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Dear Mr. Dunbar,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series Records Relating to Conscientious Objection, 1962-1972 in the Records of the Selective Service System (Record Group 147) that contains records concerning the development and implementation of standards for conscientious objector status under Selective Service System regulations, including provisions for alternate service that may be of interest to you. The series Central Files, 1948-1965 in Record Group 147 contains information about conscientious objectors from individual states as well. We also located 16 additional series related to conscientious objectors during World War II in Record Group 147 that include case files and information about individuals sent to work camps. The series General Records, 1969-1973 in the Records of the U.S. Forces in Southeast Asia (Record Group 472) contains requests for conscientious objection status during the Vietnam War. Some information about legal proceedings related to conscientious objectors is located in the series Special Proceedings Case Files, 1964-1974 in the Records of U.S. Attorneys (Record Group 118) and in the series Classification 25 (Selective Service Act) Headquarters Case Files, 1922-1975 in the Records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Record Group 65). These records have not been digitized. Please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about these and similar records.
Next, we located the series Directives in the Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Record Group 330) that includes 102 references to conscientious objectors, 63 references to conscientious objection, 44 references to non-combatant, and 42 references to non-combat in the 1950s-1970s that might be useful. These records have been digitized and can be viewed online in the Catalog. Please contact the National Archives at College Park - Electronic Records (RDE) at email@example.com with questions about these records.
In addition, we located the series Desk Files, 1948-1989 in the Papers of Warren Woodward (Collection LBJ-P73001) that contain information about standards for military service and alternative service. These records have not been digitized. Please contact the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library (LP-LBJ) at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance with these and similar records.
Plus, we located the series Presidential Clemency Board Records, 1974-1975 in the Charles E. Goodell Papers (Collection GRF-0193) that contains 43 references to conscientious objection, 102 references to alternative service, and 7 references to non-combat that may be relevant to your research. These records have been digitized and can be viewed online using the Catalog. Please contact the Gerald R. Ford Library (LP-GRF) at email@example.com for more information about these records.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2, RDE, LP-LBJ, and LP-GRF. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.
The U.S. Army provides more information about Conscientious Objectors on their website, as does the Selective Service System. We suggest that you contact the US Army Center of Military History or the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center for additional assistance.
Finally, many universities and other organizations collect oral histories from veterans and from all types of conscientious objectors. Some examples include Columbia University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Texas Tech University, and the Library of Congress. You may wish to contact a university, a state or local history organization, or veterans’ organization in your area to learn more about potential opportunities for sharing your own experiences.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!
Wow, thanks Rachael. Lots of info. I also made note of those info sources "not digitized." I love transcription so maybe I can wrangle a transcription project related to my interest in conscientious objection. Thanks for the comprehensive search and response!! I am grateful. ...Pete