Civilian Public Service conscientious objectors participating in a weekly discussion at the Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry, Philadelphia, PA, circa 1944.
Close Window

Image of men and women sitting in chairs, on the floor, and standing while attending a meeting

Credit: Courtesy the American Friends Service Committee

Shocked at the appalling conditions they discovered while working in mental hospitals in twenty states, World War II conscientious objectors wrote a series of exposes and initiated a reform movement that included creation of the National Mental Health Foundation, which soon found sponsors in Eleanor Roosevelt, Pearl Buck, and other prominent Americans. The COs were especially active at the Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry, where they published The Attendant magazine, which became The Psychiatric Aide, a professional journal for mental health workers.

Back to Top