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Charles Schumacher Collected Papers


Held at: Swarthmore College Peace Collection [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore 19081-1399

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Charles Schumacher was born in Bluffton (Ohio) in 1919. His college degree was in chemical engineering; he later earned an M.S. in chemistry at the University of Akron (Ohio). He married Mary Koontz on January 28, 1950; they had five children. Schumacher, a member of the General Conference Mennonite Church, chose conscientious objector status during WWII. He entered Civilian Public Service on January 24, 1944 and served at three different locations: at CPS Camp #28 in Medaryville (Inidiana) for about 6 months; at CPS Camp #103 in Missoula (Montana) where he worked as a smokejumper with the U.S. Forest Service for about 2 years; and at CPS Camp #141 in Gulfport (Mississippi). Most of his collection of papers is made up of correspondence from his men and women friends during the years he was in CPS. While in the Smokejumpers unit, he met Helen Brunner, a graduate student in music at the University of Washington. Brunner, who was from West Linn (Oregon), became his fiancée and they were planning to marry on August 4, 1945, in spite of stiff resistance from her mother who hated Schumacher for being a conscientious objector. According to Schumacher, Brunner's mother faked a heart attack the day before the scheduled wedding, and because of her it was never rescheduled, in spite of pleas from Schumacher for several years. Brunner started teaching music in 1945; she never married and took care of her mother throughout her life. Brunner, born in 1919, died just five days after her mother, on April 10, 1986. After Schumacher's wife died, he found a packet of letters from Brunner in his attic and decided to institute a search for her, but she had already died as well. Schumacher's first job after CPS was as a chemical engineer for Firestone in their synthetic rubber plant in Akron (OH). After his marriage, he moved to San Francisco (California) and worked for 35 years as a project engineer / manager on chemical and refinery projects for American Bechtel Co. This included several long stints in Australia, London (England), Saudi Arabia, and in Qatar. He currently resides in Snohomish (Washington).

These papers include biographical information; correspondence, 1930-1948; and photographs. Most of this collection consists of correspondence from Schumacher's friends during the years he was in Civilian Public Service.

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is the official repository for these papers/records.

Gift of Charles Schumacher, 2003 (acc. 03A-024, 03A-038)

For the catalog record for this collection, and to find materials on similar topics, search the library's online catalog

Processed by SCPC staff; checklist prepared by Anne Yoder, Archivist, in March 2003; added to May 2007.

Photos of friends and of other CPS camps were removed to Photograph Collection.

Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research use.

All or part of this collection is stored off-site. Contact Swarthmore College Peace Collection staff at at least two weeks in advance of visit to request boxes.

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Use Restrictions


Collection Inventory

Biographical information.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Draft registration and assignments.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Letter of recommendation for sailing to Europe with UNRRA project, 1946.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Photocopies of photos of CPS Camp #141 (Gulfport, Mississippi) and of UNRRA trip to Poland.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Scope and Contents

originals removed to Photograph Collection

Financial records, 1940s.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Financial records: donations to CARE, 1941-1948.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Search for Helen Brunner; her obituary; "letters of closure" written by Schumacher, ca. 1999-2002.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Search for Margot Taylor; letters from her; her obituary, 1999-2001.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Reference material.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Reference material: smokejumping.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Outgoing correspondence, 1944.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Outgoing correspondence, 1946-1948.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Notes re: Ralph Spicer letters and photographs.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Incoming correspondence: Helen Brunner, 1945 (January-December); June 14, 1946 - 1947 (December).
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Incoming correspondence: Egan Formanns (from Germany), 1947-1950.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Incoming correspondence: Ralph and Inge Spicer, 1946-1947.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Scope and Contents

see also Incoming correspondence: general

Incoming correspondence: Margot Taylor, 1945-1948.
Box 1 [off-site SCPC-5742]
Incoming correspondence: general, 1930-1942.
Box 2 [off-site SCPC-5743]
Incoming correspondence: general, 1943 - 1944 (October).
Box 3 [off-site SCPC-5744]
Incoming correspondence: general, 1944 (November) - 1946.
Box 4 [off-site SCPC-5745]
Incoming correspondence: general, 1947-1948.
Box 5 [off-site SCPC-5746]

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