Civilian Public Service Camp 56 Oral History Project Records, 2003-2003  PDF  XML

Overview of the Collection

Barber, Katrine
Civilian Public Service Camp 56 Oral History Project Records
2003-2003 (inclusive)
2 cubic feet, (2 boxes)
Collection Number
This collection includes audio recordings and transcriptions of oral history interviews with World War II conscientious objectors from Camp 56 near Waldport, Oregon.
Lewis & Clark College, Special Collections and Archives
Lewis & Clark College Special Collections and Archives
Aubrey R. Watzek Library
0615 SW Palatine Hill Rd.
Portland, OR
Telephone: 503-768-7758
Fax: 503-768-7282
Access Restrictions

This collection has no research restrictions and is open for research.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

This collection is composed of oral history interviews with conscientious objectors from the Waldport Civilian Public Service Camp 56 (the text of this note was adapted from the final report for this project by Katy Barber, Jo Ogden, and Eliza Jones titled: Camp 56: An Oral History Project). During World War II, 12,000 conscientious objectors did “work of national importance under civilian direction” as part of the Civilian Public Service (CPS) program, an alternative service to military participation. The CPS camp at Waldport, named Camp Angell (also spelled Angel), was the fifty-sixth camp to open, and it operated from October 1942 to April 1946. Camp 56, which was administered by the Church of the Brethren, was located about four and one- half miles south of the town of Waldport, Oregon. It sat just east of Highway 101, which runs along the West coast of the United States. The Pacific Ocean, just through some trees on the west side of 101, could be heard but not be seen from the camp itself. The four dorm buildings, kitchen, and dining area in which the men lived, cooked, ate, did office work, prayed, met, and engaged in the fine arts were set in a muddy forest clearing. To the east of the camp lay the steep hills of the Siuslaw National Forest, in which the men felled snags (e.g., cut down dead trees which posed safety and fire hazards), built roads, and planted trees for the U.S. Forest Service. The two towns closest to the CPS camp were Waldport to the north and Yachats just over three miles to the south.

In 1942 the Forest Service re-assigned nearly two dozen men from the Church of the Brethren’s Cascade Locks, Oregon CPS camp (Camp 21) to fight fires on the Oregon coast, and decided to open Camp 56 at Waldport in October. Work of “national importance” done in the Siuslaw National Forest by the men from the Waldport camp included re-planting acres that had been destroyed in the 1934 Blodgett Burn, building roads into the forest, and acting as fire lookouts during the dry summer months. The camp’s population fluctuated with transfers which were frequent in CPS, but residency averaged 120 men at any given time. Most of the objectors who were interviewed for this project were from religious farming communities in the Midwest, but several came from more urban, and less religious, homes.

In 1943, objectors from the Santa Barbara, California, Cascade Locks, and Waldport camps requested that NSBRO open a school in the Fine Arts where professional fine artists could find fellowship. The Brethren Service Committee chose CPS 56 for the location, and men began transferring there to begin the Fine Arts group in the spring of 1944, but Selective Service eventually eliminated this transfer option. Men in the Fine Arts program staged plays, presented weekly play readings, printed program folders and collections of plays, short stories, and poetry, and hosted a concert series. Some men focused on painting and drawing while others spent time sculpting and weaving, leaving behind a historically remembered legacy. Artists also distributed their work to other camps and bookstores across the country, and performed plays and music for public audiences. Although the Waldport camp is best known for this aspect of its history, a minority of the men held there actually participated. Many narrators of the interviews collected here do not remember the group at all, or relate that it formed after their time in Waldport. Several of the narrator’s lives, however, were transformed by Waldport’s Fine Arts group, which attracted professional artists and musicians and encouraged others to pursue artistic professions, particularly Vladimir Dupre, William Everson, and William Shank. There is no question that the Fine Arts group was a vibrant art center and an important part of the camp. By declaring themselves conscientious objectors and entering Civilian Public Service, the narrators of these interviews became part of a dramatic minority in America during the Second World War. Although this commonality separated them from the majority of American society, the narrators express a wide range of beliefs about topics specific to the camp, such as work and administration, and broader issues such as pacifism and conscription. The internal and public debates that arose from these differences are particularly poignant in the narrators’ memories of their time at Waldport. Although conscientious objectors in CPS comprised a tiny minority of those caught up in the war, this oral history collection and other materials related to CPS confirm an enduring and active legacy of pacifist resistance.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Includes edited transcriptions on paper and audio recordings on cassette tapes.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish, exhibit, broadcast, or quote from materials in the Watzek Library Archives & Special Collections requires written permission of the Head of Archives & Special Collections.

