Newly Opened Collection on Early Peace Corps Training Camps in Puerto Rico


by Corbin Apkin, Graduate Student Intern (Simmons College GSLIS)

We are pleased to announce that the William Henry Byrd Personal Papers collection is now available for research. The collection consists of materials created during Byrd’s time as Director of the Peace Corps training camps in Puerto Rico, a position he held from 1961-1963, and include correspondence, weekly reports, staff memos, and Peace Corps newsletters and publications. A large portion of the collection consists of photographic prints, negatives, and slides.


WHBPP-PH-004William Byrd with his family. (WHBPP-PH-004)


William Henry Byrd worked as a high school teacher in Oregon. He was also a mountain guide, and one of his clients was United States Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. Shortly after the creation of the Peace Corps in 1961, Secretary McNamara approached Byrd to head the Peace Corps training camps in Puerto Rico.











Staff memos detail the training schedule for Peace Corps volunteers. (View rest of the folder here:










Byrd’s materials give great insight into what the training process was like for Peace Corps volunteers. Perhaps due to his former position as a mountain guide, Byrd focused on rock climbing and physical fitness as a way to train the volunteers, but training also included activities such as Spanish lessons. Byrd’s weekly reports contain information such as visitors to the camp, community relations, and staff development. The collection offers a look into the Peace Corps that is not always documented, and we can see firsthand what volunteers encountered.














Vice President Lyndon Johnson visited one of Byrd’s camps and delivered a speech to Peace Corps volunteers on July 26, 1962. (View rest of the folder here:











The collection also contains materials related to notable persons. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Camp Radley, one of the training camps led by Byrd in 1962, and a copy of his address to the Peace Corps volunteers is included in the collection. There is also correspondence between Byrd and Director of the Peace Corps Sargent Shriver, as well as photographs of Shriver with Governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Muñoz Marín.


WHBPP-001-003-p0025William Byrd corresponded with Sargent Shriver and sent him weekly reports on the Puerto Rico camps. (View rest of the folder here:


While the collection’s textual materials show us what the training process was like for Byrd’s volunteers, the photographs show us other aspects of the camps. Recreation is a major theme of the photographs, but they also document parties and other activities and offer an interesting look at what volunteers did when they weren’t training. The photographs also include pictures of Byrd’s family and numerous landscapes of Puerto Rico, giving context for the setting of the training camps.

In 1963 Byrd moved back to Eugene, Oregon where he worked as a legal investigator, and later ran the Outward Bound School. William Henry Byrd died in 2008.


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Newly Opened Collection: David S. Black Personal Papers


by Abigail Malangone, Processing & Reference Archivist

We are pleased to announce the opening of the David S. Black Personal Papers. The material in this collection relates to Black’s work as General Counsel for the Bureau of Public Roads; Commissioner, Vice Chairman, and Acting Chairman of the Federal Power Commission; Administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration; and Undersecretary of the Department of the Interior. These papers span the years 1961 to 1969 and cover topics related to the Federal Aid Highway Program, energy, power plants, power failures, natural resources, National Parks, and Native American land claims, among others. Please consult the David S. Black Personal Papers finding aid for more information related to this collection.


Swearing in of David S. Black as General Counsel of the Bureau of Public Roads by E.J. Martin and R.M. Whitten, 1961.

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Papers of H. Bentley Hahn: The Man Who Invented the ZIP Code


by Lauren Wallace, Graduate Student Intern (Simmons College GSLIS)


Photograph of H. Bentley Hahn, at the ZIP Code Symposia in Pittsburg, Pennsylvannia on March 16, 1965. View the rest of the folder, here: HBHPP-001-029.

Photograph of H. Bentley Hahn, at the ZIP Code Symposium in Pittsburgh, PA, March 16, 1965. View the rest of the folder, here: HBHPP-001-029.

We are pleased to announce that the H. Bentley Hahn Personal Papers is now fully digitized and available on our website.

The digitization of the H. Bentley Hahn Personal Papers was part of my final capstone internship for my Masters degree in Library and Information Science and Archives Management at Simmons College. It was exciting, yet challenging, to apply the skills I had learned over the course of my degree. In digitizing this collection, what struck me was the simplicity of a program that we now take for granted and how it completely revolutionized the U.S. Postal Service. The story of the ZIP Code and of the Mr. ZIP marketing campaign provides insight into a rapidly-changing postal system. In working with H. Bentley Hahn’s papers, I discovered a small snapshot of history that I would have never seen otherwise and I am excited to be able to share it with others.

