Oral History Section

The Oral History Section of the Society of American Archivists is composed of members of the Society and others who are interested in or are actively engaged in conducting oral history interviews and/or teach oral history methodology. The Oral History Section provides a forum for news, for discussion of issues and developments, and for establishing and maintaining communication and cooperation with other professional organizations.

Recent News & Announcements

With more than one hundred years’ worth of history to process and preserve, the University Archives (established 2006) at Texas State University has accomplished much in its eleven years of operation. One of the Archives’ most recent projects focuses on digitizing its oral history collections. Consisting of over two hundred interviews that span topics from alumnus President Lyndon B. Johnson to Texans’ roles in the early days of NASA, many of these oral histories had remained untouched since their creation ten, fifteen, and even thirty years ago.
Following the 2016 election, Denver, Colorado has experienced a new wave of grassroots, activist activity. Citizens who had previously not interacted with the state are taking new measures to speak to their local and national governments, often en masse, in marches and rallies with attendance in the hundreds to tens of thousands. Given this new, and likely impermanent trend in Denver and nationwide, the Documenting Denver Activism Archives Project will be undertaking a case study in order to create a new methodology specific to documenting protests as they occur through a new method called ‘guerrilla oral history.’
The American Folklife Center is pleased to announce the online launch of the Occupational Folklife Project (OFP), a major oral history initiative of the American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress documenting the diverse culture of contemporary American workers. The first installment features “Working the Port of Houston,” a collection of over 50 interviews recorded during 2011-2012 by folklorists at the Houston Arts Alliance.
The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) Research Division is comprised of numerous departments, each responsible for unique formats of archival materials. It is the main goal of the Digital Archives Division to identify and prioritize the methodical reformatting of all collections. The largest threats are to audio, film and video, for which we have developed a preservation and access worfklow.
The Oklahoma Native Artist oral history project, a project of the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program (OOHRP) at the Oklahoma State University Library since 2010, independently documents the achievements of Oklahoma Native artists in various media across the state, and tracks the impact of festivals, collectors, gallery owners and art dealers on the state’s Native art scene.
The Sisters of Mercy Archives Team, consisting of archivists from the Mercy Heritage Center, located in Belmont, North Carolina, and community archivists from the Mid-Atlantic Community in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the West-Midwest Community in Omaha, Nebraska, has initiated the 2017 Chapter Oral History Project focused on governance in community life and leadership roles in the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.
This project shows how the stories of the early pioneers in the field of interpreting and interpreter education have influenced a growing profession. The interviews help to capture the origination and continuation of the profession of sign language interpreters and interpreter education.
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