One of the many hidden treasures of Peace Corps history is the RPCV Oral History Collection at the JFK Library, begun more than fifteen years ago by RPCV Robert Klein,(Ghana I). Bob interviewed members of Ghana I for his book, Being First: An Informal History of the Early Peace Corps Robert Klein (Ghana 1961-63) Wheatmark, 2010 and realized how valuable those taped interviews were. He decided to expand to interview as many RPCVs as possible, at his own expense. For years, he crisscrossed the country, interviewing RPCVs and teaching them how to interview others. The JFK Library agreed to archive the tapes. There are now APPROXIMATELY 400 individual RECORDED interviews, one to three hours long. Years of service represented go from 1961 through 2015. All RPCVs may participate. Sadly, Bob died in 2012. His partner, RPCV Phyllis Noble, (Nigeria 65-67) has continued his work..
In an email, Phyllis wrote:
“I’m delighted to talk to people about participating in this project, to help them get interviewed as a way to begin, and to help them learn the process of conducting an interview. ”
Phyllis can be contacted at this email:OralHistoryProject@peacecorpsconnect.org (copy and paste)
The tapes have not been transcribed and only a few have been digitalized. However, in a technological breakthrough, the Library is now accepting oral history interviews that have been done on audio equipment. Only four have been recorded in this manner. But those four are now available on line. Here are the four finding aids for the interviews and links to download them to your computer. Clink on the link above each RPCV’s name to download the interview and listen.