2021 Election Candidates

It is that time of the year again, SAA election season! Thank you to all of our excellent candidates for standing in the 2021 Oral History Section election. Please take some time to review their candidate statements and get to know them so you can make an informed choice.

You will be voting for:

  • One Vice Chair/Chair-Elect; for a three year term
  • Two Steering Committee members; for two year terms

Ballots will be managed by SAA staff; keep an eye on your inbox for when the ballot opens! 

Vice Chair/Chair-Elect Candidates

The following candidate is running for the Oral History Section Vice Chair/Chair-Elect position:

John Davis

Interim Curator, Special Collections in Performing Arts, University of Maryland, College Park

John Davis is the Interim Curator of Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA) at the University of Maryland's Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library (MSPAL) and he is interested in joining the SAA Oral History Section Steering Committee. He is a certified archivist and holds a Master's in Library and Information Science from the Catholic University of America. He has curated and co-curated exhibits at MSPAL and at Lost Origins Gallery in Washington, DC. 

His articles appear in Notes (the journal for the Music Library Association), The Washington Post, NPR and Punk & Post-Punk. He has a chapter appearing in Trans Global Punk Scenes: The Punk Reader, Volume 2, due in April 2021 and he is currently writing a monograph on the history of DC punk fanzines for Georgetown University Press, due in 2022.

“Oral histories are an important part of our work at SCPA. Several of our collections have an oral history series (the American Bandmasters Association records, the International Tuba Euphonium Association records, etc.) and, in recent years, I have conducted more than thirty oral history interviews and created several additional oral history series in our collections. I would love to be a part of the SAA Oral History Section Steering Committee to learn more and to contribute what I can to the SAA and to the oral history community.”

Steering Committee Member Candidates

The following candidates are running for the Oral History Section Steering Committee:

Anne Marie Hamilton-Brehm

Associate Dean of Library Affairs, SCRC, Southern Illinois University

In the decade prior to becoming Associate Dean in charge of the Special Collections Research Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Anne Marie worked for and collaborated with a number of institutions developing oral history collections and programs, including the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee (home of the Manhattan Project), University of Nevada, Las Vegas (African American Experience in Las Vegas), Henderson District Public Libraries and the Henderson Historical Society (Oral History Consortium of Southern Nevada), and SIUC (interviews conducted with Marianne and Blouke Carus, who started Cricket Magazine, and others). She began conducting oral history interviews during the 1990s for her dissertation research on language variation in El Paso, Texas, and over the years has conducted interviews with audio and video equipment, via Zoom, and even using a conference phone. In addition to conducting and developing collections of interviews, she has collaborated with and assisted with evaluating contractors and vendors.


Although the pandemic has hindered in-person interviews, it is interesting that growing familiarity with remote video applications may reduce challenges for some posed by distance. The digital divide, however, is a growing barrier that we must remediate to preserve the legacy of the underprivileged. While many institutions collect oral histories, it is vital for archivists to identify groups that have been systemically silenced and proactively encourage grassroots efforts to capture community histories. Anne Marie is working to identify underprivileged groups in Southern Illinois that might benefit from oral history collection and is planning to provide oral history workshops locally. “If selected to serve, I would look forward to meeting future challenges with fellow members and learning from their experience.”

Angela Rabin

Doctoral Candidate, Departments of English and History, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Angela Rabin is a doctoral candidate in nineteenth-century English and History at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Her dissertation is a transatlantic comparative study of the impact of industrialization on three gendered forms of consumption—foodways, print culture, and gift-giving—during the Christmas holiday, between the years 1840 and 1861. In addition to the dissertation, she is adapting part of her research to an oral history project that focuses on African-American women who own restaurants in the South, beginning in Mississippi, that highlights their contribution to culinary history, and celebrates their evolution from enslaved cook to restaurateur. More than that, how the women use their restaurant space for purposes other than serving food to the public is a story worth telling that will resonate with as well as educate viewers.


Fully understanding the role of the enslaved in African culinary history, she began thinking about the prospects of a documentary about enslaved women who cooked meals for the residents of the “Big House.” With that in mind, she interviewed a few restaurant owners, and a story arc emerged that identified two objectives for this in-progress oral history: 1) to celebrate the triumph of civil rights by highlighting the transition of African-American women from nineteenth-century enslaved cooks to modern-day business owners; and 2) to show how these women use their restaurants as venues for grassroots advocacy to promote unity and at the same time resist our current climate of social and cultural divisiveness. Like oral history, women’s history is her passion and will be her life’s work. She is eager to connect with fellow oral historians, engage in networking opportunities, help colleagues with their own projects, and contribute to the growth of the SAA oral history section.

 Elissa Stroman

Unit Manager in the Audio Visual Department, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University

Since 2010, Elissa Stroman has overseen the audio/visual holdings—and more specifically over 13,000 oral history recordings—of the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library at Texas Tech University. During her tenure, the department has undertaken a complete overhaul of metadata standards, inventorying processes, digitization assessment methodologies, transcription workflows, and the online presentation of holdings. Elissa stumbled into the archival profession while in graduate school studying musicology. Consequently, when she first began working as a student in the Southwest Collection, she was self-trained, seeking out archival publications from the SAA and OHA in hopes of learning best practices and standards. In almost fifteen years, she has been able to take part in every part of an oral history’s life cycle, from conducting over forty interviews personally, to digitizing analog recordings, transcribing interviews, arranging and describing large donated interview projects, designing a website interface to display legacy abstract metadata, training student interviewers, and providing reference services. As her institution wraps up initial reassessments and moves into the next stage of developing its oral history collections, Elissa would welcome a chance to work with passionate archivists, in hopes of sharing lessons learned and expanding her knowledge further.

Francena Turner

Fellow and Postdoctoral Associate for Data Curation in African American History and Culture, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, University of Maryland, College Park

Francena Turner is currently a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Fellow and postdoctoral associate for data curation in African American history and culture at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities housed at the University of Maryland, College Park. In this capacity, she is the project manager responsible for developing and implementing an oral history project—in collaboration with the university’s archives—that seeks to collect and share the undocumented and underdocumented experiences of Black students, faculty, staff, and community members. She is also an adjunct lecturer at Fayetteville State University where she teaches African American History. Francena came to this work due to her prior experience with conducting oral history projects. She conducted and used oral history interviews in her dissertation project which explored the experiences of Black women who attended a small southeastern HBCU during the Civil Rights/Black Power Movement(s). She is also working with a community non-profit to better preserve interviews from their oral history project and make them available digitally. Francena earned a B.A. in History at Fayetteville State University and both an Ed.M. in Education Policy Studies and a PhD in History of Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Francena welcomes the opportunity to work with colleagues across her research interests and professional organization memberships. She is particularly interested in traditional and digital archives and oral history collection and preservation, and is interested in being of service to the field while being an active participant in discussions and work that affects field standards and policies—as both a creator and end user.

For more information about our election or with any questions, please contact The OHS section chair, Lindsay Hiltunen at lehalkol@mtu.edu