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Throwback to 1986 — 20th annual meeting is held on Queen Mary in Long Beach

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 1986…

President: Samuel B. Hand, University of Vermont
Site of the Annual Meeting: Long Beach, California
Newsletter: Jaclyn Jeffrey, editor; Thomas L. Charlton, Lois Myers, M. Rebecca Sharpless, David Stricklin, associates
Editorial office: Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Annual individual membership: $20


Highlights of the year from the Oral History Association Newsletter

  • Ellis Island experiences are being chronicled in a new oral history project sponsored by the National Park Service and the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. The project consists of interviews with persons who either immigrated through Ellis Island or who worked at the immigration center between 1892 and 1954. Interviewees have ranged from 67 to 102 year of age. During the peak period of immigration from 1900 to 1924, more than 5,000 people a day passed through Ellis Island.
  • West Coast oral historians won a major victory when the California governor signed Assembly Bill 2014 into law creating a state oral history program. With public funding for oral history on the wane during the Jerry Brown gubernatorial era, there was little hope that oral history work focused on the state’s executive branch would be supported. State archivist John F. Burns called the passage “a fairy tale story of a Cinderella bill, a poor waif that lacked every traditional monetary and political inducement to legislators” but passed due to good timing, good luck, and the use of political chits.
  • OHA President Samuel B. Hand editorialized about the passing of the guard for OHA publications in 1986. He thanked outgoing Oral History Review editor Art Hansen, Newsletter editor Tom Charlton, and Pamphlet Series founding editor Joel Gardner for their dedication and skill. OHA welcomed Michael Frisch as the new editor of the Review, Jaclyn Jeffrey as Newsletter editor, and Jessie Embry as editor of the Pamphlet Series.


Who were we interviewing in 1986?

  • Conrad Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant management, University of Houston — individuals with knowledge of the business career of Conrad Hilton and history of the modern hotel industry
  • James Monroe High School, Bronx, New York — more than a dozen JMHS graduates from each of the last six decades, reinforcing ties between current students and alumni and giving students a sense of “what it was like to live and go to school in various decades of the recent past…”
  • Birzeit University, Ramallah — former residents of Arab villages in the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan about folklore, clan relationships and history, economic life, and political and war experiences.

Featured Photo:

The Queen Mary, one of the largest and most luxurious ocean liners in history, embarked on her maiden voyage in 1936. From the favorite mode of travel for the rich and famous to troop transport vessel in WWII, the Queen Mary has a rich history. The Queen Mary is now docked at Long Beach and serves as a hotel and conference center.

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