Henry Bentley Hahn, Sr. was born on March 14, 1910 in Beaumont, Jefferson Co., Texas and served in the United States Air Force from 1942-1946. Upon his return Hahn became a postal inspector for the United States Post Office Department. It was the work he performed in this position for which he is best remembered.

In 1961, the volume of magazine and circular mail bundles in the United States averaged 43 million pieces per week, with a total of about 30 billion pieces annually. [1] The U.S. Post Office was still dealing with the loss of many trained employees from World War II and did not have the necessary resources to increase the specialized training required to handle this amount of mail. With mass mail marketing campaigns and magazine circulation on the rise, the U.S. Post Office was searching for ways to manage the exponentially increasing load more effectively.

After spending six years evaluating the operations of the field postal service, Hahn submitted a report entitled, “Proposed Reorganization of the Field Postal Service” (1953) to the Inspector in Charge, C. C. Garner, as a solution to the developing mail problem. This proposal would later become the, “Zone Improvement Plan,” establishing the ZIP Code and the two-letter state abbreviations.[2] The final plan was announced to the public on November 28, 1962 and implemented on July 1, 1963.

























The first three slides from Hahn’s presentation and the transcript to”Technical Explanation of Post Office Department’s Proposed ‘Zip Code’ Program for the Postal System.” The presentation was delivered following the official announcement by the Postmaster General in November 1962. View the rest of the presentation slides, here: HBHPP-001-028. View the rest of the speech, here: HBHPP-001-022.


The ZIP Code plan created a hierarchy based on national region, sub-region, post office, and delivery station.[3] Using the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library ZIP Code as an example (02125), the region is 0, sub-region is 2, post office is 1, and delivery station is 25. As found in trial areas, the new ZIP Code eased the sorting process by removing delivery steps and effectively utilizing electronic data processing equipment in the pre-sorting of mail. This approach ultimately led to a decrease in cost and delivery time.[4]












Mr. ZIP, the United States Post Office Department mascot, promoting and explaining the new ZIP Code system. View the rest of the folder, here: HBHPP-001-026.



















Memorandum from James F. Kelleher, Special Assistant to the Postmaster General, to all Postmasters at Cities Formerly Zoned and Cities Newly Zoned, sent April 29, 1963. The memorandum mandated that Postmasters “immediately launch a saturation campaign to fully inform the residents” of their respective cities. View the entire folder, here: HBHPP-001-032.









In order to implement the new program successfully, the U.S. Post Office set out to create an effective, mass marketing campaign. However, due to the limited time frame between the program’s official public announcement and its expected implementation, a majority of the campaign efforts was left to the regional and local post offices, some of which only received two months notification prior to the July 1,1963 implementation date.

To accomplish this ambitious goal, regional and local post offices were utilized to saturate the community with information. The U.S. Post Office mandated that the campaign inform residents on how to use the ZIP Code, when to start, and why the change was necessary.[5] With a “tremendous job to do and a very short time in which to do it,” local post offices were entrusted with promoting and informing their residents in a very short period of time.[6]

Shortly afterward, reports of success started to come in from the regional postmasters, with minor issues to be addressed. Despite these issues, the ZIP Code was considered by the U.S. Post Office to be a huge success. Some counties saved as much as $10,000 per year, speeding up delivery by up to 48 hours in some locations and easing the process of sorting without a reduction in staff or closing local post offices.[7] Below is a sampling of the reports sent in by postmasters shortly after the implementation of the ZIP Code:



Memo from Regional Director of Seattle, Washington to the Parcel Post Division, having submitted feedback from the Postmasters within the region in February 1967, almost five years after implementation of the ZIP Code. View the rest of the folder, here: HBHPP-001-002.

Memorandum from the Newark, New York Postmaster to H. Bentley Hahn, reporting back on ZIP code in July 1964, one year later. To view the rest of the folder, please click here (HBHPP-001-010).

Memorandum from the Newark, New York Postmaster to H. Bentley Hahn, reporting back on ZIP code in July 1964, one year later. View the rest of the folder, here: HBHPP-001-010.





















While there were challenges to work through with the new system, postmasters throughout the region reported overall success in the implementation of the ZIP Code system. Almost 52 years later, the system remains in effect and has continued to adapt to many changes, including advancements in technology.


