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National Council Against Conscription 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 National Council Against Conscription (NCAC), an outgrowth of the National Council Against Peacetime Conscription Now (which was founded in 1945 and merged into the Nation Council Against Conscription), had its first official meeting on December 13, 1945 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mordecai Johnson was elected as the first chairman pro tem, and Walter Sikes as secretary. In February 1946, Carlyle Adams was approved as Director and Sikes as Associate Director, with headquarters in the Witherspoon Building in Philadelphia. In April 1946, Adams resigned, and Sikes was appointed Interim Director. In June 1946, Sikes resigned; in December 1946, John Swomley Jr. became the Acting Director, and was appointed the Director in October 1947 and stayed in that position until the Nation Council Against Conscription disbanded in December 1959. Members of the Administrative Committee (i.e., Board of Directors) included Alonzo Myers, George Buttrick, Francis McGuire, Elsie Elfenbein, Ray Newton, Mildred Scott Olmsted, Denis Cardinal Dougherty, and Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick.

Swomley was the editor of Conscription News, which was begun in November 1944 while he was still working for the Fellowship of Reconciliation; when he became the director of the Nation Council Against Conscription in 1947, it took over the sponsorship of the newsletter. The newsletter ceased being published in December 1959 when the Nation Council Against Conscription disbanded.

The Nation Council Against Conscription worked to defeat various legislative measures which promoted universal military training and peacetime conscription, by lobbying Congress, public speaking, publishing detailed analyses of proposed legislation, corresponding with magazine and newspaper editors about their coverage of Universal Military Training, and producing literature on the subject. It also worked on related issues such as international cooperation, disarmament, conscription, militarism, disarmament, racism, the United Nations, and prevention of war.

Correspondents include Frank Aydelotte, Bruce Barton, Charles F. Boss Jr., Louis Bromfield, Henry J. Cadbury, Roscoe S. Conkling, John Dewey, Albert Einstein, Harry Emerson Fosdick, John Haynes Holmes, Ray Newton, Richard W. Reuter, Eleanor Roosevelt, John M. Swomley, and E. Paul Weaver.

This collection includes meeting minutes, correspondence, publicity material, literature and reference material.

The records of the National Council Against Conscription are organized into the following series: Series A. general adimistrative records; Series B. correspondence; Series C. outreach; Series D. program work; and Series E. reference material.

Guide to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, 2nd ed., p. 44.

Gift of National Council Against Conscription, 1960.

Collection re-processed and checklist revised by Anne Yoder in September, 2002. This finding aid was prepared by Chloe Lucchesi- Malone, August 2009. This finding was updated by Wendy E. Chmielewski, Devember 2019.

  1. Some material that came from John Swomley and reflects his work before joining the Nation Council Against Conscription was removed to his personal collection (CDGA: Swomley) in September 2002.
  2. "Way of Life" ["How to Defend a Way of Life"] [filmstrip]
  3. "Good for Your Boy?" ["Would UMT Be Good For Your Boy?"] [filmstrip]
  4. "Security?" ["Would UMT Bring Security?"] [filmstrip]
  5. "How to Defend a Way of Life" [phonodisc]
  6. "Would UMT Be Good For Your Boy?" [phonodisc]
  7. "Would UMT Bring Security?" [phonodisc]

Phonodiscs (33 and 1/3 RPM) from Series "Must Your Son Be A Soldier?"

Publisher
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 peacecollection@swarthmore.edu at least two weeks in advance of visit to request boxes.

Copyright to the National Council Against Conscription records created by the organization has been transferred to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. Copyright to all other materials is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Use Restrictions

None.

