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No-Conscription Fellowship Collected Records

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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

The No-Conscription Fellowship began in the autumn of 1914 when A. Fenner Brockway, at the suggestion of his wife, wrote a letter inviting all who were prepared personally to resist conscription to communicate with him; this letter was published in the Labour Leader and by Nov. 1914, the NCF was launched. The 300 or so original members elected the first committee, which included Brockway, Clifford Allen (Lord Allen of Hurtwood) and C.H. Norman. In the early days, the cottage of the Brockways was the Fellowship's headquarters, with his wife doing nearly all of the secretarial work. By early 1915, however, the membership had grown so large that it was necessary to open an office in London, where Allen was largely responsible for the NCF's organization and activities. When compulsory registration was enforced in Aug. 1915, the members of the NCF issued a common statement, expressing their determination not to serve in the military or to be involved in war work. When the first Military Service Bill was introduced, the NCF distributed over a million leaflets and organized hundreds of meetings. It had ten thousand members, with branches established all over the country. Prominent people involved with the NCF included Walter Ayles, H. Runham Brown, Bertrand Russell, Henry Hodgkin and Edith Ellis.

During the three year period when conscription was enforced in Great Britain, the NCF was the only organization which presented an unceasing and unequivocal opposition to the war. It worked in cooperation with the Independent Labour Party, the Society of Friends, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and other pacifist groups. It maintained contact with the hundreds of men who resisted conscription, many of whom had been arrested and imprisoned, and frequently arranged for their defense in court, provided for their dependents in cases of need, and sponsored through sympathetic M.P.s the discussion, in the House of Commons, of the COs' treatment in the prisons and camps. The NCF earned a national reputation, and with its highlighting of the position and treatment of the COs it created sufficiently fertile ground for the No More War Movement in 1921. Many of the leaders of the NCF went on to positions of national leadership, some in Parliament.

In 1919, the Conscription Act was repealed and all imprisoned COs were gradually released. The final convention of the NCF was held in Nov. 1919, at which time it was decided to disband, leaving three committees to carry on various aspects of the NCF's mission (the Anti-Conscription Committee, the Pacifist Committee, and the Committee to Oppose Military Training in Schools); these ceased to exist within a year or two.

This collection consists primarily of printed publications such as pamphlets, flyers, handbills, and periodicals.

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is not the official repository for these papers/records.

Yes, microfilm Reel 9 (periodical "The Tribunal" only)

Unknown; There are no provenance notes in the SCPC office files to state the source of this small collection of NCF files. It is likely that they were removed from the papers of William Hull and A. Fenner Brockway and combined in the early days of the Peace Collection.

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

Collection processed and checklist completed by Anne M. Yoder, Archivist March 2005

The "C.O.'s Hansard" #1-90, 1916-1919 and "The Tribunal" #1-182 (London, England), 1916-1920 [also on microfilm reel 9] were removed to the Periodical Collection.

Publisher
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Access Restrictions

None.

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

None.

Collection Inventory

General; history.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: miscellaneous material, 1914-1915.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: pamphlet "Christianity A Danger to the State" by Laurence Housman, 1914.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: miscellaneous material, 1916.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: pamphlet "Conscription and Conscience: Presidential Address by Clifford Allen to the National Convention of the No-Conscription Fellowship, November 27th, 1915," 1916, 1916.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: pamphlet "Rex v. Bertrand Russell: Report of the Proceedings Before the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House Justice Room, 5 June 1916", 1916.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: pamphlet "The Out-And-Outer" by Miles Malleson, 1916 (September), 1916.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: pamphlet "A C.O. In Prison" by W.J. Chamberlain, 1916, 1916.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: pamphlet "Why I Am A Conscientious Objector: Being Answer to the Tribunal Catechism" by Walter Ayles, A. Fenner Brockway, A. Barratt Brown, Clement Bundock, J.H. Hudson, R.O. Mennell and Hubert Peet, 1916.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: miscellaneous material, 1917-1918.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: pamphlet "Scraps of Paper: An Examination of Government Pledges With Regard to Conscientious Objectors and the Present Position of 1,137 Men in Prison," ca. 1917-1918, 1917-1918.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: 2 pages of graphics/cartoons from "The News Sheet", 1917.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: flyer "Conscientious Objectors: The 'Absolutists' and the 'Ungenuines.' The Present Position and a Suggestion", 1917 (March).
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: miscellaneous material, 1919-1920.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: pamphlet "Agenda of the National Convention, Saturday and Sunday, November 29th and 30th, 1919, at the Friends' Meeting House, Devonshire House, Bishopsgate, E.C.", 1919-1920.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: pamphlet "The No-Conscription Fellowship: A Souvenir Of Its Work During the Years 1914-1919", 1919-1920.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: miscellaneous material.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: pamphlet "Studies For Pacifists: A Guide to Reading" by A. Barratt Brown.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: pamphlet "The Court-Martial Friend and Prison Guide".
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: pamphlet "The Failure of War" by H.P. Adams.
Box 1
Programmatic efforts and publications: pamphlet "Pacifism As A Practical Policy" by H.P. Adams.
Box 1
Croyden Branch: handwritten booklet of meeting minutes, 1916, 1916.
Box 1
Croyden Branch: handwritten "Report of Associates Committee, Work Between March 11 and May 15th, 1916", 1916 (March 11-May 15).
Box 1
Croyden Branch: handwritten list "Present Position of Single Men, December 1916", 1916 (December).
Box 1
Croyden Branch: handwritten list "Court-Martials, February 1917 to February 1918", 1917 (February) - 1918 (February).
Box 1
Manchester C.O. Journal, 1918 (July), 1918 (November), 1919 (January), 1919 (March).
Box 1

Print, Suggest