Archive - March 2009

1
George May: The P.T. Barnum of Professional Golf
2
Establishing The Peace Corps: A Proposal For The President, Post 10
3
RPCV Charles Larson Gives His African Literature Collection to U of Texas
4
Establishing The Peace Corps: A Towering Task, Post 9
5
Establishing the Peace Corps, On Campus at Michigan, Post 8
6
REVIEW: Roaming Kyrgyzstan
7
A Voice From The Field
8
Establishing The Peace Corps: Ann Arbor, Post 7
9
Vote in our poll.
10
Establishing the Peace Corps: Kennedy's Involvement, Post 6
11
Peace Corps: The Fountain of Youth
12
Establishing the Peace Corps: The Ugly American, Part 5
13
The Peace Corps Book Locker
14
Ann Neelon reviews Attack of the Claw
15
Establishing the Peace Corps: A New Frontier, Part 4

George May: The P.T. Barnum of Professional Golf

In Illinois, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the tournament every caddie wanted to loop in was George S. May’s two weeks at Tam O’Shanter Country Club in Niles, Illinois, on the northwest side of Chicago. George May, a one-time revival-tent Bible salesman who earned millions as an efficiency expert teaching big corporations how to work better and smarter, bought Tam O’Shanter in 1936 and rebuilt it.  The Tam O’Shanter clubhouse was a vast concrete-and-glass, triple-decker building with a sprawling dining room overlooking the course and a one-hundred-foot high water tank in the form of a golf ball atop a red tee. You could see it for miles. At the height of its operation, the club had thirteen bars and telephones on every tee for the convenience of the members.  Noted golf historian, Al Barkow, former Golf Magazine editor and author of Golf’s Golden Grind, about the PGA, grew up as a caddie . . .

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Establishing The Peace Corps: A Proposal For The President, Post 10

Shriver introduced Wiggins and Josephson at the February 6th meeting and distributed copies of “A Towering Task.” From this point on, Wiggins and Josephson became the engine room of the Peace Corps. Shriver describes Wiggins as “the figure most responsible” for the planning and organization that brought the Peace Corps into being.      Twice more in February Kennedy telephoned Shriver to ask about progress on the Peace Corps. The final draft of the report was done with Charles Nelson sitting in one room writing basic copy, Josephson sitting in another room rewriting it, Wofford sitting in yet another room doing the final rewrite, and Wiggins running back and forth carrying pieces of paper. Shriver then made the final edits. On the morning of Friday, February 24, 1961, Shriver delivered to Kennedy what was, in effect, the Peace Corps Magna Carta. He told Kennedy: “If you decide to go ahead, we can . . .

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RPCV Charles Larson Gives His African Literature Collection to U of Texas

The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has acquired Charles Larson’s (Nigeria 1962-64) collection of African, African-American and Native-American literature.  Larson, a professor at American University, is well known as an authority on African and Third World writers.      This collection includes signed and inscribed books, rare publications and unique manuscripts and letters. There are more than 1,100 books by African writers, 250 books by African-American and Caribbean writers, and 60 books by Native-American writers.      “I began reading African writers in 1962 when I was a Peace Corps volunteer,” said Larson.  “It was immediately apparent to me that a rich and exciting literature was emerging across the continent.  My interests expanded when I returned to the United States and discovered similarly important (though sadly overlooked) writing by African-American and American Indian writers.  I feel as if I’ve been in a privileged position to . . .

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Establishing The Peace Corps: A Towering Task, Post 9

The day after the inauguration, Kennedy telephoned Shriver and asked him to form a presidential Task Force “to report how the Peace Corps should be organized and then to organize it.” When he heard from Kennedy, Shriver immediately called Harris Wofford.      At the time, Shriver was 44; Wofford was 34. They had become good friends during the campaign. Wofford had worked as Kennedy’s adviser on civil rights, and together they had worked on the talent hunt for staffing for the new administration.      Initially, the Task Force consisted solely of Shriver and Wofford, sitting in a suite they had rented at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Most of their time was spent making calls to personal friends they thought might be helpful. One name led to another: Gordon Boyce, president of the Experiment in International Living; Albert Sims of the Institute of International Education; Adam Yarmolinsky, a foundation executive; Father Theodore . . .

