CPS Unit Number 106-01

CPS Unit Number 106-01

Camp: 106

Unit ID: 1

Title: Lincoln Experiment Station

Operating agency: MCC

Opened: 5 1943

Closed: 10 1946


CPS Unit No. 106, an Agriculture Experiment Station unit located at the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station, College of Agriculture at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, opened in May 1943. Operated by Mennonite Central Committee, the unit closed in October 1946. Men worked on farms and conducted research in dairy, agronomy, horticulture, animal husbandry, and poultry.

Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
Location Description:

This first Mennonite unit at an agriculture experiment station, opened at the College of Agriculture at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln in May 1943 after the station requested help from CPS for its program to increase food production.  Some of the men in the unit worked in North Platte, Nebraska. 

Camp staff:

Directors: Arthur Balzer, Rueben Kliewer, Walter Wenger


Matrons: Mrs. Arthur Balzer, Alice Hostetler Loewen

The people:

While the unit was approved for thirty men, by October 1944 it had grown to thirty-nine.  As part of its agreement with the Agriculture College, MCC recruited and carefully selected men from Mennonite camps.  Some of the men were married, and their wives moved to the Lincoln area.


The majority of men in Mennonite camps and units reported at time of entering CPS denominational affiliation with various Mennonite groups. 


Fifty-nine percent of men in Mennonite camps reported farming or other agricultural work as their occupation upon entry into CPS.  Twelve percent reported technical or professional occupations; eleven percent reported business, sales and public administration work; and five percent reported that they were students.  (Sibley and Jacob p. 172)

The work:

The men performed farm work and research work in five departments.  Six of the men worked in the North Platte station area. 


At the main station in Lincoln, five men each worked in the dairy division, and the departments of agronomy, horticulture and animal husbandry; four men worked in the poultry department. 


Marvin L. Baker, professor of animal husbandry, in evaluating the work of the CPS men reported,

Generally, the men were capable workmen and did exceptionally well considering conditions.  They enabled us to continue with important work, whereas without them it would have been almost impossible to get the work done.  Naturally the men varied in ability and in the attitudes with which they approached their respective jobs.  (in Gingerich p. 182)

Camp life:

The men first lived in a large rooming house located at 1301 North Thirty-Third Street in Lincoln.  When the unit grew in size, they moved into a large fraternity house at 3605 Holdredge, near the Agricultural College campus.


The unit offered a farm and community school led by instructors from the Agricultural College and from “Mennonite colleges and churches west of the Mississippi”.  Esko Loewen served as educational director of the school.  The school provided courses and practical training for men planning to live and work in Christian rural communities. 


For information on Mennonite camps and units in agriculture, see Melvin Gingerich, Service for Peace: A History of Mennonite Civilian Public Service. Akron, PA: Mennonite Central Committee printed by Herald Press, Scottdale, PA, 1949, pp. 177-212.


For more information on women COs see Rachel Waltner Goossen, Women Against the Good War: Conscientious Objection and Gender on the American Home Front, 1941-47. Chapel Hill, NC:  The University of North Carolina Press, 1997.


See also Mulford Q. Sibley and Philip E. Jacob, Conscription of Conscience:  The American State and the Conscientious Objector, 1940-47. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1952.


Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Camp periodicals database.