Category Archives: Caribbean

Geer Wilcox in the Dominican Republic

Country of Service: Dominican Republic
Service Type: Blind Education
Dates in Service: 1963-1965
Keywords: Santo Domingo, National School for the Blind, Escuela Nacional de Ciegos, Friends of the Dominican Republic Archive

Accession Date: November 16, 2016
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 1.5 linear feet

Document Types

  • Audiotapes (3″ reel to reel) of letters home
  • Digital Copies of Audiotapes

Kim Herman in the Dominican Republic

Country of Service: Dominican Republic
Service Type: Community Development
Dates in Service: 1967-1969
Keywords: San Rafael del Yuma, Cano Prieto School, Los Naranjos, Blandino, Friends of the Dominican Republic Archive

Accession Date: November 8, 2016
Access: No commercial uses (i.e. only uses specified on permission form allowed)
Collection Size: 1.0 linear feet

Document Types

  • Photographs
  • Correspondence
  • Publications
  • Reports
  • Training Materials
  • Official Paperwork (ID cards, passport, etc.)
  • Sound (3″ reel to reel)
  • Travel Documents

You’ve Got Mail: Aerograms and Peace Corps Volunteers

Letters to Peace Corps Volunteers are important connections to home. While they’re away, it’s typically difficult for family and friends to get ahold of their PCVs, even with the convenience of telephones. There are many letters within the collection of the Peace Corps Community Archive, which detail the lives of both the Volunteers and their correspondents. From the happiness of a marriage announcement, to the sadness of a relative’s illness, these letters take a simple piece of paper and turn it into a window into PCVs’ lives.

While the contents of the letters allow a glimpse into the experiences and struggles of PCVs, the paper the letters are written on can also offer a different perspective. Many times, early PCVs utilized the service of Airmail. From Ethiopia to Antigua, the Peace Corps Community Archive houses various examples of Airmail from around the world.

The first official Airmail route in the world began on May 15, 1918 between New York and Washington, D.C., with a spot in Philadelphia. Peace Corps Volunteers did well to utilize Airmail to send their letters home. Airmail was typically faster than “surface mail,” and reasonably priced given its light weight. Therefore, nothing other than the letter itself could be sent since enclosed objects or paper would effect the weight. Airmail was sent on specific paper created to fold and glue into an envelope for easier transport, called an Aerogram. Nearly all examples of Airmail in the Archive are of this type of Aerogram.

Each Aerogram letter has a different, interesting design. Ranging from a simple red and blue border to a detailed design of a zebra, each Aerogram is distinctive to its country of origin.

 

The iconic airmail border is seen here on a letter from Winifred Boge in India to her parents in the 1960s.

 

The iconic red and blue stripes of Airmail are seen all over Aerograms. Winifred Boge sent this letter and many like it from her time in India to her parents in the 1960s. Since the 1960s, the Airmail border has been used everywhere, such as fashion accessories and travel documents.

 

David Day sent this letter to his parents from Ethiopia. The stamps feature Ethiopia's regent from 1930-1974, Haile Selassie I.

David Day sent this Aerogram to his parents when he visited Ethiopia in the 1960s. The stamps all feature Ethiopia’s regent, Haile Selassie I, who reigned from 1930 to 1974. While some Aerograms had pre-paid stamps, some required the purchase of postage. The Aerograms in the collection feature a range of stamps from different countries.

 

Day also sent Airmail he received in East Africa but sent by postage in India.

Day also sent this Airmail to his parents in 1966. Interestingly enough, he acquired this Aerogram from his time in East Africa, when he served in Kenya. However, once he was transferred to serve in India, he sent this letter with Indian postage.

 

Kann, Airlmail 1a

Janet and Steve Kann served in the East Caribbean and sent this Airmail from Barbados. The illustration features the Barbados Parliament Buildings in Bridgetown.

 

Janet and Steve Kann sent this letter from Barbados in 1981 as they served in the East Caribbean. This letter highlights the Barbados Parliament Buildings in Bridgetown, Barbados. While this Aerogram was sent in the 1980s, Aerograms cannot be used today without the purchase of extra postage, they were used throughout the late 21st century.

 

For more information, please visit the Peace Corps Community Archive website. To use the collections or make a donation, please contact the AU Archives at archives [at] american.edu.

Janet and Steve Kann in the Eastern Caribbean

Country of Service: Eastern Caribbean
Place of Service: Barbados, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent
Service Type: Practical Education Development
Dates in Service: 1980-1982
Keywords: Auto-mechanic, non-matrixed spouse

Accession Date: September 6, 2016
Access: Non-commercial use only
Collection Size: 2.0 linear feet

Document Types

  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Publications

Richard J. Burns in Dominican Republic

Richard James Burns

Country of Service: Dominican Republic
Service Type: Forestry
Dates in Service: 1962 – 1964
Keywords: Forestry

Accession Date: February 29, 2016
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 8 items

Document Types

  • Letter
  • Peace Corps ID
  • Photograph
  • Certificate
  • Memoir

Robert Starr in Jamaica

Robert Starr

Country of Service: Jamaica
Service Type: Vocational Education
Dates in Service: 1964-1966
Keywords: Community Development, Vocational Training, Experiment in International Living, Camp Kennedy, Cobbla

Accession Date: January 7, 2015
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 1 linear inch

Document Types

  • Telegram from Sargent Shriver
  • Digital photographs
  • Publications
  • Training Materials

Robert Meade in Paraguay

Robert Meade

Country of Service: Paraguay
Place of Service: Carmen del Parana, Asuncion, Puerto Rico
Service Type: Public Health
Dates in Service: 1968-1969
Keywords: Agriculture, Community Development, Health

Accession Date: October 29, 2013
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 0.75 linear feet

Document Types

  • Correspondence
  • 35mm slides
  • Training Materials
  • Reminiscences of Paraguay I (1997)
  • Publications- Image of Paraguay and Paraguay (Paraguay’s geography, culture, and history)

Margie Tokarz in Antigua

Margie Tokarz

Country of Service: Antigua
Place of Service: St. John’s
Service Type: Deaf Education
Dates in Service: 1967-1968
Keywords: Caribbean, Education

Accession Date: April 9, 2013
Access: no restrictions outside copyright
Collection Size: 25 items

Document Types

  • Letters 1967-1968 (All letters to her parents except for two.)