Between 1966 and 1981, more than two thousand Americans served in Korea as Peace Corps Volunteers, working as teachers, health workers, engineers, agricultural advisers, etc. Living in rural and urban communities across the country, they learned the Korean language and participated in Korean life on a broader and deeper level than any other group of Americans before or since have been able to do.
Once returned to their homes after their service, they formed an alumni group called Friends of Korea to continue their friendships with Korea and one another. Many went on to build careers as Korea experts as diplomats, educators, scholars, policy makers, consultants, etc. To this day many of the returned volunteers actively work to raise awareness of Korean issues and perspectives in America.
The many materials the Peace Corps Korea Volunteers brought back from Korea -- photographs, diaries, correspondence, audio-visual recordings, etc. -- help to document the critical fifteen-year period in Korean history that laid the foundations of a modern economy and a flourishing democracy.
Gary Hedrick (K-6) archived these research materials on the Peace Corps Korea Website until its discontinuation in 2017, after which the files were transferred to the USC Digital Library. The USC Korean Heritage Library continues to collect and add materials to the USC Peace Corps Korea Digital Archive.
This digital collection is made possible by the generous support of the Academy of Korean Studies.
View this collection on the contributor's website.