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Perry, Henry H.

Henry H. Perry Papers

1940-1942
4 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1019

A Quaker investment broker and attorney, Henry H. Perry was born in Rhode Island in about 1885. A prominent figure in the New England Yearly Meeting, Perry was called upon by the American Friends Service Committee to act as director of three of the Massachusetts Civilian Public Service Camps: Royalston, Petersham, and Ashburnham. Under the Selective Service Act of 1940, negotiations between the Selective Service and the major peace churches resulted in the creation of a system by which conscientious objectors were allowed to refrain from direct participation in the war, by serving instead in Civilian Public Service camps. Assigned to “work of national importance,” they filled in for war-related manpower shortages in a variety of areas, including the Forest Service, Soil Conservation Service, mental hospitals, telephone line maintenance and repair, fire-fighting, and clearing fire debris that was left in the wake of the 1937 New England hurricane. Living in Petersham with his wife Edith (Nicholson), Perry served as director of the camps from June 1941 until they were discontinued in October 1942. Perry writes, in a letter dated November 1942, that he is “no longer connected to CPS;” his correspondence is addressed from Dover, MA, showing that he relocated to the Boston area. However, little information is available about him after the camps closed.

This collection consists of administrative and business records concerning the start up, operation, and shut down of the AFSC-run CPS Camps in Royalston, Ashburnham, and Petersham, Mass. Camp Directors were under mandatory orders to keep the strict records that make up the bulk of this collection—administrative documentation, correspondences, health records, itineraries, financial reports and budgets, all pertaining to camp operations. This documentation acted as a deliberate gesture, demonstrating the competency and legitimacy of CPS camp work to Selective Service authorities. However, this collection also contains some personal correspondence and notes not directly related to camp administration, that give a personal, everyday-life, glimpse at the stresses, struggles, and emotional labor, on the part of Quakers, who had to step up, come together, and make the best of a terrible situation: protecting and caring for conscientious objectors during a time of war.

Background on Henry H. Perry

Henry Haines Perry was the middle of three children of the investment banker Arthur H. Perry and Emma Amelia (Foster). Born in Westerly, Rhode Island, on Feb. 1, 1884, Perry graduated from Harvard (1907) and Harvard Law School (1910), and practiced law only briefly before joining his father’s investment house. He enjoyed a prosperous career there, becoming Vice President and Treasurer.

A Mayflower descendant on one side of his family, Perry was raised a Quaker and became a prominent figure in the New England Yearly Meeting. Following his retirement from business at the age of 56, he devoted himself to Quaker concerns, becoming a trustee and clerk of the Friends Meeting in Cambridge, where he had been a member since 1916, and becoming regional vice chair of the Friends Committee on National Legislation and a member of the Board for the American Friends Service Committee. With the American entry into the Second World War, the AFSC asked Perry to serve as director of three of the Civilian Public Service Camps in Massachusetts: Royalston, Petersham, and Ashburnham. Conceived in negotiations between the Selective Service and the major peace churches, and written into the Selective Service Act of 1940, these camps were intended to provide moderate conscientious objectors with an alternative to direct participation in the war on the one hand, and imprisonment for refusing cooperation with the war on the other.

CPS internees were theoretically assigned to “work of national importance,” addressing war-related employment shortages in critical areas such as fighting forest fires, maintaining and repairing telephone lines, working for the Soil Conservation Service or in mental hospitals, and clearing debris left in the wake of the 1937 New England hurricane. Living in Petersham with his wife Edith (Nicholson), Perry served as director of the camps from June 1941 until October 1942 when they were merged or discontinued.

After leaving CPS work, Perry returned home to Dover, Mass., where he remained active in educational causes, serving as chair of the International Student Seminar in Japan and India in 1950 and as a trustee of Wheelock College, among other endeavors. He died on November 17, 1972, leaving his second wife, Elizabeth (Foster), a son, five daughters, and large contingent of grandchildren.

Scope of collection

The Perry collection consists of administrative and business records concerning the start up, operation, and shut down of the AFSC-run CPS Camps in Royalston, Ashburnham, and Petersham, Mass. Camp Directors were under mandatory orders to keep the strict records that make up the bulk of this collection: administrative documentation, correspondences, health records, itineraries, financial reports and budgets, all pertaining to camp operations. This documentation acted as a deliberate gesture, demonstrating the competency and legitimacy of CPS camp work to Selective Service authorities. The collection also contains some personal correspondence and notes not directly related to camp administration, that give a glimpse of everyday life at the camps, including the stresses, struggles, and emotional labor on the part of Quakers who had to make the best of the need to protect and care for conscientious objectors during a time of war.

