CPS Unit Number 040-01

CPS Unit Number 040-01

Camp: 40

Unit ID: 1

Operating agency: MCC

Opened: 6 1942

Closed: 6 1943


CPS Camp No. 40, a Soil Conservation Service base camp located near Howard, Pennsylvania and operated by Mennonite Central Committee, opened in June 1942 and closed in June 1943. The men operated the Howard Nursery of the Soil Conservation Service.

Howard, Pennsylvania, United States
Location Description:

Located in the center of the state near Howard, Pennsylvania, this camp was one of the smaller Mennonite soil conservation camps.

Camp staff:

Directors: Ralph Hernley, Jesse Short

The people:

The camp had the capacity for fifty men.


The men in Mennonite Central Committee operated camps tended to report on entry into CPS denominational affiliation with predominantly Mennonite groups.  Many also came from rural settings or small towns.


Fifty-nine percent reported their occupations upon entry into CPS as farming or other agricultural work.  On average, men in Mennonite camps had completed 10.45 years of education, with twenty-two percent having completed one or more years of college or graduated, or enrolled in graduate or postgraduate work. (Sibley and Jacob pp. 171-172)

The work:

The men kept the Howard Nursery of the Soil Conservation Service operating during the period of high labor shortage.  According to Gingerich, men spent the early months weeding some thirteen million seedlings in the nursery.  They collected seeds, landscaped and developed sites for planting.

Camp life:

The camp life lasted one year since men began transferring to hospitals and other special projects.  A number of men from this camp transferred to the Delaware State Hospital at Farmhurst, Delaware. 


From September 1942 through April 1943, the men published a camp paper Howard Nursery Views.


For more information on Mennonite soil conservation camps 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 X pp. 108-124.


For general information on CPS camps 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, 1940-1947. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1952.


Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Camp periodicals database.