CPS Camp Number 138
Technical Agency: Soil Conservation Service<
CPS Camp No. 138, a Soil Conservation Service camp organized in three smaller units at three different Nebraska sites, and operated by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), opened in October 1944 and closed in December 1946. MCC purchased two eighty-acre farms southeast and northwest of Lincoln. The third unit was located in a United States Government regional nursery west of Omaha.
MCC wanted to experiment with smaller units, not only to make better use of men’s technical skills, but also to assist men to develop a personal philosophy of Christian living. As at the units in CPS Camp No. 24 in Washington County, Maryland, MCC and The National Service Board of Religious Advisers wanted to learn whether smaller units would be desirable should peace-time conscription be enacted. On November 16 and 17, 1944, the camp hosted a conference for Farm and Community School leaders in CPS.
The majority of men in the Mennonite camps and units tended to report Mennonite denominational affiliations when entering CPS. Fifty-nine percent of men in Mennonite camps and units reported farming or other agricultural occupations at time of entry into CPS. On average, men in Mennonite camps and units had completed 10.45 years of education, with fifteen percent have completed one-three years of college and another seven percent having graduated from college or completed some postgraduate education. (Sibley and Jacob pp. 171-72)
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.
For general information on the work and life in CPS camps and units, see Albert N. Keim, The CPS Story: An Illustrated History of Civilian Public Service. Intercourse, PA: Good Books 1990.
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.