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Establishing the Peace Corps, On Campus at Michigan, Post 8

On the Michigan campus, after hearing Kennedy, two graduate students – Alan and Judy Guskin – wrote a letter to the editor of The Michigan Daily, the university newspaper, asking readers to join in working for a Peace Corps. (The editor of the Dailywas the future radical, Tom Hayden. The paper later won a journalism award for its coverage and support of the Peace Corps movement.) On campus, students began to circulate a petition urging the founding of a Peace Corps. This effort began to spread onto other campuses in the midwest and east.      Then a Democratic National Committeewoman and UAW official, Mildred Jeffrey, learned about the students’ response from her daughter Sharon, who was studying at the university. Jeffrey put the students in touch with the Kennedy camp.      At first, they couldn’t reach anyone until they got to Ted Sorensen who liked the idea of a major speech on the subject . . .

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REVIEW: Roaming Kyrgyzstan

For anyone who has traveled or hopes to travel to this lesser known corner of Central Asia’s ancient Silk Road, Roaming Kyrgzstan‘s cover photo captures some of the magic that lies within this mountain nation’s truly majestic and rugged landscapes. Roaming Kyrgyzstan: Beyond the Tourist Track by Jessica Jacobson (Senegal 1997)IUniverse,Inc.,November 2008216 pages$17.95Reviewed by Catherine Varchaver (PC Staff, Kyrgyzstan 1995-97)For anyone who has traveled or hopes to travel to this lesser known corner of Central Asia’s ancient Silk Road, Roaming Kyrgzstan‘s cover photo captures some of the magic that lies within this mountain nation’s truly majestic and rugged landscapes.Turning past the seductive cover, the reader encounters something not unlike Kyrgyzstan’s cities and towns-a richness of content and culture hidden beneath a distractingly unsophisticated and even off-putting presentation. Kyrgyzstan’s natural topography ranges from exotic to breath-taking, but the Soviet influence on local architecture erased a good bit of the visible, traditional charm . . .

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A Voice From The Field

I don’t know who this PCV “dilana” is, but as far as I can tell, it is our first comment from a current PCV, and it is a wonderful one. It is an example of what Marian and I hope to achieve with this website and that is to get comments and opinions and information from all over the globe, and from all parts of the Peace Corps World. So, if you missed ”dilana” comment sent on the 21st of this month, here it is in full. dilana on 21/03/2009 in 19:50 Honestly what I am disappointed about at this point is the fact that so many people actually think three months should be enough time apparently to bring the country out of debt, find money from somewhere to use to bring more volunteers to various countries, enlist new countries for Peace Corps, stop the war, increase the budget for PC . . .

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Establishing The Peace Corps: Ann Arbor, Post 7

On October 14, Kennedy flew into Michigan from New York, where he had just completed his third debate with Nixon. He had agreed to say a few words to the students at the university. Ten thousand students waited for him until 2 am, and they chanted his name as he climbed the steps of the student union building.      Kennedy launched into an extemporaneous address. He challenged them, asking how many would be prepared to give years of their lives working in Asia, Africa and Latin America?      The audience went wild. (I know, because at the time I was a new graduate student over in Kalamazoo. I was also working part time as a news reporter for WKLZ and had gone to cover the event.)      According to Sargent Shriver, “No one is sure why Kennedy raised the question in the middle of the night at the university.” Possibly Kennedy thought of . . .

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Vote in our poll.

We’ve added a new feature to Peace Corps Worldwide — a poll. It appears in the left column of the front page just under the list of blogs. Let us hear what you think about this question — and many more to come.

