One of the many hidden treasures of Peace Corps history is the RPCV Oral History Collection at the JFK Library, begun more than seventeen 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.
Bob Klein died in 2012 and his work was carried on by his good friend, Phyllis Noble. Sadly, Phyllis, too has passed on. But, the JFK Oral History project lives on. RPCVs have continued this incredibly important work. Now they have affiliated with the National Peace Corps Association. Here is their latest update:
- The project invites Returned Peace Corps Volunteers to be interviewed.
- “The toughest job you ever loved” is a slogan that resonates with many Volunteers. There are good days. There are great days. There are bad days. Some volunteers want to stay in their host countries forever; others can’t wait to come home. We all have stories to tell.
- Please contact us if you’d like to be interviewed. We will connect you with an interviewer near you. Interviews must be conducted in person to assure the recording meets technical standards. Interviews average sixty to ninety minutes.
- Contact: https://www.peacecorpsoralhistory.org/cpages/get-involvedor sign up here.
There are two web pages on the NPCA web site: Here are the links Project: https://www.peacecorpsoralhistory.org/cpages/home and https://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/companies/rpcv-oral-history-archive-project
Become an interviewer
- The first step is to be interviewed yourself.
- We are eager to expand the network of volunteer RCPV interviewers. There are currently 14 active interviewers and we need more.
- Interviewers are trained and supported by the RPCV Oral History Archives Project Guide. They follow established oral history interviewing guidelines to ensure that highest quality standards are consistently applied. The required recording technology assures that the digitized data will be preserved and accessible over time. The Guide is maintained by the project leadership team in conjunction with archivists at the JFK Presidential Library.
- Volunteers procure their own recorders and cover minor costs of supplies and any travel expenses they choose to incur.
- Contact: https://www.peacecorpsoralhistory.org/cpages/get-involved or sign up here.
If you have any problems with the links, please note that problem in the comment section. (Any difficulties with the links are my errors. The RPCVs working with the project are just great! They are working with me to get the links correct.)