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International Voluntary Services Records, 1952-2010

By Colleen McFarland

Collection Overview

Title: International Voluntary Services Records, 1952-2010

ID: XI/014

Creator: International Voluntary Services

Extent: 33.7 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: By series

Date Acquired: 07/14/1997

Languages: English [eng], French [fre], Spanish;Castilian [spa], Vietnamese [vie]

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection consists of seven series:

Series 1: Executive Committee / Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, 1953-2001 Series 2: Project Files, 1952-2002 Series 3: Executive Director Files, 1953-1997 Series 4: Publications, 1954-2003 Series 5: Alumni Materials, 1963-2000 Series 6: Photographs, 1960-1995 Series 7: Miscellaneous, 1973, undated

Biographical Note

International Voluntary Services (IVS) was founded in 1953 with the support of the U.S. Technical Cooperation Agency, today known as USAID.  The U.S. Technical Cooperation Agency sought to foster the development of private voluntary organizations to supply educated volunteers to work in developing countries.  A committee that included Mennonites and Brethren experienced with overseas relief work conceptulaized the organization that ultimately became IVS.


The first IVS volunteers were stationed in Egypt in 1954.  Within two years, IVS placed volunteers in Iraq, Laos, Jordan, and Vietnam to work with villagers to improve agricultural production, education, and health.


For nearly twenty years, IVS expanded its geographical locations and its projects while remaining dependent upon funding from USAID.  In 1973, IVS was asked to find funding apart from USAID funds.  In spite of its financial problems, the organization continued to grow, beginning programs in Bangladesh, Ecuador, Bolivia, and other countries and expanding its services to include disaster relief.


In the 1980s and 1990s, IVS began consolidating programs and placing volunteers as workers with non-government organizations.  Attempts to restructure the organization financially were unsuccessful, as IVS metamorphosized from a grassroots volunteer organization into an agency that administered sub-grants on behalf of USAID.


In its final years, much IVS work focused on AIDS education and prevention in southeast Asia.  By the late 1990s, however, only three strong programs remained: Ecuador, Bolivia, and Bangaldesh.  Before the dissolution of IVS, these programs were converted into national NGOs.  IVS was dissolved in 2003.

Administrative Information


Acc 2011-30: 25 linear feet, donated by Anne Shirk

Acc 2015-003, Carlie E. Numi, 0.1 linear feet of alumni material (Vietnam slides, 1963-1965)

Alternate Extent Statement: 57 Archives Boxes, 2 Records Cartons, and 2 Oversize Boxes

Access Restrictions: This collection is open to the public.

Use Restrictions: Researchers are responsible for using in accordance with 17 U.S.C. Copyright owned by the Mennonite Church USA Archives.

Acquisition Source: Perry Bush / IVS

Related Materials: The Rauner Special Collections Library at Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH) holds the papers of Don Cohon, who served with IVS in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967. The papers document Cohon's term of service as well as decades of post-IVS work with southeast Asian refugees in the United States. For more information please see https://ead.dartmouth.edu/html/ms1347_fullguide.html.