Collection Inventory

Archival Resource Key. History and purpose.
Box 1 [SCPC-6879]
Archival Resource Key. Meeting minutes [incomplete set?], 1945-1955.
Box 1 [SCPC-6879]
Archival Resource Key. Financial records.
Box 1 [SCPC-6879]
Archival Resource Key. Officers / Executive Group / Members / Sponsors lists.
Box 1 [SCPC-6879]
Archival Resource Key. Directors' reports.
Box 1 [SCPC-6879]
Archival Resource Key. National Council Against Conscription Youth Division, 1948-1953.
Box 1 [SCPC-6879]

Archival Resource Key. Correspondence re: suggestions for people to serve on National Committee, 1944.
Box 1 [SCPC-6879]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence re: suggestions for people to serve on National Committee, 1945, n.d.
Box 1 [SCPC-6879]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with Sponsors / Members, 1945-1947.
Box 1 [SCPC-6879]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with Sponsors / Members, 1948-1950.
Box 1 [SCPC-6879]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with Sponsors / Members, 1951-1959.
Box 1 [SCPC-6879]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with Members, 1945.
Box 1 [SCPC-6879]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with Members, 1946.
Box 1 [SCPC-6879]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with Members, 1947-1959, n.d.
Box 1 [SCPC-6879]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with Executive Group / Committee.
Box 2 [SCPC-6880]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with/about General Herbert C. Holdridge.
Box 2 [SCPC-6880]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence: general, 1944 (November) - 1945 (October).
Box 2 [SCPC-6880]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence: general, 1945 (November).
Box 2 [SCPC-6880]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence: general, 1945 (December).
Box 2 [SCPC-6880]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence: general, 1946.
Box 2 [SCPC-6880]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence: general, 1947.
Box 2 [SCPC-6880]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence: general, 1948.
Box 2 [SCPC-6880]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence: general, 1949.
Box 2 [SCPC-6880]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence: general, 1950.
Box 2 [SCPC-6880]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence: general, 1951.
Box 3 [SCPC-6881]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence: general, 1952-1953.
Box 3 [SCPC-6881]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence: general, 1954.
Box 3 [SCPC-6881]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence: general, 1955.
Box 3 [SCPC-6881]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence: general, 1957-1959.
Box 3 [SCPC-6881]
Scope and Contents

1956 missing

Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with Congress, 1945-1947.
Box 3 [SCPC-6881]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with Congress, 1948-1951.
Box 3 [SCPC-6881]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with Congress, 1952-1959.
Box 3 [SCPC-6881]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with magazine / newspaper editors, 1945-1946.
Box 3 [SCPC-6881]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with magazine / newspaper editors, 1947-1949.
Box 3 [SCPC-6881]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with magazine / newspaper editors, 1950-1955.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence etc. re: charges against National Council Against Conscription of being communist, 1947-1948.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence etc. re: charges against National Council Against Conscription of being communist, 1949-1950.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence etc. re: charges against National Council Against Conscription of being communist, 1951.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence etc. re: charges against National Council Against Conscription of being communist, 1952-1959.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with and material about state and local anti-Universal Military Training groups: California.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with and material about state and local anti-Universal Military Training groups: Colorado.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with and material about state and local anti-Universal Military Training groups: Connecticut; District of Columbia.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with and material about state and local anti-Universal Military Training groups: Illinois.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with and material about state and local anti-Universal Military Training groups: Indiana; Iowa.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with and material about state and local anti-Universal Military Training groups: Kentucky; Massachusetts.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with and material about state and local anti-Universal Military Training groups: Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with and material about state and local anti-Universal Military Training groups: New Hampshire; New Jersey.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with and material about state and local anti-Universal Military Training groups: New York.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with and material about state and local anti-Universal Military Training groups: Ohio; Oregon; Pennsylvania.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]
Archival Resource Key. Correspondence with and material about state and local anti-Universal Military Training groups: Washington; Wisconsin.
Box 4 [SCPC-6882]