[1] HBHPP-001-004-p0002

[2] HBHPP-001-012-p0003

[3] HBHPP-001-025-p0004

[4] HBHPP-001-025-p0004

[5] HBHPP-001-032-p0001

[6] HBHPP-001-032-p0014

[7] HBHPP-001-012-p0001


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Collection Opening: William J. Hartigan Personal Papers


by Jennifer Marciello, Processing Archivist

We are pleased to announce the opening of the William J. Hartigan Personal Papers.




William J. Hartigan was born in 1923 in Revere, Massachusetts. He was a graduate of the Beacon Institute of Podiatry, pursued pre-legal studies at Suffolk University, and took university extension courses at Harvard University and M.I.T. During World War II Hartigan served in the United States Army Air Corps as a member of the Flying Tigers in China (1942-1945).

Hartigan began his career in transportation with the airline industry (1952-1960) where he served as a cargo specialist; in this role he advised shippers on the development of faster and more economical means of transportation. Hartigan also worked as an account executive for domestic and international freight forwarders.

Active in national politics, Hartigan served as a delegate to the 1960 Democratic National Convention (DNC) and was the Director of Transportation for the DNC during the 1960 presidential campaign. On the local level, he served as Vice Chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee for four years. Hartigan was also Vice Chairman for the presidential campaigns of Robert F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey.










(Right) Delegate seating plan for the 1960 Democratic National Convention. View the entire folder here.















(Left) Questionnaire for the state of Indiana regarding the 1964 presidential election. View the entire folder here.









In 1961 Hartigan was appointed as a staff assistant to President Kennedy and performed advance work for presidential trips. In July of that year he was appointed as Assistant Postmaster General for the Bureau of Transportation, a position that he held until 1967 under Postmasters John Gronouski and Lawrence F. O’Brien.











(Right) White House press release announcing the nomination of William Hartigan as Assistant Postmaster General, Bureau of Transportation, 23 July 1961. View entire folder here.

















(Left) Official Senate Resolution confirming William Hartigan as Assistant Postmaster General, 4 August 1961. View entire folder here.









As Assistant Postmaster General, Hartigan was instrumental in modernizing the agency with the use of airplanes for mail delivery service; of note, he rode on the last postal delivery made by dogsled in Alaska in 1963.











(Right) Report of Accomplishments of the Post Office Department during the First Year of the Kennedy Administration. View entire folder here.

















(Left) Newspaper article from the Anchorage Times about the last dog sled mail delivery in Alaska. View entire folder here.









Hartigan’s papers contain a range of material: clippings related to his role in the Post Office and to departmental matters in which he was in charge; correspondence as Assistant Postmaster General (e.g., constituents seeking promotions or employment, letters of congratulation on his appointment and reappointment, as well as invitations to various events); and photographs of Hartigan (documenting trips, meetings, and various receptions, as well as official office shots and head shots).

A large segment of the collection consists of a variety of subject files: official Post Office Department reports; studies on airline safety; and Hartigan’s work on proposed economic measures in the White House. Of note in this section are files related to Hartigan’s roles on the Democratic National Committee (1959-1967), the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee, and in local politics. The last section of the series contains trip files maintained by Hartigan during his tenure as Assistant Postmaster General; these serve to document his travels to regional post offices and facilities as well as his work with international organizations such as the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the Consultative Committee for Postal Studies (CCPS).


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Archival Detective Work in the Hemingway Collection


by Christina Lehman Fitzpatrick, Processing Archivist

During the recent project to update the finding aid for the Ernest Hemingway Personal Papers, we noticed several folders of “unidentified” incoming letters where the author was not known. Naturally, this piqued our interest and we decided to do some sleuthing. In the current age of online search engines and digitized records, could we finally identify some of these mystery writers? Here are two examples of how we researched the unidentified letters.


Case #1: “One gut Cordes”

Ernest received two letters from someone who signed as both “One gut Cordes” and “Bill.” The writer was kind enough to include full dates (27 September 1916 and 16 October 1916) as well as a location: Wyoming, Ohio. Both letters were accompanied by their mailing envelopes, revealing a return address of 715 Springfield Pike, Wyoming, OH. In the letters, the writer discussed football, camp, and girls, leading us to think that he was probably a young man around Ernest’s age.































