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Throwback Thursday — Looking back at 1967

Follow our weekly series, Throwback Thursday, designed to help celebrate 50 years of OHA. We’ll profile a year in the life of the organization each week with photos, logos, and highlights taken from the Oral History Association Newsletter. We welcome your memories, photos, and comments at


OHA in 1967

Chairman: James V. Mink, UCLA
Site of the Annual Colloquium: Arden House, Harriman, New York
Newsletter editorial office:  Yale University, Forest History Society, Elwood Maunder, Editor
Annual individual membership: $7.50

Highlights of the year (excerpted from the OHA Newsletter, Volume 1, Numbers 1 and 2):

  • The Oral History Association, Inc. has just become legally incorporated in the State of New York. Dr. Louis Starr, director of Columbia University’s Oral Research Office, informs us that he has succeeded in wading through the red tape involved, and the Oral History Association is now registered as a non-profit corporation.
  • Another exciting Oral History Association Colloquium is in the planning stage. The program as planned by Dr. Starr promises to be as provocative as last year’s at Lake Arrowhead. Professor Allan Nevins will be moderating a panel of prominent historians who have used oral history interviews in writing books. Dr. Victor Witten will chair a session on equipment and its capabilities. Philip Crowl and Forrest Pogue will discuss the Dulles and Marshall projects.
  • Jim Mink wrote: I told the members of the Arrowhead Colloquium that I believed one of the most important objectives an oral history association could accomplish was the compilation of a union bibliography of oral history materials. While oral history is young, this is still a reasonable task…Think what a wonderful thing it would be if we now had at our disposal a 50 year accumulation of the National Union Catalog of Manuscripts

From the Newsletter section titled “Oral History Publicity”

  • Orchids for the oral history method from the December 12, 1966 issue of THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR. In his article, “Researchers Mine Oral-History Treasure,” Neal Stanford enthusiastically proclaimed, “Oral history is one of the fastest-growing phenomena in the United States. It ranks with photo copiers, computers, and radio-isotopes as hallmarks of this era…Oral history has added a whole new vehicle for historical investigation. Its possibilities are incalculable.”
  • Oral history made a special appearance in the weekly mag scene in a NEWSWEEK (September 18, 1967) profile of “the dean of all labor mediators,” Cyrus Stuart Ching. Scarcely inactive at 91, he is, among other things, currently engaged in an oral history project for Cornell University. To date, Ching has recorded some 1,800 pages of reminiscences which recall his arrival in Boston from Canada in 1900–and the $31 capital he brought in his pocket.
  • The San Francisco Maritime Museum reports: “We have just completed five miles of tape by Bert Werder, a gentleman in his 80’s who has been coming in every Wednesday to tell us about life in a small town on the shore of San Francisco bay.” If this interview were recorded at 15/16 inches per second, it would probably be the longest oral history memoir in existence.”

Who were we interviewing in 1967?

  • ROHO at Berkeley — oral history projects on fine printing, university housing and athletics, the Russian immigration to California, food and wine technology, and the Mexican Revolution
  • The North Texas State University (Denton) — living ex-Governors of Texas
  • U.S. Marine Corps Oral History Unit —  Marine Corps operations in “Viet Nam, the Lebanon Crisis, the Dominican Republic Intervention, and the Cuban Missile Crisis”
  • Memphis State University — already underway is a “series on the history of Memphis jazz, which includes samples of music and interview with some of the earlier musicians”
  • The Forest History Society at Yale University — leading foresters of the Pacific Northwest
  • Columbia University — recently received a grant from the NEH for a year-long project on the Eisenhower administration

Arden House, Harriman, NY (Photo from Columbia University)
Site of 1967 Annual Colloquium

Check back next Thursday for highlights of 1968…




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