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OHA in ’74…Throwback Thursday

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@gsu.edu.

OHA in 1974…

Attendees at the 1974 Colloquium were stranded when the bus to the airport broke down.

President: Charles Crawford, Memphis State University
Site of the Annual Colloquium: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Newsletter: Bernard Galm, Editor; Joel Gardner, Associate Editor
Editorial office located at University of California, Los Angeles
Annual individual membership: $7.50

Highlights of the year from the OHA newsletter…

  • Several key institutions in the oral history world were formally established in 1974–Britain’s Oral History Society, the Canadian Aural/Oral History Association, and the Southern Oral History Program at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
  • Sovietologists from Europe and America, the news media, and scholars gathered at Columbia University in April to hear excerpts from 180 hours of tapes of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev given to the Columbia Oral History Collection by Time, Inc. The meeting room at Columbia contained “As much Sovietology as is likely to get crammed into a seminar room” according to host Louis Starr.
  • The Appalachian Oral History Project entered its fourth year of interviewing people on life in southern Appalachia from schoolteachers and miners to grocers and politicians. The project, supported by four local colleges, had received over $90,000 of grant funding to date and added a photographer and journalist to the staff.
  • Oral historians who attended the ninth annual OHA Colloquium at Grant Teton National Park had to be an intrepid bunch. According to the newsletter, there was a problem with Frontier airlines, the Friday and Saturday keynote speakers cancelled, and the bus back to the airport from the national park broke down with about 50 attendees on board.  “There’s really no other way to put it: even the driver deserted it after a feeble attempt to motivate its sputtering engine. The good fellowship and unselfishness of some passing drivers salvaged a potentially unwieldy situation and turned it into just another anecdote for OHA annals.”
  • The “fiercest debate of the colloquium” according to OHA Newsletter editor came during the discussion of a resolution on the future of the Nixon tapes and transcripts which was summarized in the newsletter by OHA Secretary Ron Marcello. Several resolutions were brought up for a vote but did not pass. The discussion was broadened to include recommendations that would apply to all presidential papers. At the end of the discussion, members voted to print the various resolutions in the newsletter so that all members could study and consider the issue in the future.

Who we were interviewing…

  • Oral History Project of Rhode Island — textile industry workers
  • Sierra Club — past Presidents and a companion who hiked with John Muir
  • Chinatown Oral History Project of New York — elderly immigrants who were deeply involved with evolution of Chinatown
  • Utah Historical Society — labor, rural life, and the Pony Express

Check back next week for highlights of 1975…

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