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Bennett W. Andrews and Florence N. Andrews 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

Bennett Andrews, a musician from Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), was an absolutist conscientious objector during World War II. His total opposition to war meant for him that neither noncombatant service or Civilian Public Service were options he would consider. Instead, he chose prison with no parole. He was sentenced in April 1943 to five years in a federal penitentiary, and sent to Danbury Prison in Connecticut. There he worked as a farm laborer, librarian, editor of prison publications (The Nutmeg Guidon and Little Nutmeg), truck driver, and finally fireman. This latter position gave him the right to two hours of visitation a month, rather than the former one hour. He was released from prison on July 11, 1946 with no conditions, and received amnesty from President Truman in 1947.

Bennett Andrews, born on September 13, 1906, married Florence (born in 1913) on July 22, 1938. She was also a strong pacifist, who fully supported her husband's C.O. stance. Twice a month Florence traveled ten hours on two trains to visit Bennett for a half hour each visit, all that was allowed. She wrote to him every day while he was in prison, a total of 973 letters, giving him the news of day, telling of her life at home (on a very small budget) and the office, reflecting on her beliefs about God and about peace, and using humorous stories and drawings to help keep up his spirits. These have been excerpted and collected by Florence into a manuscript called "From the Outside." He wrote often to her as well, sharing his opinions about the war, relaying anecdotes about life in prison, and expressing his longing for her. These letters have been excerpted and collected by Florence into a manuscript called "Somewhere in Prison." This collection provides a fascinating and valuable portrait, from both the female and the male points of view, of a devoted couple who were forced to live apart for three and a half years for their beliefs.

Florence worked as a secretary for the American Friends Service Committee in Philadelphia from 1943-1948, as secretary for the Dean of Haverford College (Pennsylvania) for nine years, and in various libraries through her 84th year. Bennett continued his avocation as a musician, working as both music teacher and organ teacher at the Settlement Music School in Germantown (Philadelphia). He died on May 2, 1994.

The collection includes some biographical material about Bennett Andrews and Florence Andrews, and various forms of their correspondence while Bennett served a prison sentence between 1943 and 1946.

Box 1 contains files of biographical material; papers about Bennett Andrew's conscientious objection status; writings by Bennett and Florence Andrews; and edited transcripts of the original letters between husband and wife, typed by Florence. Box 2 contains copies of the original letters numbered 1-970.

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

Source of acquisition--Florence N. Andrews. Method of acquisition--Gift of; Date of acquisition--1998 (acc. 98A-026 and 98A-047); 2002 {acc. 02A-048)

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

Processed by Anne Yoder, May 1998; updated 2002; newest version of the finding aid prepared by Wendy E. Chmielewski, July 2009

Issues of The Little Nutmeg and issues of The Nutmeg Guidon have been removed to the Periodical Collection.

Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Access Restrictions
Copyright to the papers created by Bennett W. Andrews and Florence N. Andrews 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

There are none.

Collection Inventory

Biographical information.
Box DG 209: 1
CO papers of Bennett.
Box DG 209: 1
Writings of Bennett and Florence.
Box DG 209: 1
"Somewhere in Prison": Transcript of letters from Bennett to Florence, January 5, 1943-July 10, 1946.
Box DG 209: 1
"From the Outside": Transcript of letters from Florence to Bennett, May 5, 1943-July 7, 1946.
Box DG 209: 1
Letters of Florence to Bennett, 1943-1944.
Box DG 209: 2
Scope and Contents


Letters of Florence to Bennett, 1944-1945.
Box DG 209: 3
Scope and Contents


Letters of Florence to Bennett, 1946.
Box DG 209: 4
Scope and Contents


Letters of Bennett to Florence, 1943-1946.
Box DG 209: 4

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