A brief history of Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic

Peace Corps was established by John F. Kennedy on March 1, 1961. In May of 1962, the Dominican Republic signed an agreement with the United States to allow Peace Corps volunteers to work in this country. The first group of 21 volunteers arrived on July 11, 1962. They were all male and worked in agriculture programs. Andrés (Andy) Hernández was the first Peace corps director from 1962 - 1964 and was integral in developing a work plan with Dominican officials. This plan was presented to Juan Bosch a few days after he was inaugurated president. 

The United States invaded the Dominican Republic in 1965 after a military coup d'état in 1963 ousted president Juan Bosch. Andy Hernández, in response to an American journalist asking if the volunteers would be evacuated said, "Governments come and go. The people stay. Peace Corps stays to work with the people." And that is what they did. 

In June of 1964, 9 female volunteers and a married couple were among 24 men who began their service in agriculture, education, forestry and public health.

More than 4305 volunteers have served in the Dominican Republic since it was established in 1962. Currently, 207 work in the areas of community development, health, education, environment and business. 

History of the Friends of the Dominican Republic

The following twelve Returned Volunteers and DR Staff met on February 24, 1998 and voted to create and incorporate the Friends of the Dominican Republic.

Randy Adams, PCDR 1966-69, VA
John Evans, PCDR 1967-69, VA
Robert Godino, PCDR 1962-64, MA
Steve Honoré, PCDR Staff 1963-65, DR Director 1978-81, TX
Roger LaBrucherie, PCDR 1970-71, CA
Melzer 'Pat' Morgan, PCDR 1962-64, NC
Marda Mayo, PCDR 1967-69, VA
Neil Ross, PCDR 1962-64, RI 
Tom Semler, PCDR 1966-68, PA
John Shores, PCDR 1976-78, DC
Jess Stone, PCDR 1962-64, MO
Tim Sweeney, PCDR 1970-71, CA

Peace Corps history sources

National Peace Corps Association

Founded in 1979, the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) is the nonprofit alumni network at the center of a vibrant community of 220,000 people who share the Peace Corps experience. NPCA champions lifelong commitment to Peace Corps ideals by connecting, engaging and promoting its members and affiliate groups as they continue to make a difference in communities in the U.S. and abroad. NPCA is also dedicated to advocating for, contributing to, and supporting the betterment of the Peace Corps. www.peacecorpsconnect.org

The Peace Corps

The Peace Corps website has a variety of information regarding the history and programs of the Peace Corps on their website at www.peacecorps.gov

The Peace Corps Community Archives at American University

The Peace Corps Community Archives 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 indivulals who served in the Peace Corps. https://blogs.library.american.edu/pcca/

National Archives & Records Administration
The National Archives is the official depository of all government records for all agencies. Search for Peace Corps, then Dominican Republic. http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/490.html

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library
The Kennedy Library has a RPCV collection that includes some articles, photographs, reports, and JFK papers about the DR and the Peace Corps programs. While the total number of submissions is not large, especially from the Dominican Republic. The public can visit the Library to personally see the original documents in Boston, MA.

Robert B. Russel Library for Political Research and Studies
In 2013, former Peace Corps staff physician in the Dominican Republic, Robert J. Bielen, donated his collection of personal papers and memorabilia regarding the Dominican Crisis of 1965 and Peace Corps activities to this Library. The Robert B. Russel Library is housed at the University of Georgia. This collection complements Ambassador Bennett and Secretary of State's papers and includes oral interviews, articles, books, slides, scrapbooks, reports and clippings in English and Spanish. http://www.libs.uga.edu/russell/

FDR History committee

Friends of the Dominican Republic's History Committee has been working to collect documents, photos and stories that document Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. Research is being conducted to find a home for our collection that allows for public access. If you are interested in participating in this committee, writing stories based on this research, or contributing materials please contact Kim Herman at history AT fotdr.org