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Establishing the Peace Corps: Kennedy's Involvement, Post 6

JFK’s first direct association with the Peace Corps came on February 21, 1960. He was on a college television show called “College News Conference” and someone asked about the “Point Four Youth Corps.” Kennedy said he didn’t know what the legislative proposal was. Afterwards, he told aide Richard Goodwin to research the idea. Goodwin, who was the Kennedy link with the “brain trust” at Harvard, wrote to Archibald Cox at the university’s law school about the idea.     Then in April and May of 1960, when Kennedy was running against Humphrey for the nomination, the idea was discussed further. Humphrey introduced his bill for a “Peace Corps” in the Senate in June, but after Kennedy won the nomination in July, Humphrey transferred all his research files to Kennedy’s office. The Cow Palace speech made by Kennedy right before the election, which revealed his growing commitment to the “Peace Corps” concept, owed . . .

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Peace Corps: The Fountain of Youth

An RPCV writer who has published many, many successful books is writing one now on people who never seem to get sick. He is looking to interview them and he asked me if there is anyone in the community who while overseas discovered ways or herbs or methods that have kept them healthy. If you know of anyone let me know. Thanks.

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Establishing the Peace Corps: The Ugly American, Part 5

One of the most important books of the late 1950s was the novel, The Ugly American,by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick. The book’s hero was Homer Atkins, a skilled technician committed to helping at a grassroots level by building water pumps, digging roads, and building bridges. He was called the “ugly American” only because of his grotesque physical appearance. He lived and worked with the local people and, by the end of the novel, was beloved and admired by them. The bitter message of the novel, however, was that American diplomats were, by and large, neither competent nor effective; and the implication was that the more the United States relied on them, the more its influence would wane. The book was published in July 1958. It was Book-of-the-Month Club selection in October; by November it had gone through twenty printings. It was so influential that in later paperback editions its . . .

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The Peace Corps Book Locker

In the early years of the Peace Corps, the agency provided each household of Volunteers with a book locker. The books were meant to provide leisure reading for the PCVs, and then to be left behind in schools, villages, and towns where the Volunteers served. There is some mystery as to who had the idea for the book lockers; one rumor has it that it came from first Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver’s wife, Eunice. Surely those books were a wonderful resource to any of the PCVs who thought of writing about the incomparable life they were living. Since 1961 PCVs and Peace Corps Staff have been writing the story of their lives in the developing world, as well as writing about the world beyond the Peace Corps. Among the more than 1000 writers  who have served in the Peace Corps have written and published their books. Many of the books . . .

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Ann Neelon reviews Attack of the Claw

BOOK REVIEW Larry Lihosit discovered the Peace Corps Writers site a couple years back and has been sending his book our way for reviews and comments. Larry is ‘outside’ the main current of literature and commercial publishing and has successful published his own books of poetry and travel. He is proof that you do not need an agent, a big name, or connections to find your way into print. It is for that reason that we have him writing a column on this site. Here is a review of one of his books of poetry to prove that like all good writers, he can take criticism as well as give it. Attack of the Claw and Other Poems about Teaching by Lawrence F. Lihosit ( Honduras 1975–77) A Book Company 2008 (Purchase book from publisher) Reviewed by Ann Neelon (Senegal 1978-79) For several years running, my sons have participated in the . . .

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Establishing the Peace Corps: A New Frontier, Part 4

There was also, as there has always been, a search for a new frontier. That feeling was loose in America. The historian Frederick Jackson Turner has written about how America has continued to grow because of this search for another frontier. The Peace Corps gave all these young people a New Frontier. A new generation The Baby Boom had struck. 50 percent of the population was under 25 in 1960. For the first time a college education was within the grasp of the majority of young people. Unprecedented material wealth freed this new generation to heed their consciences and pursue their ideals. This spirit of generosity and participation had been sorely missed under Eisenhower. As one Peace Corps administrator puts it in Gerry Rice’s book: “The 1950s made ancient mariners of us all – becalmed, waiting and a little parched in the throat. Then we picked up momentum on the . . .

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