CPS Unit Number 074-01
Unit ID: 1
Title: Eastern Shore State Hospital
Operating agency: ABHMS
Opened: 12 1942
Closed: 7 1946
CPS Unit No. 74, a Mental Hospital unit located at Eastern Shore State Hospital in Cambridge, Maryland operated by the Brethren Service Committee, opened in December 1942 and closed in July 1946. From November 15, 1944 to March 1, 1946, the American Baptist Home Mission Society administered the unit. The majority of the men served as ward attendants.
Men in Brethren Service Committee units tended to report a mix of Brethren and non-Brethren denominational affiliations when entering CPS.
Some of the men were married.
On average, men in Brethren camps and units had completed 12.22 years of education when entering CPS. About eighteen percent reported technical and professional occupations upon entry into the program, while twenty-nine percent reported farming or other agricultural work. (Sibley and Jacob pp. 171-172)
The majority of the men served as ward attendants, although some also served in clerical, agricultural, maintenance and construction, motor vehicle operation, technical and professional or food preparation roles.
Of the 11,623 person hours performed during the life of the unit at Eastern Shore State Hospital, ward attendants provided 9,145 hours while those serving in food preparation contributed 1,027 hours of service. (Selective Service form DSS 52 as published in Eisan p. 212)
Eastern Shore State Hospital COs worked sixty-three hours per week in 1944, reduced to fifty hours per week in 1945.
A description of the Eastern Shore State Hospital unit when operated by the Baptist Home Mission Society let it be known that “other employees are not in sympathy with the conscientious objector’s stand, but they are cooperative and friendly”. (Taylor p. 190)
The men published a camp newspaper called White Coat beginning in October 1943 and continuing through June 1944.
The CPS men lived in single or double rooms in the hospital. The hospital provided some housing for married COs.
For 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.
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.
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.
Swarthmore College Peace Collection CPS, Camp periodicals database.
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.