Author - Joanne Roll

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See new list: published September 26, 2017
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The Peace Corps Library – Final
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The Peace Corps Library – Part II
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The Peace Corps Library – Part I
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Peace Corps Records from Overseas Posts – Current Retention Schedule
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Records of Peace Corps offices in Host Countries
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Stone Soup
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Information Collection and Exchange: ICE
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From the Volunteer and RPCV
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What is a public record?

See new list: published September 26, 2017

Old References – obsolete Here is a quick guide to the websites and other locators for public records of the Peace Corps that I used in the past. Peace Corps is undergoing a transition in its webpages. I have found it increasingly difficult to locate records that were previously easily accessible.  It could be because I lack the necessary technical expertise to adequately search the website. This website, Peace Corps World Wide, is an an excellent source for Peace Corps History. RPCVs John Coyne and Marian Haley Beil have been preserving Peace Corps History by promoting Peace Corps writers and publishing first person accounts about Peace Corps and its Volunteers for over 35 years. This is so important because there is no Peace Corps Library. I could find no master catalog of all public Peace Corps documents. I would also add that Peace Corps Volunteers are private citizens doing public work. . . .

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The Peace Corps Library – Final

  There are historical records that would enhance current discussion on Peace Corps World Wide. “Evaluation of Central Agricultural Training for the Latin America and Caribbean Region, Peace Corps – April 1980“ would be a great companion piece to Don Gayton’s “Chicken Rites.” And for Ethiopia, the country I always felt the Peace Corps stars fell on, there is “The Impact of Peace Corps Teachers on Students in Ethiopia- Research Division O.P.R. 1968.” A study, entitled “Report of the Task Force on Sexual Assault September 26, 1979,” from the Office of Special Services, is pertinent to the current day Safety and Security discussion. These all are relics from what I presume were once the Peace Corps Library collection. These materials should still be located at PC/DC.   My FOIA request, of March 11, 2010 asked for documents showing”when and why the office known as Peace Corps Library was closed; all the . . .

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The Peace Corps Library – Part II

  “How did we get here and where do we want to go?” Surely, my site buddies and I were not the only PCVs to ponder that question. It could even serve as one theme for the 50th Anniversary. However, in the context of the Peace Corps administrative history of information services, it sounds like the message  Peace Corps Director Loret Ruppe gave to her staff after Peace Corps gained its independence from ACTION in 1982. The Peace Corps Library had been providing support services to domestic operations and now had to refocus on Peace Corps.  What would be the best way to support overseas staff as well as Washington Headquarters and avoid duplication and competition between ICE and the Library?  Rupert ordered a study to answer precisely that question. The study included a review of previous studies, documents and memos all of which had been carefully archived in the . . .

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The Peace Corps Library – Part I

  The first official mention of a Peace Corps Library is in a July 1965 memo to Charles J. Patterson, a former Acting Associate Director, supporting such a library “for the primary purpose of improved overseas staff orientation.” It was proposed that the agency “gather together in one convenient place a copy of fundamental materials which reflect our experience and which will help overseas staff. Of course these materials would prove of considerable value to the entire Peace Corps. If properly set up it will save the government time, space, and money and will help the agency learn what it has learned already: thus each new employee need not be condemned to relearn for himself what the agency already knows.” (Peace Corps ICE/Library Study December 22, 1982, page 2)   Nineteen sixty-five was an important year for Peace Corps. The agency was four years old, had weathered the assassination of . . .

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Peace Corps Records from Overseas Posts – Current Retention Schedule

  The Retention Schedule dictates the official disposition of public records from federal agencies, including the Peace Corps. Records are designated as temporary or permanent; to be destroyed or ultimately archived when they are not longer needed for day-to-day operations. Each agency develops its own recommendations on this phase of record management, which are then submitted to the National Archives and Records Administration for approval. This summary is the current Retention Schedule for Peace Corps records from Overseas Posts. I received this information in response to a FOIA request. The response is dated March 17, 2010. I do not know how long such instructions have been in effect. The Retention Schedule and its description of records is public information. However, I presume that many of the individual records may not be considered public information, depending on how the content is ultimately classified. This is a summary of the information from . . .

