CPS Unit Number 043-04

CPS Unit Number 043-04

Camp: 43

Unit ID: 4

Title: St. Thomas

Operating agency: BSC

Opened: 1 1944

Closed: 4 1946


CPS Camp Number 43 Subunit 4, located in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, was operated by the Brethren Service Committee in cooperation with many local groups as well as with both island and U. S. government agencies that provided technical and other support. It opened in January 1944 and closed in April 1946. The work included community recreation, medical and community services.


See description of the relationship of this subunit to the full Castañer project by clicking on CPS Camp No. 43-01.

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Location Description:

The project work located on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, included community recreation, medical and community services carried out in cooperation with many local groups and island agencies with overall coordination by the Brethren Service Committee.  The unit opened in January 1944 and closed in April 1946.

Camp staff:

Director: Howard Gustafson

The people:

The men, some married, reported a variety of occupations and educational attainment when entering CPS.

The work:

Organized differently, the men and women became regular employees of the municipal unit where they worked.  At one point, the St. Thomas unit included a recreation worker in the Division of Public Playgrounds, a male nurse working with psychiatric patients in the Department of Health, a vocational training and manual arts instructor with the Department of Education, and a social worker (non-CPS) and cook-housekeeper. 


Others so assigned in the projects outside Castañer included three architects, a city planner, a tax expert, one who made artificial limbs and an epidemiologist.

Camp life:

As at Castañer, the Brethren Service Committee assumed fiscal responsibility for St. Thomas.


The unit was reduced to one man through demobilization at the time it closed. 


For more information on Brethren camps and camp life in Puerto Rico, 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, pp. 333-359.


For general information on 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 J. Kenneth Kreider, A Cup of Cold Water: The Story of Brethren Service. Elgin, IL: Brethren Press, 2001.


See also digital photo images of CPS and Voluntary Service work in Puerto Rico on the flikr website compiled by Tom Lehman at  http://www.flickr.com/photos/tlehman  Note the collections on Puerto Rico within the site:  Puerto Rico, 1940s-1950s (81 sets, some by CPS workers); Old Puerto Rico Photos & Postcards (4 sets); Puerto Rico Black & White (1 set); Art Gallery (2 sets).


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