Why Did American University Professor Melillo Ignore Peace Corps Archives?


 by Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963–65)

Professor Melillo, Associate Professor at American University,  wrote an article, “How the US Government Sold the Peace Corps to the American Public” See:https://peacecorpsworldwide.org/how-the-us-government-sold-the-peace-corps-to-the-american-public/

She speculated on the motives behind the creation of the Peace Corps and the  reasons Americans volunteered or did not to serve.  Bill Josephson, one of the architects of the Peace Corps and the absolute authority on its early history, wrote a rebuttal to the article. A discussion followed included remarks by Professor Melillo.  See: https://peacecorpsworldwide.org/discussion-on-how-the-us-government-sold-the-peace-corps-to-the-american-public/

I do not understand why Professor  Melillo ignored the Peace Corps Community Archives at American University, where she is an Associate Professor.  The Professor may also have done research at the JFK Library, but she ignored the RPCV Oral History Project archived at the JFK Library.

Visit the American University collection.


Peace Corps Community Archives

AU Library

“The Peace Corps Community Archive curated by the American University Library collects, preserves, and makes available materials that were created and acquired by Peace Corps Volunteers. The archive is used to support student and scholarly research, create exhibits, and provide educational and public programs that document the experiences and impact of individuals who served in the Peace Corps.

What the Community Archive
Needs from You

Started in 2013, the archive continues to solicit donations from RPCVs. Materials created and/or acquired by volunteers during their service can be donated, such as: correspondence, diaries, film, photographs, reports, lesson plans, scrapbooks, and sound recordings.

Why You Should Donate Materials to the Community Archive

Personal memorabilia from RPCVs’ service are needed in order to create a living history of the Peace Corps and the communities where volunteers have served. In order for the archive to provide rich and detailed information about this history, it must include materials from as many different countries of service and time periods as possible. By donating to the archive you will be ensuring that your personal legacy of Peace Corps service will not be forgotten; instead, your service will continue to have a positive impact for generations to come.

Donate to the Collection

If you are interested in making a donation please contact the archive at archives@american.edu or by telephone at +1 (202) 885-3256. Our archivists will be happy to answer your questions and guide you through the process of making a donation.

American University & the Peace Corps

American University has enjoyed a long standing relationship with the Peace Corps, including President Kennedy’s commencement speech on peace in 1963. American University’s location in Washington DC, near the National Archives and Peace Corps Headquarters, makes it a very convenient location for RPCVs and future scholars to visit.

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The Peace Corps and its Volunteers Services Asked for, Given, and Received Developing Volunteers


The Oral History Project at the JFK Library was begun by RPCV Robert Klein  in 2000, as his own volunteer effort to further the Third Goal.  Klein was a Korean War Veteran and a member of the very first Peace Corps group, Ghana I.  This group was one of three Peace Corps groups which trained and were working  in host countries before any Ad Council commercials.  Indeed, they were in country even before President Kennedy signed the Peace Corps Act on September 22, 1961.

The RPCV Oral History collection of over 700 inteviews at the JFK Library has excellent descriptions of the actual interviews. Each description contains the years the Volunteer  served. Bob Klein created the interview guide.  All interviews are conducted by RPCVs.  One of the  first questions is: Why did you join the Peace Corps?”

Sadly, Bob Klein died in April of 2012.  The Peace Corps Community Archives at American University was created to commerate his efforts.  The Oral History project continues.  Here is the link to the JFK Peace Corps collection:


To learn more about the Oral History Project, here is the link:


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