CPS Unit No. 147, a Mental Hospital unit located at Tiffin State Institute in Tiffin, Ohio operated by Mennonite Central Committee, opened in June 1945 and closed in November 1945. Men served on the farm and performed maintenance work. Several wives worked at the hospital.
Director: Dwight Weldy
Twenty men served in the unit, some of them married. Five wives worked at the hospital.
When the hospital completed the transformation from the care of epileptics to care of mental patients, the unit closed. The members of the unit then transferred to Medaryville, Indiana, CPS Camp No. 28.
Men in Mennonite camps and units, when entering CPS reported religious affiliation with various Mennonite denominational groups.
On average they had completed 10.45 years of education when entering CPS, with fifteen percent having completed one-three years of college. Another seven percent had either graduated from college or completed some graduate education. Fifty-nine percent reported their occupations on entry into CPS as farming or other agriculture work. Twenty-three percent when entering CPS reported occupations in technical and professional work or business management, sales and public administration (Sibley and Jacob p. 171-72)
The hospital served epileptics when it began, but became a mental hospital in 1945. Patients were transferred in from Ohio mental hospitals.
CPS assignees served on the farm and performed maintenance work. None of the men worked as ward attendants. Several wives worked at the hospital. Two prepared food, two others were in charge of the laundry, and one served as a matron in the unit.
CPS men received no salary for their service. Mental hospitals provided room and board and the church agencies provided a small monthly allowance. Their wives, when working for the hospital, received regular employee wages, since they did not fall under Selective Service regulations.
Unit members lived in two cottages, each with their own kitchen and dining room, a reading room and an enclosed porch.
Assistant director Weldy led a music school at the unit, creating a well balanced chorus. In off duty hours, the men spent a good deal of time practicing, in voice training and music classes. On the first and third Sundays, the men presented programs in the area churches.
For more information on Mennonite mental hospital and training school units, 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, Chapter XVI pp. 213-251.
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 Alex Sareyan, The Turning Point: How Persons of Conscience Brought About Major Change in the Care of America’s Mentally Ill. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1994.
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.
For more in depth treatment of mental health and training school units see Steven J. Taylor, Acts of Conscience: World War II, Mental Institutions, and Religious Objectors. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2009.