Preferred Citation

The Civilian Public Service Camp 56 Oral History Project Records, OLPb045USF, Lewis & Clark College Aubrey Watzek Library Archives & Special Collections, Portland, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Arranged in a single series.

Box 1) Transcriptions A-Z;

Box 2) Audio Recordings A-Z.

Location of Collection

Special Collections

Acquisition Information

Donated to Lewis & Clark College by the Oral History Project leader, Katy Barber and the U.S.D.A. Forest Service in 2009.

Processing Note

Processed in 2010.

Related Materials

Lewis & Clark College holds a number of other collections related to the Civilian Public Service Camps in Oregon.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

:  Box 1: Transcriptions, 2003Return to Top


1 cubic foot
Arranged in alphabetical order.
Container(s) Description Dates
1.1: Camp 56 Edited Transcriptions
1.2: African Americans
1.3: Allen, Mary Ellen
1.4: Baker, Don
1.5: Barr, Ernest G.
1.6: Barr, Francis
1.7: Beard, Paul Webster
1.8: Bechtelheimer, John
1.9: Booth, Brian
1.10: Cooley, Charles F.
1.11: Davis, Charles “Charlie” E.
1.12: DeCoursey, Wesley and Verda
1.13: Downs, Warren F.
1.14: Dupré, Vladimir
1.15: Eisenbise, Russell
1.16: Eshelman, William “Bill”
1.17: Fillmore, Donald
1.18: Foster, Paul
1.19: Frantz, Elmer V.
1.20: Gallighan, Jim
1.21: Garner, Jasper “Jay”
1.22: Gibble, Pius R.
1.23: Gibson, Ivan
1.24: Groff, Forrest U. and Della (wife)
1.25: Hain, James
1.26: Hawley, Robert
1.27: Hawthorne, Leroy
1.27b: Hoover, Merle
1.28: Jackson, Forrest D.
1.29: James, Clayton
1.30: Jehnzen, Charles G.
1.31: Johnson, John
1.32: Keen, Bud
1.33: Kessler, Mary E. for husband Kessler, Warren H.
1.34: Kiracofe, “Cal” Calvin R.
1.35: Knechel,”Dick” Winfield
1.36: Lam, Robert L.
1.37: Langley-Harvey, Manche
1.38: Lehman, Rodney
1.39: Lobes, Diane
1.40: Long, Raymond W.
1.41: Ludwig, “Chuck” Charles H
1.42: Lyons, Ruth wife of Lyons, Edward
1.43: Mason, “Frank” Franklin
1.44: Mason, Henry
1.45: McKimmy, Harold E.
1.46: McMillen, Carroll
1.47: McMillen, Warren M., phD.
1.48: Miller, Myron S.
1.49: Mundy, Richard
1.50: Nomland, Kemper
1.51: Peters, Homer B.
1.52: Ponch, Martin J.
1.53: Pottenger, Hal Walker
1.54: Redfield, Donald
1.55: Reeves, Bruce W.
1.56: Rouch, Mark A
1.57: Sexton, Ford
1.58: Shank, William
1.59: Sheets, Kermit
1.60: Snell, Arthur
1.61 : Snell, Marvin
1.62: Stafford, Dorothy
1.63: Stanley, Delmar S.
1.64: Verbeck, Raymond
1.65: Walker, Robert Scot
1.66: Wallick, Philip B
1.67: Werschkul, Dave
1.68: Zimmerman, Harold

