1961 News Wednesdays: Peace Corps Established

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued an Executive Order establishing the Peace Corps,

To promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.

1961 Peace Corps logo

Kennedy saw the Peace Corps as an antidote to the “Ugly American” stereotype around the world and intended it as a way to ask all Americans to serve their country, each in their own way. Kennedy’s Brother-in-Law, Sergeant Shriver, was appointed to run it. Over 200,000 people have served in the Peace Corps since it began.

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1961 News Wednesdays: IBM Introduces Selectric Typewriter

IBM SELECTRIC TYPEWRITER 1961

The Selectric was quite the innovation in typewriters. Instead of each letter on an individual arm that struck the paper they were all on a ball that pivoted and the ball moved the length of the paper rather than having the paper move from side to side. Also you could change out the ball for different fonts!
As they said on Mad Men when one secretary was showing a new girl The typewriter “Don’t be overwhelmed by all the technology, the men who designed it made it simple enough for a woman”.

1961 News Wednesdays – Cost of Living

In 1961,

The average cost of a new home was $12,500.

The average household income was $5,315.

The average cost of a gallon of gas was $0.27.

The average cost of a dozen eggs was $0.30.

The average cost of a new car was $2,850.

Tract homes, Placentia, 1961, Photo courtesy Orange County Archives

Tract homes, Placentia, 1961, Photo courtesy Orange County Archives

(Info courtesy The People’s History of 1961.)

1961 News Wednesdays – Ray Kroc Buys McDonald’s

In 1961, Ray Kroc realized what a gold mine the McDonald brothers, Mac and Dick, were sitting on in their little fast-food restaurant chain from San Bernardino, CA, and he brought them out for $2.7 Million. Of course, he went on to create his own gold mine out of the business, as we all know, but in 1961, he was probably taking quite a risk.

First McDonalds in San Bernardino, California

First McDonalds in San Bernardino, California

Info & photo courtesy of Wikipedia.