Archival Resource Key. Publicity: press releases, 1946 - 1948 (March).
Box 5 [SCPC-6883]
Archival Resource Key. Publicity: press releases, 1948 (April) - 1949.
Box 5 [SCPC-6883]
Archival Resource Key. Publicity: press releases, 1950-1959, n.d.
Box 5 [SCPC-6883]
Archival Resource Key. Media coverage.
Box 5 [SCPC-6883]
Archival Resource Key. Form letters to "Friend", 1945-1947.
Box 5 [SCPC-6883]
Archival Resource Key. Form letters to "Friend", 1948 - 1960 (January), n.d.
Box 5 [SCPC-6883]
Archival Resource Key. Form letters to Group / Committee / Members.
Box 5 [SCPC-6883]
Archival Resource Key. Form letters to "Sponsors".
Box 5 [SCPC-6883]
Archival Resource Key. Form letters to miscellaneous groups.
Box 5 [SCPC-6883]
Archival Resource Key. Calls to action / issue statements, 1945-1949.
Box 5a [SCPC-6884]
Archival Resource Key. Calls to action / issue statements, 1950-1955.
Box 5a [SCPC-6884]
Archival Resource Key. Calls to action / issue statements, n.d.
Box 5a [SCPC-6884]
Archival Resource Key. Calls to action, etc. [by the National Council Against Conscription?].
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Published literature, 1945-1949.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Published literature, 1950.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Published literature, 1951.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Published literature, 1952-1959.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Published literature, n.d.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Published literature: leaflet series "Questions for Congressmen" #1-8, ca. 1954.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Published literature: pamphlet series "Conscription Factfolder" #1-12, ca. 1954-1959.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Published literature: pamphlet series "Facts About -- " [unnumbered], n.d.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Published literature: pamphlet series on disarmament #1-4, ca. 1950-1951.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Literature lists.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Index to "Conscription News" #1-150.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Congressional testimony.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]

Archival Resource Key. Strategy discussions re: Universal Military Training, 1947-1949.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Strategy discussions re: Universal Military Training, 1950-1959.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Questionnaire on policy program of the National Council Against Conscription [filled out].
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Petition by religious leaders [signed by 652 clergymen], started by Allen Knight Chalmers, 1947.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Commendations of Swomley's work and of Conscription News.
Box 6 [SCPC-6885]
Archival Resource Key. Program work: miscellaneous.
Box 7 [SCPC-6886]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: opposition to communism, 1945-1946.
Box 7 [SCPC-6886]
Archival Resource Key. Work with labor groups, 1946-1949.
Box 7 [SCPC-6886]
Archival Resource Key. Work with religious groups and denominations, 1946-1949.
Box 7 [SCPC-6886]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: radio broadcasts and Universal Military Training [includes Swomley's appearances], 1946-1955.
Box 7 [SCPC-6886]
Archival Resource Key. Work with farm groups, 1946-1955.
Box 7 [SCPC-6886]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: opposition to communism, 1947.
Box 7 [SCPC-6886]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: President's Advisory Commission on Military Training, 1947.
Box 7 [SCPC-6886]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: race relations and Universal Military Training, 1947-1948.
Box 7 [SCPC-6886]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: race relations and Universal Military Training: involvement with Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service and Training, 1947-1949.
Box 7 [SCPC-6886]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: American Legion and Universal Military Training, 1947-1951.
Box 7 [SCPC-6886]
Archival Resource Key. Work with educators re: Universal Military Training, 1947-1959.
Box 7 [SCPC-6886]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: opposition to communism, 1948.
Box 8 [SCPC-6887]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: opposition to communism, 1950-1956.
Box 8 [SCPC-6887]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: evaluation of newspaper coverage of Universal Military Training, 1946-1952.
Box 8 [SCPC-6887]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: army's illegal use of funds to promote Universal Military Training, 1947.
Box 8 [SCPC-6887]
Scope and Contents