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Records of Peace Corps offices in Host Countries

  “It is foolish for us to work here and never have or leave any records or data on what we are doing or have done…This eliminates any follow-up after we leave.” – Departing CD Volunteer: Colombia 1965. Evelyn Reed, on assignment from Charlie Peters legendary PC Evaluation Unit, quoted from this Volunteer’s memo in her report entitled “Peace Corps Community Development in Colombia,” November 28, 1967. (All the Peace Corps records at the National Archives have been renumbered since I made a copy of that report. The old citation is: Record Group 490; Entry 20; Country Program Evaluations; Colombia 1967; Box 23). To quote Reed further from that report, I found a chaotic jumble of old and recent records scattered all over Colombia…my concern grew about what such a lack of record-keeping did to program planning and current Volunteer work…(From a visit to a storage warehouse) The warehouseman ground . . .

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Stone Soup

  If Peace Corps history were a meal, Stone Soup would head the menu. In the fable, a poor village had nothing to eat but the people had a pot, water, fire and a stone.  They heated the water using the ancient technique of heating the stone and dropping it into the pot. Soon someone tossed in a carrot. Somebody else had a small piece of meat. Little by little, they made soup. The RPCVs who have made such giant efforts at preserving Peace Corps history are the water, the fire, the pot and the stone.    I am speaking, of course, of  RPCVS such as John Coyne and Marian Haley Bell (Ethiopia) who created “Peace Corps Readers and Writers” many years ago to showcase literature written by Peace Corps Volunteers. Now they publish this blog.  Robert Klein (Ghana I) author of Ghana I – Being First.  Bob started the . . .

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Information Collection and Exchange: ICE

“Sanitation through Innovation: the Tube Sock Toilet — Congo 1997” Wouldn’t that be fun to read!   Or,  “Peace Corps Tunisia: The Legacy 1962–1996 — Tunisia  1996”; or “Botswans: Preservice Training Re-entry Group 2 Final Technical Report, May 04  — Botswana”;  or,  “Peace Corps Tunisia: The Legacy 1962-1996 — Tunisia 1996”; or  “Reflecting Life: A Workshop on HIV/AIDS Education and Awareness  — Thailand 2004.” These are just a sample of a wide range of field generated materials found in the Peace Corps’ Information Collection and Exchange or ICE. Field generated materials are those created in the field by Peace Corps staff and Volunteers. Since the beginning, Peace Corps has provided technical information from all sources to Volunteers in the field. Sometimes this service was provided within the Publication and Information Center or PIC, sometimes within the Peace Corps Library. In 1975, this function was formalized as the Information Collection and Exchange or . . .

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From the Volunteer and RPCV

  Mother Ship or Death Star, the voice of PC/DC, the Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington DC dominates in public records. It has been difficult for me to get beyond the administrative mode to find the authentic voice of actual Peace Corps Volunteers and others outside of official Washington. The DOS or Description of Service, the new Digital Library, the Information Collection and Exchange or ICE, and information from the Peace Corps Offices in Host Countries all include sources from outside PC/DC.  The late, but still lamented Peace Corps Library should also be included.  Let us start with the DOS and the Digital Library. Description of Service, or DOS. Sometimes referred to as COS, Close of Service document. Early Volunteers received a generic description of their service. It was the same for all members of the group, regardless of individual activities. The purpose for the DOS was to verify Peace . . .

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What is a public record?

The history of the Peace Corps can be found in the hearts and minds of people all over the world. It abounds in books and blogs, oral histories, letters, journals, and stories we tell each other and stories told by people in Host Countries about us. Public records are  a very small but critical part of this array. I focus on public records because they are the working documents that have been used, through time and space, in the operations of the Peace Corps.  They provide a historic framework. How they have been maintained through the last fifty years has varied because of technology as well as the perspective and regulations of the various administrations.  This following is based on my understanding of current procedures. So, what is a public record? Public records are created by a government agency to order to conduct the public business. These records could include everything . . .

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