Staff in PC/W–Early ‘60s

The main source of my personnel research in the early Peace Corps/Washington comes from Who’s Who in The Peace Corps Washington. Thanks to a ‘heads up’ from Peace Corps’ first photographer, Rowland Scherman, I now know this informative pamphlet was written by Peace Corps PR/Reporter, a former San Francisco newspaper reporter, Thompson “Jim” Walls. I met Jim and Rowland in 1962-3 when they were traveling around the world gathering Volunteer stories and photographing PCVs. They spent several weeks in Ethiopia on this historic trip and brought back to the US photographs of what the Peace Corps was doing overseas in these early years. Jim wrote the copy for this information pamphlet Who’s Who in The Peace Corps and Roland took all the photos. The agency and all of us who were PCVs and Staff are indebted to them. 

Shriver Remembers First Staff

Reading the biographies of all these men and women at PC/HQ in 1961 abd 1962 causes me to think back to the times when I first met them.

Wofford & Shriver in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

I had never heard of Warren Wiggins until I read a brilliant paper he had written in 1961 on the idea of a Peace Corps. I read that paper The Towering Task at 2 a.m. one morning in the Mayflower Hotel when we were in the process of initial planning. I immediately sent him a telegram. I remember getting a call from Harris Wofford early the next morning at the Mayflower Hotel. Harris had also read Warren’s The Tower Task and suggested we get in touch with him. I told Harris I had already telegrammed Wiggins. I asked Warren to join our study group in the Mayflower Hotel on an informal basis. Eventually, he came to stay.

Bill Moyers came to me described as the ablest assistant Vice President Johnson had ever had in all of his years in Washington—and Bill was only 26.

Bill Moyers & LBJ

Bill Josephson, at 27, had already achieved an enviable reputation as one of the shrewdest, hardest working young lawyers in I.C.A. Bill was an indispensable source of ideas. (He had written The Towering Task with Warren Wiggins.) His careful legal work and boundless intellectual energy combined not only to keep up on the right track but to move us rapidly ahead, within, through, and sometimes around the bureaucracy of Washington.

Bill Josephson

Bill Haddad, at 34, was a prize-winning investigative reporter for the New York Post who was so enthusiastic about the idea of a Peace Corps that he started coming down to Washington on his own time to help us in the early days. It soon became apparent that Bill was offering as much to the task as anyone, and I asked him to become a special assistant.

William Haddad

Pat Kennedy was a Woodrow Wilson scholar at the University of Wisconsin studying for his Ph.D. in history. His extracurricular work in the presidential campaign impressed everyone as energetic, imaginative, and dedicated. That’s what we wanted at the Peace Corps headquarters. So we asked Pat to come in early too, and he proved to be one of those invaluable people who knew how to go to work immediately, never stopped and gots the job done.

Pat Kennedy (left) with PCVs in Ethiopia 1962.

And all of these people brought us more talented people to the new Peace Corps.

Next, who were these talented people?

 

 

 

 

 

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  • I’ve often thought that a part of Shriver’s success, in addition to his inexhaustible energy, powerful charisma and close connections to the President of the United States, should be credited to his instinct to surround himself with a mixture of creative stars and loyal bureaucrats. Every Frank Mankiewicz, who saw the Peace Corps as a revolutionary force, was balanced off with a Warren Wiggins or Bill Josephson, whose steady hands kept the lights on and the agency functioning. Most of the public attention got focused on the more colorful high-flying visionaries, but much of the credit for running the place and defending the agency from congressional attack goes to the more conventional and less celebrated bureaucrats who came over from I.C.A. (USAID) and other agencies.

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