Category Archives: Peace Corps Resources

Anne Williams in India

Name: Anne Williams
Country of Service: India
Place of Service: Bombay and Calcutta
Dates in Service: 1965-1967
Keywords: Community Development, Health

Accession Date: January 24, 2020
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 1.5 linear feet

Document Types
• Correspondence
• Photographs
• Scrapbooks
• Reports
• Publications
• Sound
Biographical sketches

Lorelei Christl Robinson and Gary D. Robinson in Colombia

Name: Lorelei Christl Robinson and Gary D. Robinson
Country of Service: Colombia
Service Project Title: Peace Corps Staff, 1965-1971
Dates in Service: 1961-1963-; 1963-1965
Keywords: Education

Accession Date: January 17, 2020 (updated May 7, 2021)
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 1.5 linear feet

Document Types

  • Photographs
  • Reports
  • Publications
  • Training Materials

Peter J. and Kathryn W. Hansen in Nigeria

Name: Peter J. and Kathryn W. Hansen
Country of Service: Nigeria
Place of Service: University of Ife, Ibadan
Service Project Title: Chemistry faculty
Dates in Service: 1966-1968
Keywords: Education

Accession Date: December 18, 2019
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 0.25 linear feet

Document Types

  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Publications

David and Anita Kaufman in Puerto Rico

Name: David and Anita Kaufman
Country of Service: Puerto Rico
Place of Service: Arecibo
Service Type OR Service Project Title: Peace Corps Training Center, Camp Lawrence Radley
Dates in Service: 1966-1972
Keywords: Education

Accession Date: April 10, 2019
Access: No Restrictions
Collection Size: 0.25 linear feet

Document Types

  • Publications

Playing in the Archives? A glimpse into the board game “Join the Peace Corps!”

This summer, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer A. Michael Marzolla donated materials from his service as an Agricultural Cooperative Volunteer in Guatemala and El Salvador. One of my first tasks as the 2019-2020 PCCA Fellow was to organize Marzolla’s collection, which featured his hand-drawn educational graphic books and a homemade board game titled “Join the Peace Corps!”

The game includes Marzolla’s hand-drawn board and 42 cards within twelve categories separated by themes: the application and acceptance process, training, on the program site, the termination process, and readjusting upon return to home country.

As I sorted the game cards and read the directions, I was struck by a flurry of questions about the game’s origins. Luckily, Marzolla agreed to answer my burning questions about the history of the game:

"Join the Piece Corps!" Game Board, hand drawn in the shape of a dove carrying and olive leaf.

“Join the Piece Corps!” Game Board, A. Michael Marzolla

I designed “Join the Peace Corps!” while working as a recruiter in Boston circa 1978-1980. I wanted to create a game that would simulate the Peace Corps experience from application through training, placement and in-country to the close of service. I had input from my RCPV recruiter colleagues, friends, and contacts so that every card was based on an experience someone had as a volunteer. The game was played three or four times—sadly, it was never published although people who played the game seemed to enjoy the experience.

With 42 different card options, Marzolla presented an amusing repertoire of experiences, from “you begin adopting local dress and customs” to “you are accused of being a spy for the CIA.” Both cards contribute to the historic context of the game and reflect true or rumored events within the Peace Corps. For example, when certain host countries accused Peace Corps volunteers of spying for the U.S. government, the CIA released a statement in 1965 that publicly barred volunteers from gathering military intelligence for any country in which they volunteered (however this lapsed after 5 years of resignation).

Arrow points to game board square and reads "You want only a warm sunny country with sandy beaches. You ask if the PC supplies suntan oil. Go back one and miss a turn."

“Join the Peace Corps!” Game Board Tile

The game also clearly punishes the negative qualities of a potential volunteer, represented in the board tile: “you want only a warm country with sandy beaches. You ask if the PC supplies suntan oil. Go back one and miss a turn.”

Of course, I immediately wanted to play this game. Associate archivist Leslie Nellis and I contacted local RPCVs and a few others from the American University community to join us. Library staff Matthew, Sarah, and RCPV Alayne agreed to help us try it out.

From left to right: Sarah, Matthew, and Leslie play "Join the Peace Corps!" with game board in front of them.

From left to right: Sarah, Matthew, and Leslie play “Join the Peace Corps!”

On Wednesday, September 11, we assembled in the archives processing room. Aside from difficulties shuffling the cards and defining when to move forward, the game was an enjoyable glimpse into the Peace Corps. We looked to Alayne to compare her own experiences as a volunteer in Nepal with the stories feature on the game board. She found that the lengthy application period and digestive complications upon arrival were true to form.

Enjoyment value aside, Marzolla’s game introduces an interesting aspect of archival materials. Whereas archives traditionally collect, preserve, and share materials for research purposes, interactive items such as board games challenge the definition of what it means to “share” collections. Thanks to Michael Marzolla and his donation, we were able to consider these complexities while rolling the dice.

American University Celebrates Peace Corps Week

In celebration of Peace Corps Week, on Tuesday, March 2, American University hosted Peace Corps recruiter Chuck Cascio and more than 10 Returned Peace Corps volunteers, many of them American University students and alumni. Along with the opportunity to talk with Peace Corps volunteers, the event included displays of photos and objects related each RPCV’s service. These RPCVs shared their Peace Corps experiences, demonstrating how they each made a difference in their respective communities.

