil liberties groups following passage of the Selective Service Act of 1948. Originally called the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO), this group sought to maintain the rights of those Americans who, because of ethical, moral, and religious beliefs, questioned violence and war as ways to solve international disputes. In its first annual report in 1949, CCCO stated its purposes: "We gave impetus and assistance to local communities in setting up counselling agencies and cash bail funds, in establishing a network of counsellors across the country, and in calling for legal advice in planning strategy for challenging the constitutionality of the Selective Service System." Early leadership of CCCO was provided by Ray Newton and A.J. Muste as co-chairmen, and by executive secretaries Caleb Foote, Lyle Tatum, George Willoughby, and Arlo Tatum.

With the outbreak of the Korean war in 1950 and Congressional extension of the draft act, CCCO increased its efforts to provide amnesty for draft violators and strengthened its support of draft counseling centers across the country. The first edition of the Handbook for Conscientious Objectors was published in 1952 and has since been a major CCCO tool in aiding draft and military resisters. In the mid-1950s, the CCCO extended its services not only to CO's but to those resisting war taxes and loyalty oaths as well. The escalation of hostility in Indochina during the 1960s created a surge in calls for CCCO services. Its Draft Counselors Manual aided the network of volunteer counselors, keeping them up to date and enabling them to advise young men and women of all alternatives to the draft, not only conscientious objection. As the numbers fighting in Vietnam grew, the CCCO became increasingly involved in military as well as draft problems. To reflect its broadened scope, it changed its name in 1969 to CCCO/An Agency for Military and Draft Counseling. The National Military Law and Counseling Program, based in its Western Regional Office in San Francisco, was created specifically to do research and advise men and women already in the Armed Forches about military laws, regulations and discharge procedures. In 1975, its was estimated that l0,000 people were counseled by CCCO.

After the Vietnam war, the CCCO's efforts focused on the issues of amnesty, discharges, repatriation, and counter-recruitment. The Taskforce on Recruitment and Militarism was organized in cooperation with other organizations to promote counter-recruitment. TASAW (Take a Stand Against War), begun in 1975, sought to give high school and college students information about draft choices to counter the Selective Service's registration campaigns. The CCCO called attention to the rights of African Americans and of women in the military, and continued its program of prison visitation to CO's. For a period, it was the nation's largest draft and military counseling agency. CCCO changed its name once more to the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors.

CCCO suspended operations in late October 2009. As of 2010, some of the counseling service was taken over by the GI Rights Hotline and the Center on Conscience and War.

Staff members who provided leadership for the CCCO include Michael Barba, David Collins, James Feldman, Jr., Bill Galvin, Jon Ginaven, John Judge, Jerry and Sue Kinchy, Jon Landau, Carol McNeill, Robert Musil, Bob Seeley, and Larry Spears.


90 linear ft. (90 linear feet.)


CCCO developed a nationwide network of military and draft counselors and attorneys to assist conscientious objectors. Most active during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the CCCO promoted such issues as amnesty, repatriation, and counter-recruitment.Operations were suspended in late October 2009. As of 2010, some of their counseling service has been taken over by the GI Rights Hotline.


Original Accessions (75A-067, 77A-058, 79A-066):

  1. Series I: Organization
  2. Series II: Publications, Communications and Releases
  3. Series III: Staff Files
  4. Series IV: Reference
  5. Series V: Case Files stored off-site; restrictions apply

Custodial History

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of CCCO, May 27, 1975 [acc. 75A-067]; 1977 [acc. 77A-044; acc. 77A-058]; September 4, 1979 [acc. 79A-066]; 1981 [acc. 81A-058]; 1984 [acc. 84A-063]; 1986 [acc. 86A-158]; 1987 [acc. 87A-030, acc. 87A-114, acc. 87A-144]; 1988 [CCCO: acc. 88A-028, acc. 88A-087, Bernard Lemann acc. 88A-076]; 1989 [acc. 89A-076]; 1990 [acc.90A-045, acc. 90A-093]; 1995 [acc. 95A-036]; 1996 [acc. 96A-038]; 2000 [acc. 00A-013, acc. 00A-021, acc. 00A-042]; 2002 [acc. 02A-041]; 2003 [acc. 03A-061]; 2008 [acc. 08A-054]; 2009 [acc. 09A-038, acc. 09A-060]; 2013 [Acc. 2013-024].

Related Materials

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

Separated Materials

  1. Moved to the Periodical Collection: CCCO's periodicals News Notes (1949-date), NOMLAC (Newsletter on Military Law and Counseling) (1960-1981), Counter-Pentagon, and The Objector.
  2. Moved to the Audiovisual Collection: Audio cassettes (123-127-Entries from "Interview a Vet" Contest)
  3. Moved to Memorabilia Collection: Puppet (entry for "Interview a Vet" Contest)

Bibliographic References

Guide to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, 2nd ed., p. 15.

Legal Status

Copyright to the CCCO records created by the organization has been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Copyright to all other materials is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

Finding Aids: checklist prepared by Martha P. Shane, November 1982; this finding aid created and added to by Archivist Anne M. Yoder, April 2011, April 2014; Finding aid updated by SCPC staff 2017-2018; and by Wendy E. Chmielewsk September 2018.

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 Min Cheng 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

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