With these clues in hand, I headed to the 1910 United States Federal Census records held by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and digitized by [1] A quick web search revealed that the town of Wyoming is located in Hamilton County, Ohio. After setting those geographic parameters, I started to browse the digitized census pages. Unfortunately, only one page was indexed under Wyoming and it did not contain the correct street address. I did notice that Wyoming was a division of Springfield Township, so I went back and selected the census pages for Springfield, Ohio. Fifteen enumeration districts were listed under Springfield, with the added information that six of them covered “Wyoming village.” I scrolled through the pages for these six Wyoming districts until I found the residents of Springfield Pike, then house number 715. There they were, the Cordes family! So “one gut Cordes” did in fact refer to his surname. The family included a son, William A. Cordes, who was 10 years old in 1910. This meant he was born around 1900, only a year after Ernest – and it makes sense that he signed one letter with the nickname “Bill.” I knew I had found my mystery writer.


4449381_008681910 census record showing the Cordes family of 715 Springfield Pike, Wyoming, Ohio


In retrospect, I could have made some assumptions to get to the information more quickly. Searching the 1910 census for the name William Cordes, born around 1899, living in Wyoming, Hamilton County, Ohio, does in fact lead you to the same person. This may not always work, but employing some educated guesses is always a good tactic to use when searching census records.

[1] Access to Ancestry is free-of-charge and unlimited from any National Archives facility.


Case #2: Charles from the Gripsholm

Ernest received this letter written by someone named Charles on 17 February 1938. Our archives intern, Bonnie McBride, tackled the detective work for this item. She found many clues in the content of the letter itself. Charles wrote:


The weather at Nassau continued to be filthy for four days after you left. Ronnie and I spent most of that time in the Colonial bar. … I ran across Crabbe and Dalhousie at Bradley’s. … I’m well at work again and return to England by the Berengaria on March 2nd. … My warmest greetings to you both. I shall long remember that happy trip on the Gripsholme [sic].”














Bonnie started by going to and finding the category for Immigration and Travel records. After selecting Passenger Lists, she searched for the name Ernest Hemingway, born in 1899, and destined for Nassau, Bahamas. The first result was a page from the UK Outbound Passenger Lists, which documents that Ernest left Southampton, England, on 14 January 1938 aboard the ship Gripsholm, which was bound for Nassau. Bonnie scrolled through the passenger manifest for this voyage, and located two British citizens named Charles: Charles H. Caves, listed as a 54-year-old manservant from Newton Mearns, Scotland, and Charles S. Evans, a 49-year-old executive from London, England. She also found the other men mentioned in Charles’s letter: Archibald Crabbe, Earl John G. Dalhousie, and Ronald Banon (who could be “Ronnie”). Based on this evidence, Bonnie strongly believed that our writer was Charles S. Evans.

 41039_b001518-00311Passenger manifest for the Gripsholm


I decided to try to find a record of Charles returning to England on the Berengaria on 2 March 1938, as he mentioned in the letter. Another search of the ship passenger logs revealed that the Berengaria arrived in New York on that date, but then it disappeared from the records. A quick web search revealed that the Berengaria caught fire in New York harbor on 3 March! The damage was serious enough that the ship was immediately taken out of service; it was scrapped later that year. Thus Charles had just missed the final voyage of the Berengaria and had to find another way home.


32063_219077-00204Passenger manifest for Pan American flight to Miami


I had quite a bit of trouble locating Mr. Evans again. Going on the assumption that he was born around 1888 – to narrow down the many people with the surname Evans – I initially did not have any luck locating him on return voyages to England. Finally I searched all the passenger lists for any Charles S. Evans arriving in 1938, anywhere. This brought up a Charles S. Evans, age 55, who arrived in Miami via airplane on 4 February 1938. This fit with the letter because Charles wrote that he “flew to Miami” after the stay in Nassau. In this record Charles was older and described as a publisher, but he provided the same home address as in the Gripsholm manifest. At this point, I was sure he was the same person.


30807_A001160-00386Passenger manifest for the Queen Mary


Using his new birth year of 1883, I tried searching the passenger lists again. This time I found Charles S. Evans, age 54, who departed New York on the Queen Mary and arrived in Southampton, England, on 14 March 1938. He was listed as a publisher and gave an address of 99 Great Russell St., London WC1. I checked the London city directories and found that West Magazine had offices at that location, so it appeared this was his work address. With this new information in hand, it was easy to imagine why Ernest the writer and Charles the publisher got along so well on their “happy trip” on the Gripsholm.

Moral of the story? If you hit a wall in your research, be sure to try many different combinations of any personal data you have on your subject. Some records can be inaccurate or misleading. We’ll never know if the customs officer made a mistake – or whether Charles lied about his age!


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