Council Exemplary Service Award: SAA Oral History Section

The SAA Oral History Section is a 2016 recipient of the Society of American Archivists' Council Exemplary Service Award. The award recognizes a special contribution to the archives profession—and especially to SAA—and is given at the discretion of the SAA Council.

The Oral History Section is being honored for actively engaging its members in a rich variety of activities related to oral history interviews and methodology. For nearly a half-century, the Oral History Section has provided fertile ground for discourse and development in the archival profession and contributed to the intellectual life of SAA.

In 2010, the Oral History Section began an all-encompassing project conducting oral histories of SAA leaders to mark SAA’s 75th Anniversary. During a three-year period, members of the Oral History Section conducted twenty interviews with SAA leaders who were nominated by component groups and individual members, and whose early interests and achievements in the archives field, historical moments in SAA, and thoughts about future directions of the profession are now successfully documented in “This Archival Life: Celebrating 75 Years of SAA Stories.” Thirty-seven volunteers donated their time and expertise to the project, creating and reviewing transcripts and doing post-processing wrap-up so that the interviews can be integrated in the SAA Archives.

The Council noted that “these enthusiastic members and leaders of the Oral History Section have made an astounding contribution to the history of this association.”