:  Box 2: Cassette Tape Recordings, 2003Return to Top


1 cubic foot
Arranged in alphabetical order.
Container(s) Description Dates
2.1: Barr, E.
1 tape : microcassette
2.2: Bechtelheimer
1 tape : microcassette
2.3: Booth, Brian
1 tape : microcassette
2.4: Davis
1 tape : microcassette
2.5: DeCoursey
1 tape : microcassette
2.6: Eshelman
5 tapes : microcassette
2.7: Fillmore
1 tape : microcassette
2.8: Gallighan
1 tape : microcassette
2.9: Groff
1 tape : microcassette
2.10: Hawley
1 tape : microcassette
2.11: Jehnzen
1 tape : microcassette
2.12: Kessler
1 tape : microcassette
2.13: Lam
1 tape : microcassette
2.14: Lubes
1 tape : microcassette
2.15: Ludwig
1 tape : microcassette
2.16: Lyons
1 tape : microcassette
2.17: McKinny
1 tape : microcassette
2.18: Miller
1 tape : microcassette
2.19: Nomland
1 tape : microcassette
2.20: Ponch
2 tapes : microcassette
2.21: Pottenger
1 tape : microcassette
2.22: Snell
2 tapes : microcassette
2.23: Stafford
1 tape : microcassette
2.24: Verbeck
1 tape : microcassette
2.25: Wallick
1 tape : microcassette
2.26: Allen
2 tapes : cassette
2.27: Baker
2 tapes : cassette
2.28: Barr, F.
6 tapes : cassette
2.29: Barr, E.
2 tapes : cassette
2.30: Bechtelheimer
1 tape : cassette
2.31: Davis
2 tapes : cassette
2.32: DeCoursey
3 tapes : cassette
2.33: Downs
2 tapes : cassette
2.34: Dupré
8 tapes : cassette
2.35: Eisenbise
2 tapes : cassette
2.36: Eshelman
1 tape : cassette
2.37: Fillmore
1 tape : cassette
2.38: Foster
2 tapes : cassette
2.39: Frantz
2 tapes : cassette
2.40: Gallighan
1 tape : cassette
2.41: Garner
2 tapes : cassette
2.42: Gibble
2 tapes : cassette
2.43: Groff
1 tape : cassette
2.44: Hain
2 tapes : cassette
2.45: Hoover
2 tapes : cassette
2.46: Jackson
2 tapes : cassette
2.47: James
2 tapes : cassette
2.48: Jehnzen
2 tapes : cassette
2.49: Johnson
1 tape : cassette
2.50: Keen
1 tape : cassette
2.51: Kessler
1 tape : cassette
2.52: Kiracofe
2 tapes : cassette
2.53: Knechel
1 tape : cassette
2.54: Lam
4 tapes : cassette
2.55: Lehman
1 tape : cassette
2.56: Long
1 tape : cassette
2.57: Ludwig
2 tapes : cassette
2.58: Mason, F.
2 tapes : cassette
2.59: Mason, H.
2 tapes : cassette
2.60: Miller
1 tape : cassette
2.61 : McKimmy
1 tape : cassette
2.62: McLane
1 tape : cassette
2.63: McMillen
3 tapes : cassette
2.64: Mundy
1 tape : cassette
2.65: Nomland
4 tapes : cassette
2.66: Peters
1 tape : cassette
2.67: Ponch
4 tapes : cassette
2.68: Pottenger
3 tapes : cassette
2.69: Redfield
1 tape : cassette
2.70: Reeves
2 tapes : cassette
2.71: Rouch
2 tapes : cassette
2.72: Shank
1 tape : cassette
2.73: Sheets
7 tapes : cassette
2.74: Snell
2 tapes : cassette
2.75: Stafford
1 tape : cassette
2.76: Switzer
2 tapes : cassette
2.78: Verbeck
3 tapes : cassette
2.79: Walker
1 tape : cassette
2.80: Wallick
1 tape : cassette
2.81: Wood
1 tape : cassette
2.82: Zimmerman
1 tape : cassette

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Civilian Public Service. Camp #56 (Waldport, Ore.)

Personal Names

  • Barber, Katrine

Form or Genre Terms

  • Oral history.

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • United States. Forest Service. (creator)