Archive - January 3, 2011

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Okay, if you are so smart: where was the Peace Corps Act Signed?
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Naming the Peace Corps
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Mike Meyer in China

Okay, if you are so smart: where was the Peace Corps Act Signed?

Thanks to Bob Chudy (Korea 1972-77) who told me this fact the act of signing the Peace Corps Bill took place at Hammersmith Farm, a Victorian mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. It was the childhood home of Jackie Kennedy, and where the wedding reception was held for JFK and Jaqueline Bouvier. During his presidency, Kennedy spent so much time at Hammersmith Farm that it was referred to as the “Summer White House.” In late  September 1961, during one of these stays, Kennedy signed Public Law 87-293, the Peace Corps Act of 1961.    

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Naming the Peace Corps

Those of us who follow the history of the Peace Corps agency know the term “peace corps” came to public attention during the 1960 presidential election. In one of JFK’s last major speeches before the November election he called for the creation of a “Peace Corps” to send volunteers to work at the grass roots level in the developing world. However, the question remains: who said (or wrote) “peace corps” for the very first time? Was it Kennedy? Was it his famous speech writer Ted Sorensen? Or Sarge himself? But – as in most situations – the famous term came about because of some young kid, usually a writer, working quietly away in some back office that dreams up the language. In this case the kid was a graduate student between degrees who was working for the late Senator Hubert Horatio Humphrey. Today, fifty years after the establishment of the . . .

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Mike Meyer in China

Michael Meyer (China 1995-97) author of The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Back Streets of a City Transformed had an op-ed in the New York Times on January 1, 2011. Mike is just back from China, living in New York, and he dropped me an email to say, “Just back from China this morning and had a great skate in the sun of Bryant Park. ” Ah, the writer’s life. China one day; the Big Apple the next. Here’s Mike’s piece on China’s Big Zhang. • January 1, 2011 China’s Big Zhang Harbin, China On the high-speed train from Beijing northeast to Harbin, passengers around me munch sweet popcorn and read books titled “Currency Wars,” “The Collapse of the Eurosystem,” and “The Upside of Irrationality.” Despite the raft of anti-inflationary measues introduced by the Chinese government in November, the lead article in the morning New Capital News . . .

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