Last month, the Peace Corps ranked American University as one of the top medium-sized colleges and universities producing Peace Corps volunteers. As shown by Tuesday’s event, American University will continue its already strong relationship with Peace Corps service.

RPCV Lauren Kovach (Zambia, 2012-2014) and Rachel Teter (Panama, 2011-2013) inform American University students about the merits of Peace Corps service.

RPCV Lauren Kovach (Zambia, 2012-2014); left, and Rachel Teter (Panama, 2011-2013) ; right. inform American University students about the merits of Peace Corps service.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Northeastern New York

RPCV Northeastern New York
Date of Materials: 1986-2004

Accession Date: October 9, 2014
Access: No restrictions
Collection Size: 0.5 linear feet

Document Types

  • Correspondence
  • Membership lists
  • Minutes
  • Newsletters
  • Newsletters from other RPCV groups

Resource: Peace Corps Digital Library

The Peace Corps Digital Library collects and displays images and stories from Peace Corps staff and volunteers.    It’s a great place to begin if you are interested in learning about or conducting research on the organization’s history and work around the world.

From the main page, it is easy to browse the collection for photos and stories from the agency, staff and volunteers.  Also included in the digital collection, are technical and training materials, brochures, graphics, and volunteer and agency documents.  Peace Corps Digital Library offers similar materials to those in the Peace Corps Community Archive, but also differs in several ways.

Differences between PCCA and the Peace Corps Digital Library

PCCA accepts only materials from returned volunteers.  At this time, PCCA does not collect materials from former Peace Corps staff.  The collection includes original materials—diaries, notebooks, training materials, slides, video, images, and sound recordings—created during volunteers’ training and service abroad.  Although it isn’t possible to search at the item level, it is possible to search collections using the online catalog.  The search feature allows researchers to identify collections containing specific types of items using key terms and categories.

The Peace Corps Digital Library only accepts materials in digital format and is completely online.  Having the content online enables users to search key terms, dates, types of materials, creator, and subject, which makes it easier to locate specific images or documents.  PCCA’s collection level approach facilitates establishing context and drawing conclusions about the Peace Corps experience.

Peace Corps Digital Library also differs from the PCCA because it includes a “story” component where volunteers and staff contribute stories about their Peace Corps experiences.  Volunteers and staff may write and submit one story in 1,500 words or less to be published in the digital library.  The PCCA collects volunteers’ stories, conveyed through archival documents, as well as unpublished memoirs but not individual stories.

For more information on contributing, or to browse items in the Peace Corps Digital Library visit their site.  If you have more than a single story or image to share with the public, consider donating to the Peace Corps Community Archive.

Spotlight on the National Peace Corps Association

On March 1, 2014, AU Archives hosted an open house for board members of the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA).  Visitors had an opportunity to view materials documenting the organization’s history—annual reports, newsletters, photographs, by-laws, and educational projects.

AU Archives serves as the home for the records of National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), a non-profit organization whose goal is to connect and celebrate the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.  The collection includes materials documenting the development and evolution of the organization from its founding in the late 1970s to the present.

The National Peace Corps Association originated in the late 1970s as a result of several midwestern conferences of global educators.  The conferences brought together Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who began meeting to share ideas about fulfilling the Peace Corps’ third goal—returning to the US to teach about cultures around the world.  The National Council of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers developed after communities of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) united their efforts to establish a national organization.  In 1979, the organization coordinated a convention, wrote a charter, and elected their first president.  In 1993, the organization changed its name to National Peace Corps Association.

Today, the NPCA’s vision reflects the Peace Corps’ goals and seeks to promote cross-cultural understanding.  However, they also provide a network and resources for the Peace Corps community, develop service and education opportunities for NPCA members, and advocate for the values and issues relevant to the Peace Corps.  This organization currently includes more than 50,000 individual members and 140 member groups throughout the United States, which makes NPCA a viable means for connecting with returned volunteers interested in donating.

The event provided an excellent opportunity to inform NPCA board members about the existence and purpose of the Peace Corps Community Archive.  If you are interested in finding a home for your collection of Peace Corps materials, please contact us by email at archives@american.edu or by phone (202) 885-3256.

Sources:
About Us,” National Peace Corps Association (2014)

 

Waging Peace Through a Lifetime of Service: Peace Corps Symposium

The American University Peace Corps symposium, Waging Peace Through a Lifetime of Service, was held on Thursday March 21st in the Abramson Family Founder’s Room in the School of International Service. The symposium featured fourteen returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs), representing every decade of the Peace Corps, as well as every continent on which the Peace Corps has worked.  The volunteers also represented a diverse range of professional sectors, including the fields of education, Foreign Service, peacebuilding, academia, and government.

The RPCVs shared their five-minute Peace Corps story by answering twenty strategic questions.  The format of the presentations allowed the audience to make comparisons across time and place, telling the story not only of the Peace Corps, but also of international travel and international service.

Five friends of the Peace Corps also spoke, each offering their own unique perspective on Peace Corps and service.

For those of you who were not able to attend, you can watch the symposium via UStream.