CPS Unit Number 119-01
Unit ID: 1
Operating agency: AFSC
Opened: 12 1943
Closed: 10 1946
CPS Unit No. 119, a Training School unit located in New Lisbon, New Jersey and operated by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), opened in December 1943. When the AFSC withdrew from CPS in March 1946, Selective Service operated the unit until it closed in October 1946. Men in the unit performed a variety of duties including cottage attendants, teachers, farm work, and supervisors of worker-patients.
State Training School was located in New Lisbon, New Jersey in a “somewhat inaccessible” area six miles from the nearest station where only two trains made stops each day. The school grounds were described as “rather attractive” even though the countryside “is a monotonously flat sand-scrub pine area”. (Westover March 1, 1944)
AFSC withdrew from the CPS program in the spring of 1946, after struggling with criticism from COs and war resisters objecting to its cooperation with the Selective Service. From spring 1946, Selective Service administered the unit until it closed in October 1946.
Men in Friends camps and units tended to report the greatest diversity in religious affiliation when entering CPS. A number in Friends camps reported no religious affiliation.
On average, men in Friends camps and units had completed 14.27 years of education, with sixty-eight percent reporting completion of some college, college graduation, or post graduate work. Forty-three percent of the men reported their occupation on entry to CPS as technical or professional work. (Sibley and Jacob pp. 171-72)
During the life of the unit, thirty-four men, all but one from CPS Unit No. 101, had served at the school. AFSC representatives communicated to Dr. Jones . . .”the idea that training for post-war rehabilitation work should be incorporated in the work assignments of the men in their free time. . . .” (Oct. 26, 1943)
The chief difference between mental health units and training schools lay in the type of patient admitted. Training schools were devoted to care of those whose mental conditions derived from hereditary factors, or for whom there was little or no hope for cure. The work in training schools was very similar to that in mental hospitals.
Dr. C. T. Jones, the Superintendent of the Training School Colony worked carefully with Huston Westover of AFSC to prepare for the CPS men who would form the unit. Westover met with Jones and George Tovey, assigned to the unit on detached service as a psychologist.
According to Westover, they talked over "a few indications that some employees might be getting on their high horses about the introduction of so sizeable a group of CPS men. . .and Dr. Jones is taking all possible steps to forestall any difficulty. He feels there will be no major troubles of any sort, and I am inclined to agree with him, if our men do their job well. . . . George Tovey explained to me some details on the set-up of the institution: Dr. Jones rules with a strong hand and therefore is consistently at odds with some of his subordinates. We must be very careful that none of our men through contact with the subordinates, follow their lead in this respect.” (Westover August 27, 1943)
In a visit a month later, Westover found the fifteen men “at work on various jobs at the institution, quite well adjusted to their work, and having been introduced . . .’without a ripple’. . . . Men have been placed on their individual assignments very carefully by Dr. Jones, always on a trial basis at first so if a man did not fit well he could be moved to something else. . .. The men are doing everything from giving intelligence tests to cleaning out the chicken coops. They have entered on the entire project with very commendable zeal. . . .” (Westover September 29, 1943)
“The work pattern for those in the unit at the New Lisbon Training School is a typical example of those in other similar CPS units. Six of the men have half-day teaching assignments—two in physical education, two in music, one in handicrafts, and one each in the three ‘R’s and woodwork. Eight of the men work on the farm, supervising the worker-patients. Two others conduct psychological tests which the others are employed in the laundry, the hospital, the supervisor’s office, the recreational program, and as cottage attendants.” (NSBRO The Reporter, July 15, 1944 in Sareyan pp. 77-78)
CPS men received the usual cash allowance of $15/month.
Assistant Director Marshall Sutton wrote to Westover shortly after his arrival regarding his first impressions of the camp (see "Letter from Marshall Sutton to J. Huston Westover, August 1943" as listed under "Other Materials").
Sutton also reported on a trip with Dr. Jones to the State Teachers’ College to use the library facilities.
Soon we will have a very complete library here at New Lisbon . . . . Miss Rogers, the head librarian at the State Library seemed quite concerned about the Conference on Conscription at Pendle Hill. She said that she had heard over the radio that pacifists wanted to stop farmers from raising food for the army and civilians and that there was a group of pacifists called Mennonites that wanted to raise food but only for themselves. . . . After she helped me find some of the books I wanted she suggested that I read "The Peace We Fight For." (Sutton to Westover Oct. 26, 1943)
In an article for The Reporter, George Loveland wrote, “With but one exception, all of the New Lisbon unit are former [Camp/unit] 101 men. To facilitate further study the Superintendent has assigned each man to half day assignments to allow work in language study in French or German, area study reports, [and] relief problems. The AFSC has sent down a number of excellent speakers on relief work. Studies relating to the work of the Colony are ongoing too . . . All of these studies go on in addition to the 50-70 hour work week.”
Mss. Article for The Reporter by George Loveland, undated. Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Center on Conscience and War Records (DG025), Section 1, Series C1, Box 135,as compiled by Anne Yoder, Archivist.
See 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 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.
Mss. Report “Survey of New Lisbon – Project and Unit, CPS #92,” Oct. 26, 1943. Swarthmore College Peace Collection, American Friends Service Committee: Civilian Public Service Records (DG002), Section 1, Box 42b as compiled by Anne Yoder, Archivist.
Letters to J. Huston Westover from Marshall Sutton, Aug. 30, 1943. Swarthmore College Peace Collection, American Friends Service Committee: Civilian Public Service Records (DG002) Section 1, Box 42b, as compiled by Anne Yoder, Archivist.
Memo from J. Huston Westover, August 27, 1943. Swarthmore College Peace Collection, American Friends Service Committee: Civilian Public Service Records (DG002) Section 1, Box 42b, as compiled by Anne Yoder, archivist.
Reports of visits to State Colony by J. Huston Westover, September 29, 1943 and March 1, 1944. Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Center on Conscience and War Records (DG025) Section 1, Service C1, Box 135, as compiled by Anne Yoder, archivist.
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.