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PEACE CORPS WORLDWIDE IS PLEASED (AND THRILLED!) to report that Peace Corps photographer Rowland Scherman will return to Washington, D.C. next month for the 50th Anniversary to take photographs at the Peace Corps Writers Luncheon at the Library of Congress celebrating the establishment of the “Peace Corps Collection” at the Library; the Mad Men & Women of the Mayflower breakfast at the Mayflower Hotel on Saturday morning of the 24th co-hosted with the Peace Corps Fund; and at the Third Goal Bash hosted by the Peace Corps Fund in the evening of that same day at the Smith Center on the campus of George Washington University.

As his friend Bob Dylan might sing, “the circle is unbroken.” Rowland Scherman will come home to where his career began.

Rowland Scherman in 1961 served as the first photographer for the Peace Corps. Traveling the world, he helped establish the image for the agency in its first years. Remembering that time, he says today, “I started my career in a meaningful and beneficial way. I spent two years documenting Peace Corps Volunteers around the world.”

Leaving the Peace Corps in 1964, Rowland spent most of the ’60s being in the right place at the right time, either talking his way backstage for a Dylan concert or being invited to join Bobby Kennedy on the 1968 campaign trail. All this while Rowland was doing covers and photojournalism for  LIFE, Time, Newsweek, Paris Match, Playboy, and National Geographic. He won a Grammy in 1968 for an album cover for Bob Dylan. In 1969 he was voted Photographer of the Year by the Washington Art Directors’ Association.

By the end of the decade, he lost interest in photojournalism. Disillusioned by the violent events of the period, coupled with the demise of photographic outlets, such as Life, he was led to pursue other activities. He went to live in Britain for seven years, and there created the book Love Letters. Later he published a book of photographs about Elvis Presley — Elvis is Everywhere. The next 20 years he did advertising, corporate and portrait photography in Birmingham, Alabama.

All the while his famous photographs and negatives, numbering in the thousands, were stored away in manila folders and glassine envelopes, some of them even under his bed. Most were not to see the light of day for 40 years.

In 2000, Roland visited friends on Cape Cod and was so taken with its beauty that he stayed. One day he walked into Artworks! Gallery in Orleans, carrying a picture of John Lennon. Owners Meri and David Hartford were immediately intrigued when they heard his story and learned about the thousands of images that Scherman had in storage.

“Rowland wasn’t interested in promoting images that he didn’t consider ‘his best quality,’” said Dave Hartford.  “But with help from Bob Korn, a well-known photographic printer, who also lives in Orleans, the three of us badgered him into showing us his negatives.  We were blown away.”

The Hartfords and Korn initiated the Rowland Scherman Project to help Scherman begin to unearth, catalog, print and frame this treasure trove of history, which they will offer for exhibitions around the country.

To see a slideshow of Rowland Scherman images, visit SnapsTour.com.

Come to D.C. in September and meet this Peace Corps legend at the Worldwide/Writers’ social on Thursday evening. Rowland Scherman IS one of the early Mad Men of the agency!