Series descriptions

The Pre-Operation Series contains papers documenting the period during which the CPS Camps were being organized and set up. These records include, but are not limited to, publications about the 1940 Selective Training and Service Act, draft laws, correspondence regarding specific draft cases, and documents and correspondence from AFSC administrators regarding the CPS Camps in Petersham, Ashburnham, and Royalston.

The Operation Series documents the day-to-day operations of the CPS Camps in Petersham, Ashburnham, and Royalston. These records include manuals for Camp Directors, information on parole cases, medical files, financial files, staff hiring and employment records, materials on camp building, construction, and floor plans, and correspondence between AFSC and Selective Service officers.

The Post-Operation Series contains records documenting the closure and relocation of the CPS Camps at Petersham, Ashburnham, and Royalston. With the closure of these camps, internees were transferred to camps in either Peabody, Mass., of Gorham, New Hampshire. This series includes records pertaining to accommodations made for the move, public relations between CPS Camps and local townsfolk, camp newsletters and other publications, and personal correspondence regarding camp administrators’ feelings of success and failure in terms of the camps and their roles within them.

Inventory

Series 1. Pre-Operation
1934-1943
Original Plan for Organization of This Collection
1944-1944
Box 1: 1
AFSC Draft Law
1940-1940
Box 1: 2
ASFC Publications – Selective Training and Service Act of
1940
1940-1943
Box 1: 3
AFSC Telegrams
1941-1941
Box 1: 4
AFSC Correspondence, General
1941-1941
Box 1: 5
AFSC Personal Correspondence
1936-1941
Box 1: 6
AFSC Publications – Pamphlets, Newsletters, Etc.
1941-1941
Box 1: 7
AFSC Donations
1941-1941
Box 1: 8
AFSC “ASFC Correspondence”
1941-1941
Box 1: 9
AFSC Government Transportation
1941-1941
Box 1: 10
AFSC Camps – Compton, Peabody
1940-1940
Box 1: 11
AFSC Draft Case Correspondence
1940-1940
Box 1: 12
AFSC Miscellaneous Society of Friends Meetings
1941-1941
Box 1: 13
Series 2. Operation
1941-1942
CPS Administrative
1941-1942
Box 1: 14
CPS Staff
1941-1942
Box 1: 15
CPS Camp Publications
1941-1942
Box 1: 16
CPS Camp Rosters
1941-1942
Box 1: 17
CPS Service Fund
1942-1942
Box 1: 18
CPS Japanese Americans
1942-1942
Box 1: 19
CPS Governor’s Commmittee
1942-1942
Box 1: 20
CPS Forms, Blank
1941-1942
Box 1: 21
CPS Telegrams
1941-1942
Box 1: 22
CPS Draft Law
1941-1942
Box 1: 23
CPS Rationing, Supplies
1941-1942
Box 1: 24
CPS Foreign Projects
1941-1942
Box 1: 25
CPS Buildings and Equipment
1941-1942
Box 1: 26
CPS Rulings
1941-1942
Box 2: 1
CPS Cambridge Monthly Meetins CPS Fund
1941-1942
Box 2: 2
CPS Regulations, Manuals, and Forms
1941-1942
Box 2: 3
CPS Education and Books
1941-1942
Box 2: 4
CPS Personal Assignment and Transfers
1942-1942
Box 2: 5
CPS Correspondence, General
1941-1942
Box 2: 6
CPS Personal Correspondence
1941-1942
Box 2: 7
CPS Personnel Transfer to Camp Antelope from MA Camps
1942-1942
Box 2: 8
CPS Seawater Experiments
1942-1942
Box 2: 9
CPS Perole Cases
1942-1942
Box 2: 10
CPS Publications – Pamphlets, Newletters, Etc.
1941-1942
Box 2: 11
CPS AFSC Service Memos
1941-1942
Box 2: 12
CPS Certificates (Alternative to War Bonds)
1942-1942
Box 2: 13
CPS Disaster Units
1942-1942
Box 2: 14
CPS Conference Memos
1941-1942
Box 2: 15
CPS Detached Service
1941-1942
Box 2: 16
CPS Financial (Accounts)
1941-1942
Box 3: 1
CPS Public Relations
1941-1942
Box 3: 2
CPS Beltville Research Center
1942-1942
Box 3: 3
CPS Data
1941-1942
Box 3: 4
CPS Donations
1941-1942
Box 3: 5
CPS Miscellaneous – Personal Residence
1942-1942
Box 3: 6
CPS Government-Run Camps
1942-1942
Box 3: 7
