JFK Library Has Four RPCV Oral Histories Online: Listen

One of the many hidden treasures of Peace Corps history is the RPCV Oral History Collection at the JFK Library, begun more than fifteen years ago by RPCV Robert Klein,(Ghana I). Bob interviewed members of Ghana I for his book, Being First: An Informal History of the Early Peace Corps Robert Klein (Ghana 1961-63) Wheatmark, 2010 and realized how valuable those taped interviews were. He decided to expand to interview as many RPCVs as possible, at his own expense. For years, he crisscrossed the country, interviewing RPCVs and teaching them how to interview others. The JFK Library agreed to archive the tapes. There are now APPROXIMATELY 400 individual RECORDED interviews, one to three hours long. Years of service represented go from 1961 through 2015. All RPCVs may participate.  Sadly, Bob died in 2012.  His partner, RPCV Phyllis Noble, (Nigeria 65-67) has continued his work..

In an email, Phyllis wrote:

“I’m delighted to talk to people about participating in this project, to help them get interviewed as a way to begin, and to help them learn the process of conducting an interview. ”

Phyllis can be contacted at this email:OralHistoryProject@peacecorpsconnect.org  (copy and paste)

For more information: https://peacecorpsworldwide.org/rpcv-oral-history-collection-at-the-john-f-kennedy-library-update/

The tapes have not been transcribed and only a few have been digitalized.  However, in a technological breakthrough, the Library is now accepting oral history interviews that have been done on audio equipment. Only four have been recorded in this manner. But those four are now available on line. Here are the four finding aids for the interviews and links to download them to your computer. Clink on the link above each RPCV’s name to download the interview and listen.


Browning, Ivan C. (Ivan Carroll)
Ivan Browning applied to Peace Corps after serving as a VISTA volunteer in a youth services program in Idaho. After joining the Peace Corps, Browning was stationed in Colombia. After training in Bogota, he worked in an adult rehabilitation program in Neiva where he offered athletic activities to prisoners. He served in Colombia from February to September 1974. Thinking he could be more effective elsewhere, he accepted a new assignment in Kenya as an audiovisual specialist in the Nairobi Hospital Medical Training Center. The first months were slow but over time he became engaged with the University of Nairobi African Studies Institute where he did photography and audio recordings, helped publish a scholarly research journal, and participated in various research and medical projects. Browning was in Kenya from January 1975 to December 1976. He states that “the Peace Corps inspired me to be a life-long community volunteer.” 2 digital files (web streaming files combined into 1 file). Interviewed by Patricia Wand, August 1, 2015.


Ganzglass, Evelyn

  • Evelyn Ganzglass served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mogadishu, Somalia, from 1966 to 1968, with her husband Martin. They trained with the Somalia IV group at Columbia University Teachers College. After a brief in-country orientation, the couple was assigned to Mogadishu where Martin worked with the National Police Force and Evelyn taught English to elementary school girls in Primo Julio School. After the first year, Evelyn worked with the ethnographic National Museum to prepare for its re-opening, and conducted educational programs for school children and visitors. The couple taught English informally in their home and socialized with Somalis and fellow PC volunteers. Evelyn states that the years in Somalia formed the foundation of their strong marriage, and they made life-long friendships with several Americans and Somalis, including the Farah family whom the Ganzglasses sponsored as political refugees. 2 digital files (web streaming files combined into 1 file). Interviewed and recorded by Patricia A. Wand, April 22, 2015.


Good, Laura Ward
Laura Good served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines from 1982 to 1984, working in the field of local development administration. Prior to the Peace Corps, Laura had gained experience in anthropology, environmental science, and urban planning. In the Philippines, Laura and her husband lived and worked on the very small island of Siquijor. Laura assisted the local county government in a number of projects, including the reforestation of mangrove trees. 2 digital files (web streaming files combined into 1 file). Interviewed and recorded by Phyllis Noble, May 27, 2015.
Tomasiewicz, Abdullahi Edward
Abdullahi Edward Tomasiewicz served in the Peace Corps in Nigeria from August 1966 to August 1967 as an agriculture and rural development volunteer. He was assigned to a small industries business loan grant project in Kano, a project funded by the Ford Foundation and administered by the regional Nigerian government. The Peace Corps decided to terminate his service after one year and sent him home. A few years later, Ed went back to Nigeria and discovered that the people whose projects he had helped fund had gone on to become successful businessmen. By the time of this interview, Ed (age 72) had spent a significant portion of his life in Nigeria and had also obtained Nigerian citizenship. Unfortunately, all but the first half-hour of this interview has been lost. 1 digital audio file. Interviewed by Phyllis Noble, June 6, 2015.

For more information:


To contact Library staff, use this email, cut and paste.Acquisitions.Kennedy@nara.gov or call 617.514.1642

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