includes Harness Investigative Committee

Archival Resource Key. Work re: army's illegal use of funds to promote Universal Military Training: letters of constituents to/from Congress, 1947.
Box 8 [SCPC-6887]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: army's Universal Military Training Experimental Unit at Ft. Knox (Kentucky), 1947.
Box 8 [SCPC-6887]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: Universal Military Training Week, 1947-1948.
Box 8 [SCPC-6887]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: pamphlets on militarization [and collection of signatures], 1947-1949.
Box 8 [SCPC-6887]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: opinion polls on Universal Military Training, 1947-1955.
Box 8 [SCPC-6887]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: cost of army reserves, 1947-1955.
Box 8 [SCPC-6887]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: magazine coverage of Universal Military Training, 1947-1955.
Box 8 [SCPC-6887]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: militarism in education, 1950-1955.
Box 8 [SCPC-6887]
Archival Resource Key. Work with labor groups, 1950-1959.
Box 8 [SCPC-6887]
Archival Resource Key. Work with religious groups and denominations, 1950-1959.
Box 9 [SCPC-6888]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: the drafting of 18-year-olds, 1951.
Box 9 [SCPC-6888]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: Coronet films on Universal Military Training, 1951-1952.
Box 9 [SCPC-6888]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: pamphlet on conscription of women, 1951-1952.
Box 9 [SCPC-6888]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: production of anti-Universal Military Training filmstrips, 1951-1954.
Box 9 [SCPC-6888]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: conference on Universal Military Training for religious leaders [sponsored by Pentagon], 1952 (January).
Box 9 [SCPC-6888]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: armed forces' textbook promoting military service, 1955-1956.
Box 9 [SCPC-6888]
Archival Resource Key. Work re: pamphlet on conscription, 1958.
Box 9 [SCPC-6888]

Archival Resource Key. Peacetime conscription / Universal Military Training: miscellaneous.
Box 9 [SCPC-6888]
Archival Resource Key. Peacetime conscription / Universal Military Training, includes National Youth Assembly Against Universal Military Training.
Box 9 [SCPC-6888]
Archival Resource Key. Peacetime conscription / Universal Military Training: government sources.
Box 9 [SCPC-6888]
Archival Resource Key. Armed forces' textbook promoting military service, 1955.
Box 9 [SCPC-6888]
Archival Resource Key. Pro-Universal Military Training groups: American Legion.
Box 9 [SCPC-6888]
Archival Resource Key. Pro-Universal Military Training groups: American Legion (continued).
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Pro-Universal Military Training groups: Citizens Committee for a National Service Act.
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Pro-Universal Military Training groups: Citizens Committee for Military Training of Young Men Incorporated.
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Pro-Universal Military Training groups: Citizens Committee for Universal Military Training.
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Pro-Universal Military Training groups: Citizens Emergency Committee for Universal Military Training.
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Pro-Universal Military Training groups: National Security Committee.
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Pro-Universal Military Training groups: Women's National Committee for the Universal Training of Young Men.
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Anti-Universal Military Training groups: Break With Conscription Committee (New York).
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Anti-Universal Military Training groups: Chicago Committee to Oppose Conscription (Illinois).
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Anti-Universal Military Training groups: Colorado Council Against Conscription.
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Anti-Universal Military Training groups: Committee to Oppose Peacetime Conscription (California).
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Anti-Universal Military Training groups: Greater Philadelphia Committee Against Peacetime Conscription (Pennsylvania).
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Anti-Universal Military Training groups: Minnesota Committee to Oppose Peace-Time Military Conscription.
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Anti-Universal Military Training groups: New Haven Committee of One Hundred to Oppose the Wartime Adoption of Peacetime Conscription (Connecticut).
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Anti-Universal Military Training groups: New York Committee Against Peacetime Conscription.
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Anti-Universal Military Training groups: Philadelphia Youth Council to Oppose Conscription (Pennsylvania).
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Opposition to Universal Military Training prior to establishment of the National Council Against Conscription.
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Anti-conscription and anti-Universal Military Training resolutions by miscellaneous groups, 1947 -.
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Statements of religious bodies re: Universal Military Training.
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Labor groups and Universal Military Training.
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Doctors' draft, 1950-1955.
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Biographical information about and writings of General Herbert C. Holdridge.
Box 10 [SCPC-6889]
Archival Resource Key. Newsclippings of letters to the editor and articles re: Universal Military Training and peacetime conscription (pro and con), 1944-1953, n.d.
Box 11 [SCPC-6890]
Archival Resource Key. Excerpts of letters to the editor and articles re: Universal Military Training and peacetime conscription (pro and con).
Box 11 [SCPC-6890]

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