CPS Unit Number 070-01
Unit ID: 1
Title: Dayton State Hospital
Operating agency: BSC
Opened: 10 1943
Closed: 6 1946
CPS Unit No. 70, a Mental Hospital unit at Dayton State Hospital in Dayton, Ohio operated by the Brethren Service Committee, opened in October 1943 and closed in June 1946. The majority of the men served as ward attendants.
Dayton State Hospital, caring for approximately eighteen hundred patients, was located in Dayton, Ohio.
Superintendent Dr. E. L. Hooper recruited some of the men from the CPS Camp No. 30 at Walhalla, Michigan. He wrote Vernon Stinebaugh, the Assistant Director and educational director at Walhalla, requesting ten men, and described the hospital as “located in a beautiful setting within the corporate limits of Dayton and we fear no contradiction in saying that it compares favorably with the other institutions of this and the other states” (in Taylor p. 177).
In general, men in Brethren camps tended to report a mix of religious affiliations when entering CPS, with about half identifying Brethren affiliation. Men in Brethren camps on average had completed 12.22 years of education, with thirty-nine percent having completed some college work, graduated from college, or completed post graduate education. Eighteen percent reported technical or professional occupations on entry into CPS while twenty-nine percent report farming or other agricultural work. (Sibley and Jacob pp. 171-172)
The majority of the men served as ward attendants. Others served roles in clerical, agricultural, maintenance and construction, motor vehicle operation, technical and professional, as well as in food preparation areas.
Of the 12,950 person hours accomplished during the life of the unit at Dayton State Hospital, ward attendants provided 4,988 hours, while those serving in clerical roles gave 1,717 hours, in food preparation gave 2,679 hours, and those in agriculture contributed 2,032 hours of service. (Selective Service form DSS 52 as published in Eisan p. 212)
During the fall of 1945, five unit members enrolled in coursework. Two took work at the University of Dayton, two at the YMCA College, and one at the Miami-Jacobs College.
For more information on Brethren mental health and training school units see Leslie Eisan, Pathways of Peace: A History of the Civilian Public Service Program Administered by the Brethren Service Committee. Elgin, IL: Brethren Publishing House, 1948, Chapter 6, pp. 205-238.
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.
Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Camp periodicals database.
For an in depth history of conscientious objection in the United States, see Mulford Q. Sibley and Philip E. Jacob, Conscription of Conscience: The American State and the Conscientious Objector, 1940-1947. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1952.
For more in depth treatment of the 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.