The Peace Corps Community Archive at American University Seeks Your Story

The Peace Corps Community Archive at American University Library is actively seeking the ‘histories’ of RPCVs. The Kennedy Library in Boston has a ‘Peace Corps collection’ from the first years of the agency, i.e., during JFK’s presidency, and there are other collections, including the official records of the Peace Corps at the National Archives in Washington. RPCVs funded one collection of objects in Portland, Oregon, and various libraries have the papers of former students, but American University’s venture is new, impressive, and expanding.

Unlike the Peace Corps agency, which appears to deliberately want to ‘bury its past’ having done little over the years to document the successes and failures of the Peace Corps, RPCVs have taken it upon themselves through their writings, films, photos, and organizations to put together the history of their experiences, and now universities and libraries are becoming aware of the valuable items that RPCV have in their possession.

Here is what American University in Washington, D.C. is seeking for its “Peace Corps Community Archive”

The Peace Corps Community Archive at American University collects, preserves, and makes available materials that were created and acquired by Peace Corps Volunteers.  Started in 2013, the archive continues to solicit donations from RPCVs. Materials created and/or acquired by volunteers during their service such as: published books, correspondence, diaries, film, photographs, reports, lesson plans, scrapbooks, and sound recordings can be donated.  If you are interested in making a donation, please contact the archive at or by telephone at (202) 885-3256.  Our archivists will be happy to answer your questions and guide you through the process of making a donation.


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  • Susan McElrath, University Archivist, at American University also wrote that:

    “We are definitely interested in acquiring published Peace Corps memoirs for the Library’s circulating collection. As long as the books are printed and bound, we will catalog them and let people check them out to read.

    Group of service histories are not specifically mentioned anywhere in our scope statement. If they are published, we could easily add them to our growing Peace Corps writings “collection.” “

    I would urge all RPCV authors to donate a copy of their work to American University, as well as their own home schools, high school as well as colleges and universities.

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