Over the past few months I have become increasingly interested in finding out more about the history of CISV, the fabled first camp in 1951 and how CISV has changed and evolved over the years since then. I guess in a way I have been searching for the essence of CISV, if that is even possible, what it is that makes it special, unique and important. After talking to a number of people and gathering scraps of information along the way my search was aided greatly when I stumbled across a few seemingly plain and uninteresting-looking boxes but which in fact contained a wealth of photographs, documents and artifacts dating from 1951 onward. I had stumbled across the CISV Norge archive!
Now when I say archive I am maybe being a bit generous as it is little more then a few boxes filled mainly with a jumbled assortment of paper and yet when going through it I have come across some quite interesting material. Original texts by Doris Allen outlining her vision for a new international organisation to be called Children's International Summer Villages, black and white photographs from the first camp in Cincinnati, hand-written letters and accounts by delegates from camps ever since, countless newspaper articles highlighting the strange behaviours and activities of CISV camps, as well as a vast number of other items too many to recount here.
After spending some engrossing sessions going through the archive in an attempt to get a grasp on what was in fact here, I realised that this material should really be available to everyone. What I was able to enjoy and learn from the archive should be shared with others, CISVers and non-CISVers alike. And so the seed of the OUR STORY project was planted.
Now I am pleased to open this idea to you all. In the coming weeks I will attempt to make a written catalogue of everything that is contained within the CISV archive which will be available for consultation at the CISV office in Oslo. In addition, I will select particular items and make a visual record of them which will then be displayed online for all to see. Once uploaded, these items will be available to view on the EVS at CISV website.
I hope that the material will be of interest and perhaps of use to you. Feel free to share links to the project as although the material may be currently housed as part of the CISV Norge archive it will no doubt relate to those associated with other CISV National Associations.
I am pleased to announce that several items from the CISV Archive are now available to view online! Please follow the links below or navigate using the drop down menu available when you move your mouse over the 'Personal Projects' heading at the top of this page.
- CISV 1951 Camp T-Shirt: including an audio clip of Stein Schjølberg describing his experiences of going to the first ever CISV camp.
- CISV 1951 Camp Norwegian Delegation: including an audio clip of Stein Schjølberg describing more details of the first CISV camp.
- "Experiment in Internationalism" Article: originally published in PICTURES photojournalism magazine in 1951
- The CISV News January 1961: published on the 10th Anniversary of the founding of CISV
- The Jonsvatnet Express 1971 Camp Magazine: a home made magazine made on a CISV camp in Norway