CPS Leaves, Releases, Furloughs
1941-1942
Box 3: 8
CPS Financial Vouchers
1941-1942
Box 3: 9
CPS Miscellaneous – American Field Service
1942-1942
Box 3: 10
CPS Community Projects
1941-1942
Box 3: 11
CPS Camp Finances
1941-1942
Box 3: 12
CPS Clippings
1941-1942
Box 3: 13
CPS Personnel – Medical Cases
1942-1942
Box 3: 14
CPS Visitors
1941-1942
Box 3: 15
CPS Financial (See Also Accounts)
1941-1942
Box 3: 16
CPS “AFSC Correspondence”
1941-1942
Box 4: 1
CPS Food
1941-1942
Box 4: 2
CPS Government Transportation
1941-1942
Box 4: 3
CPS Hospital Project
1941-1942
Box 4: 4
CPS Camps – Compton, Peabody
1942-1942
Box 4: 5
CPS Farm Service
1942-1942
Box 4: 6
CPS Draft Case Correspondence
1941-1942
Box 4: 7
CPS Miscellaneous Society of Friends Meetings
1941-1942
Box 4: 8
CPS Notes, Sketches, Etc.
1941-1941
Box 4: 9
CPS Work Projects, Special Detail
1941-1942
Box 4: 10
CPS Insurance
1941-1942
Box 4: 11
CPS Miscellaneous – Richmond All Friends Conference
1942-1942
Box 5: 1
CPS Leases
1941-1942
Box 5: 2
CPS Medical Services
1941-1942
Box 5: 3
CPS National Service Board for Religious Objectors
1941-1942
Box 5: 4
CPS Executive Committee Minutes
1941-1942
Box 5: 5
Series 3. Post-Operation
1942-1948
Post-CPS Staff
1942-1943
Box 5: 6
Post-CPS Camp Publications
1943-1943
Box 5: 7
Post-CPS Draft Law
1942-1943
Box 5: 8
Post-CPS Rationing, Supplies
1942-1942
Box 5: 9
Post-CPS Education and Books
1942-1942
Box 5: 10
Post-CPS Correspondence, General
1943-1948
Box 5: 11
Post-CPS Personal Correspondence
1942-1943
Box 5: 12
Post-CPS Perole Cases
1942-1943
Box 5: 13
Post-CPS Publications – Pamphlets, Newletters, Etc.
1942-1943
Box 5: 14
Post-CPS Finanncial (Accounts)
1942-1942
Box 5: 15
Post-CPS Public Relations
1943-1943
Box 5: 16
Post-CPS Dependents
1942-1943
Box 5: 17
Post-CPS Miscellaneous – Personal Residence
1942-1943
Box 5: 18
Post-CPS Financial Vouchers
1942-1943
Box 5: 19
Post-CPS Commmunity Projects
1943-1943
Box 5: 20
Post-CPS Camp Finances
1942-1943
Box 5: 21
Post-CPS Clippings
1943-1943
Box 5: 22
Post-CPS Personnel Medical Cases
1942-1943
Box 5: 23
Post-CPS Visitors
1943-1943
Box 5: 24
Post-CPS Finances (See Also Post-CPS Accounts)
1942-1943
Box 5: 25
Post-CPS Government Transportation
1942-1942
Box 5: 26
Post-CPS Hospital Project
1942-1943
Box 5: 27
Post-CPS Camps – Compton, Peabody
1942-1943
Box 5: 28
Post-CPS Draft Case Correspondence
1943-1943
Box 5: 29
Post-CPS Insurance
1942-1943
Box 5: 30
Post-CPS Leases
1942-1943
Box 5: 31
Post-CPS Executive Committee Minutes
1942-1942
Box 5: 32
Post-CPS Donations
1942-1943
Box 5: 33

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Provenance

The collection arrived as part of the Records of the New England Yearly Meeting of
Friends, April 2016.

Processing Information

Processed by Dominique Pierre Batiste, May 2018.

Language:

English

Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: Henry H. Perry Papers (MS 1019). Special
Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Libraries.

Search terms

Subjects

  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Ashburnham (Mass.)–History
  • Civilian Public Service
  • Pacifists–Massachusetts
  • Petersham (Mass.)–History
  • Quakers–Massachusetts
  • Royalston (Mass.)–History
  • Society of Friends
  • United State–History–World War, 1939-1945–Conscientious objectors

Contributors

  • Perry, Henry H. [main entry]

Genres and formats

  • Administrative records
Part of the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends Records, April 2017.

Subjects

Civilian Public ServicePacifists--MassachusettsQuakers--MassachusettsWorld War, 1939-1945--Conscientious objectors

Contributors

American Friends Service CommitteeSociety of Friends

Types of material

Newsletters

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