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Throwback Thursday — OHA in ’68

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 1968

President: Louis M. Starr, Columbia University
Site of the Annual Colloquium: University of Nebraska
Newsletter: Charles T. Morrissey, Editor; Samuel Hand, Associate Editor
Editorial office located at the Vermont Historical Society in Montpelier, Vermont
Annual individual membership: $7.50


Highlights of the year from the Oral History Newsletter:

  • Continuing to establish itself as an organization, OHA adopts a constitution and bylaws, is granted tax exempt status, and signs up the first life member, professor Raymond F. Wood of the School of Library Service at UCLA (for the bargain price of $150)
  • “Getting It While It’s Hot” — The Columbia oral history research office launched a “crash” interview project when student demonstrations at Columbia “escalated into a crisis that forced a shut-down of the campus for several days and finally exploded in the pre-dawn hours of May 1, when a thousand police stormed five occupied buildings.”
  • Oral History Institute At UCLA Termed A Success – “The UCLA Oral History Program reports that its Institute on Oral History Librarianship, funded by a federal grant under the Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IIB, was held as scheduled on the UCLA campus from July 8 to July 19, 1968. It was attended by twenty participants from fourteen states representing all areas of the country.”
  • William Manchester, author of Death of a President, is the featured speaker at 1968 Oral History Colloquium at University of Nebraska. Manchester wrote an epic account of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and conducted hundreds of oral history interviews during his research.
  • The OHA Newsletter becomes quarterly and offers a new section called Forum–a section reserved for letters to the editors for suggestions, comments, debate and resolution. According to the editors, “We’re looking for trouble. Your trouble. How will it work? We’ll provide the medium. You’ll provide the open discussion. And it will work like a charm.”

Who were we interviewing in 1968?

  • Pennsylvania State University – United Steelworkers of America (USWA)
  • UCLA — people related to the history of the American Motion Picture
  • Wisconsin State University — interviews in St. Croix River Valley, looking at the “lumber industry, medicine, music, the Spanish-American War, local city historians, and the political-educational growth of the region.”
  • The Harry S. Truman Library — 39 oral history interviews to date on Truman’s life
  • The Marine Historical Association at Mystic, Connecticut — people involved with the New England fishing industry

Louis M. Starr, OHA President

Check back next Thursday for highlights of 1969…


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