Archive - March 29, 2010

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Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris, Part Two

Mad Woman At The Peace Corps: Elizabeth Forsling Harris, Part Two

Why didn’t Betty Harris become the head of the first Women’s Division in the Peace Corps? What Betty found out later was that Paul Geren, Sarge’s first and short-lived Deputy Director, killed the idea of her being in charge of women Volunteers. “I knew Paul from Dallas,” Betty recalled in Coates Redmon’s  book. “Sarge told Geren that he was thinking of bringing me up from Texas to deal with women’s issues and Geren replied–or so the story went–‘That’s like putting Marilyn Monroe in charge of the Boy Scouts!’ Apparently, Paul thought I was too wild for his type of southern Baptist upbringing, and his objection had short-circuited my appointment. But I thought the comparison to Marilyn Monroe was the best compliment I’d ever had.” When Betty did arrive in D.C. she was given a desk and told to read up on early Peace Corps documents until some job was found for . . .

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