Prisoner Visitation and Support Records
Scope and Contents
This collection was partially processed by the archivist in 2006. The material came in looking like it was in good order, but it was discovered that the folder titles rarely matched what was in the folders themselves. This necessitated sorting nearly everything into new folders. Some prisoner correspondence was already designated as such before its arrival at the SCPC, but a great deal was also found mixed throughout the rest of the collection. This was removed and put with the rest of the correspondence to/from/about prisoners. It should be noted that these files include prisoners in state and local prisons, though the PVS dealt primarily with people in federal prisons.
The 2006 accessions are almost entirely from the files of Robert (Bob) and Kay Horton. Because the PVS expects to send more of its files to the SCPC, some of which may be incorporated into the current holdings, no final labeling of the folders has been done.
Two 1994 videorecordings were removed to the Audiovisual Collection: "PVS, Reaching Behind Prison Bars" (videorecording 0375 (VHS) and 0618 (DVD), and "Prisoner Visitation and Support Presents: Fay Honey Knopp Speaks About Prison and PVS" (videorecording [DVD] ___).
See also the records of the Center on Conscience and War (DG 025) for its NISBCO files on PVS in box 1080 (25th annivesary, 1988; board meetings, 1976-1986) and box 1081 (varied material, 1970s; correspondence, 1974).
- Majority of material found within 1952-1991
- Prisoner Visitation Service (1968-1971) (Organization)
Language of Materials
Materials are in English.
Limitations on Accessing the Collection
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 email@example.com at least two weeks in advance of visit to request boxes.
Copyright and Rights Information
Prisoner Visitation Service was founded in April 1968 to serve the increasing numbers of GIs who were resisting the Vietnam War and were being sent to brigs and stockades for their acts of conscience. The founding group included Rev. Robert Horton, a retired Methodist minister with years of prison visitation experience, as well as representatives from the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, the American Friends Service Committee, the National Interreligious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors, and the War Resisters League. Later at least thirteen additional groups, including eight major denominational organizations, joined in sponsoring PVS's activities. Over the years, PVS staff and volunteers visited or wrote to thousands of men and women in military and civilian stockades and prisons. To reflect a growing outreach to prisoners who were not necessarily military objectors, the name of the organization was changed to Prisoner Visitation and Support in 1971. New emphases included coordination with other prison groups, raising awareness about prisons, training prison visitors, providing contact for prisoners with their families and others, and producing literature about PVS's efforts and interests. A 1974 Statement of Purpose states: "Our program is built on love and respect for the prisoners, affirming their basic humanity, as well as relating to prison administrators and staff in the same spirit. Our conscious orientation is a belief in, and commitment to, the power and centrality of non-violence."
24 Linear Feet (24 linear ft.)
- Brown / Corson / Knopp
- Hortons: Personal Correspondence
- Prisoner Visitation and Support Correspondence
- Book re: Conscientious Objectors and Other War Resisters
- Visitation of Military Prisoners
- Support Efforts for Prisoners (Organized by Prison)
- Prison Visitation: General
- Records of Prison Visits
- Eric Corson: Correspondence re: Prison Visitor Recruitments, approximately 1979-1986
- Prison Visitors
- Prisoner Correspondence
- Re-File Box: Miscellaneous material received
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated 2006 [accs. 06A-025, 06A-029], 2014 [acc. 2014-078], 2016 [acc. 2016-097], 2017 [acc. 2017-086], 2018 [acc. 2018-061]
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Collection processed and checklist prepared by Anne M. Yoder in June 2006 and June 2015.
- Brown, David Wesley
- Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors
- Church work with prisoners -- Society of Friends
- Church work with prisoners -- United States
- Conscientious objectors -- United States -- History -- Sources
- Corson, Eric
- Horton, Kay
- Horton, Robert, 1900-1991
- Knopp, Fay Honey
- Methodist Church -- Clergy -- History -- Sources
- Prison chaplains -- United States -- History -- Sources
- Prison reformers -- United States
- Prison visits -- United States
- Prisoner Visitation Service (1968-1971)
- Prisoner Visitation and Support (1971-)
- United States. Bureau of Prisons
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Conscientious objectors -- United States
- Prisoner Visitation Service (1968-1971) (Organization)
- Prisoner Visitation and Support (1971-) (Organization)
- Brown, David Wesley (Correspondent, Person)
- Clausen, Russell (Correspondent, Person)
- Corson, Eric (Correspondent, Person)
- Horton, Robert, 1900-1991 (Correspondent, Person)
- Horton, Kay (Correspondent, Person)
- Knopp, Fay Honey (Correspondent, Person)
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 2018: The file list was standardized in Summer 2017 by Min Cheng in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace. Elisabeth Miller added the notes in Fall 2017.
Find It at the Library
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