Emory Biro was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, and went to the University of Detroit, where he edited the college paper, and graduated in 1954 with a degree in political science. He was fired from his job as a college editor because of his last editorial, an attack on McCarthyism called “The Rise of Fascism in the U.S.”
Also in his undergraduate career, he had served as vice president of the university’s student council, vice president of the Detroit Interracial Council, and finally, vice president of the Migratory Workers Defense League.
In 1954, he moved to Chicago and went to work for the Catholic Interracial Council, of which Sargent Shriver was then president. Appointed to the CIC board, he served on it from 1957 until he came to the Peace Corps in 1962.
Biro, who spoke Hungarian before he spoke English, and who first learned Spanish working with braceros in Michigan, arrived in Lima in August, moved to Arequipa to get that office functioning, then return to Lima for the arrive of the first Volunteers.
Dan Sharp from San Francisco, received his degree in Political Science and International Relations from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1954 he joined the Army as a Military Police Officer and went to Korea where he served alternatively as Commander of the Honor Guard, acting Assistant Division Provost Marshall and member of the Court fo General Courts-martial.
After his discharge he enrolled at Harvard Law School where was awarded an LL.B. in 1959. Sharp came to the Peace Corps in July, 1961, with a specialty in Latin American Affairs. He helped draft the report of the Regional American Assembly meeting on Latin American policy and was Secretary of the Commonwealth Club’s International Relations Section. He was chairman of the study group of the World Affairs Council of Northern California which pursued a three year program on the undeveloped areas.
The original staff in Peru—for a program that would become the second largest in the world with 427 Volunteers within two years—was completed with the arrival in September, 1962, of language expert Nancy McNulty.
Born in Boston, McNulty graduated from Boston University in 1948 with a degree in Romance languages and literature. After a year on an exchange scholarship to the Escuela Normal Superior in Bogota, Colombia, she returned to Boston and received her M.A. in Spanish literature in 1951.
She then joined USIA for one tour and was sent to the Bi-national Center in Lima (also at the Center was William Warner, later to be Peace Corps Executive Secretary).
On the Berkeley campus of the University of California, McNulty gave lectures in how to teach English as a foreign language and began her own studies towards a Ph.D. in linguistics. She transferred both her studies and teaching to New York University’s Washington Square campus for the academic year 1957-58. She then joined the American Book Company as international book editor, involved principally in editing.
In the summer of 1960, she went to Africa for English Language Services Inc., of Washington, D.C., whose language laboratories were located on H Street, one block from the first Peace Corps headquarters.
This firm had a contract to institute the teaching of English in Guinea. As McNulty describes it, “This was before Guinea had kicked out the Russians. We think we were the prop which opened the door to future American foreign aid in that country –Guinea had rejected all previous U.S. advances. We got classes organized for every school teacher in the country’ for them, our seminars were compulsory. Back to Washington with English Language Services, I wrote texts, made language tapes, gave classes for teachers in methods of teaching.”
When the firm was asked by the Peace Corps to survey Spanish facilities at the camps in Puerto Rico and made recommendations, McNulty was one of two persons sent to make the survey—it was her first contact with the Peace Corps and it led to her meeting Mankiewicz. After a year in Peru, McNulty was transferred to the Colombia program before she returned to the U.S. in February, 1964.
Research Document: Who’s Who in the Peace Corps Overseas Administration (1963)
The photographs are by Rowland Scherman, Paul Conklin and Jim Walls, first photographers for the agency.