Preferred Citation: International Voluntary Services Records, 1952-2010.  XI-014.  Mennonite Church USA Archives. Elkhart, Indiana.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Executive Committee / Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, 1953-2001Add to your cart.
This series comprises the records of IVS's governing bodies.  The series is largely arranged chronologically, although the merging of two separate files of meeting mintues resulted in some deviation from a strict chronological order.  The minutes include staff reports, budget information, policy discussions, and other documents generated in governing IVS.
Box 1: Minutes, 1953-1964Add to your cart.
Box 2: Minutes, 1953-1970Add to your cart.
Box 3: Minutes, 1970-1981Add to your cart.
This box includes the minutes to the "Harpers Ferry" meeting.
Box 4: Minutes, 1982-1992Add to your cart.
Box 5: Minutes, 1993-1997Add to your cart.
Box 6: Minutes, 1998-2001Add to your cart.
Series 2: Project Files, 1952-2002Add to your cart.
This series documents the work IVS oversaw in developing countries around the world.  Most of this series consists of reports written by volunteers, field directors, regional directors, and other IVS personnel.  The project files were pieced together from a number of different types of files -- alumni files, report files, field director files, etc. -- and therefore are not consistently arranged or described.  The earliest reports are filed chronologically.  Later materials are organized alphabetically by name of country or region.  Under each country or region name, researchers will find materials ordered roughly by date, project name / region, or volunteer last name.
Box 7: Reports, 1952-1961Add to your cart.
Box 8: Reports, 1952-1967Add to your cart.
Box 9: Reports, Africa, 1957-1968, 1989-1990Add to your cart.
Box 10: Algeria, Bangladesh, 1966-2002Add to your cart.
Box 11: Bangladesh, 1972-2000Add to your cart.
Box 12: Bangladesh, 1973-1995Add to your cart.
Box 13: Bangladesh, 1989-1995Add to your cart.
Box 14: Bolivia, 1978-1994Add to your cart.
Box 15: Bolivia, Botswana, 1975-1993Add to your cart.
Box 16: Botwsana, 1976-1987Add to your cart.
Box 17: Botswana, 1979-1985Add to your cart.
Box 18: Botwsana, 1977-1986Add to your cart.
Box 19: Botswana, 1973-1985Add to your cart.
Box 20: Botswana, Cambodia, 1960-2000Add to your cart.
Box 21: Colombia, Ecuador, 1973-1996Add to your cart.
Box 22: Ecuador, 1996-2002Add to your cart.
Box 23: Ecuador, 1974-1993Add to your cart.
Box 24: Bolivia, Ecuador, 1975-1996Add to your cart.
Box 25: Ecuador, Egypt, Gaza, Ghana, Guatamala, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, 1952-2003Add to your cart.
Box 26: Laos, 1961-1975Add to your cart.
Box 27: Laos, 1961-1975Add to your cart.
Box 28: Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, 1956-1990Add to your cart.
Box 29: Papua New Guinea, 1965-1990Add to your cart.
Box 30: Sudan, Syria, 1973-1986Add to your cart.
Box 31: Vietnam, 1958-1973Add to your cart.
Box 32: Vietnam, 1959-1973Add to your cart.
Box 33: Vietnam, 1957-1980Add to your cart.
Box 34: Vietnam, 1958-1970Add to your cart.
Box 35: Vietnam, 1959-1974Add to your cart.
Box 36: Vietnam, Yemen, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe, 1962-1989Add to your cart.
Box 37: Zimbabwe, 1984-1992Add to your cart.
Box 38: Zimbabwe, 1984-1989Add to your cart.
Box 39: Zimbabwe, 1976-1991Add to your cart.
Box 40: Zimbabwe, 1983-1989Add to your cart.
Box 41: Zimbabwe, 1983-1987Add to your cart.
Series 3: Executive Director Files, 1953-1997Add to your cart.
These files document the adminsitration of IVS, particularly its efforts to grapple with funding and organizational difficulties in the 1980s and 1990s.  Contents include articles of incorporation and by-laws, communications from IVS executive directors to field directors, reports evaluating IVS as an organization, workplace, and private volunteer organization, and policy and procedure documents.  Researchers will also find speculations on the future or IVS during uncertain economic times for the organization.
Box 42: Executive Director Files, 1979-1992Add to your cart.
Box 43: Executive Director Files, 1953-1997Add to your cart.
Box 44: Executive Director Files, 1973-1993Add to your cart.
Box 45: Executive Director Files, 1971-1992Add to your cart.
Box 46: Executive Director Files, 1977-2002Add to your cart.
Series 4: Publications, 1954-2003Add to your cart.
Formal publications issued by IVS, including newsletters, annual reports, books, brochures, and magazines.
Box 47: Developments, IVS Newsletter, IVS Reporter, IVS Inc. in Europe, IVS 35th Anniversary, 1955-1995Add to your cart.
Box 48: Annual Reports, 1954-1972Add to your cart.
Box 49: Annual Reports, IVS News, Press Releases, 1971-1997Add to your cart.
Box 50: Memoranda to the Field, 1975-1982Add to your cart.
Box 51: IVS Laos Newsletters, IVS Vietnam Newsletters, Dialogue, 1963-1981Add to your cart.
Box 52: Miscellaneous Brochures, Booklets, and Books, 1953-2003Add to your cart.
Book titles include:  The Legacy of Colonialism: Health Care in Southeast Asia (1990); Senseless Casualties: The AIDS Crisis in Asia (1992); The IVS Experience: From Algeria to VietNam (1992); Sharing the Challenge: HIV and AIDS Counseling (1994); Families and Cyclones: Educational Material... (1995); AIDS Caregiving: An Integrated Approach (1996)
Series 5: Alumni Materials, 1963-2000Add to your cart.
This series contains alumni directories, material related to alumni reunions, and material donated by Roderick McCrae documenting his volunteer service in Laos and his work for IVS Washington in the 1960s.
Box 53: Alumni Materials, 1963-2010Add to your cart.
Box 54: Alumni Materials, 1963-1969Add to your cart.
Series 6: Photographs, 1960-1995Add to your cart.
Divided into three subseries:  negatives, slides, and prints.  Negatives and slides are poorly labeled, often only identified by country or region.  Prints are somewhat better identified.  The series also includes several pictorial reports and scrapbooks.
Box 55: Negatives and Slides, 1961-1990Add to your cart.
Box 56: Prints:  Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cambodia, Ecuador, 1982-1995, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 57: Prints:  IVS Alumni, Kenya, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, 1960-1985, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 58: Prints: Sudan, Thailand, Vietnam, Vietnam / Laos, 1959-1995Add to your cart.
Box 59: Prints: Vietnam / Laos, Yemen, Zaire, Zimbabwe, and Miscellaneous, 1962-1990, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 60: Pictorial Reports: Algeria, Bolivia, Laos, 1965-1967, 1974, 1988Add to your cart.
OV Box
Box 61: Scrapbooks: Algeria, Sudan / Yemen; Misc. Oversize Photo Prints, 1971-circa 1990Add to your cart.
OV Box
Series 7: Miscellaneous, 1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Audiovideo presentations on the Village Volunteer Program and Small Entrepreneurship in Bangladesh, undated; Interview (in French) with IVS volunteer and prisoner of war, Marc Cayer, 1973; Reel to reel recordings (also transferred to CD) of Laotian folk music collected by IVS volunteer Henry Holmes, 1962-1964
Box 54: Miscellaneous, 1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Box 62: Laotian Folk Music Recordings, 1962-1964Add to your cart.