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Throwback Thursday highlights 1972…

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 1972…

President: Charles Morrisey
Site of the Annual Colloquium: Austin, Texas
Newsletter: James Mink Editor; Bernard Galm, Associate Editor
Editorial office located at University of California, Los Angeles
Annual individual membership: $7.50

Highlights of the year from OHA Newsletters

  • Officers reflected on five years of official existence of the OHA–membership has increased more than sixfold, and the Oral History Association newsletter has contributed significantly to a “better understanding of oral history in the academic community and among the public in general.” The newsletter editor goes on to remark on the “relaxed atmosphere, informality, and good fellowship” found at the annual colloquiums. OHA has created a forum “where without trepidation the most inexperienced neophyte can freely discuss problems with the most distinguished scholar.” This is the “difference between OHA and most scholarly organizations most noted by our newcomers, and ‘viva la difference!'”
  • The Forest History Society marked their 25th anniversary which a special issue of their quarterly journal devoted to oral history. In an article that described their 25th anniversary, they said “No significant theory should be based on a single piece of evidence regardless of its character, but oral history revelations of previously unknown information often stimulate further research.”
  • Fisk University received a $86,000 grant from the NEH to strengthen and support its Black Oral History Program. Fisk was “the first major black university to mount a full-scale oral history effort to supplement existing primary and secondary sources…and its experience should serve as a model for future black oral history projects.”
  • The Kennedy Library began adding interviews on the career of Robert Kennedy to their collection, building on the experience of and lessons learned from the JFK project.
  • The University of Kentucky received a $20,000 grant to start a pilot project in oral history connected with manuscript collections in the University Library.

Who were we interviewing in 1972?

  • Baylor University — religion and cultures that impacted Texas, beginning with a focus on Baptists.
  • The Imperial War Museum in London — former members of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Service discussing early military aviation.
  • Regional Oral History Office at Berkeley — conservationist Newton Bishop Drury, former director of the National Park Service and head of the Save-the-Redwoods League
  • Yale School of Music — composers and others important in twentieth-century American music

The LBJ Library, opened in 1971 in Austin, Texas. Attendees of the 1972 Colloquium visited the library as part of meeting activities.

Check back next week for news of 1973…

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Throwback Thursday visits 1971…

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 1971…another logo!

President: Forrest Pogue, George C. Marshall Research Foundation
Site of the Annual Colloquium: Indiana University, Bloomington
Newsletter: James Mink Editor; Bernard Galm, Associate Editor
Editorial office located at University of California, Los Angeles
Annual individual membership: $7.50

  • Dr. Louis Starr, Director of Columbia’s Oral History Research Office, announced that the New York Times had agreed “to reproduce and distribute Columbia’s open oral history transcripts on both microfilm and microfiche.” Starr called the 10-year agreement “a landmark for oral history everywhere.” The agreement came after lengthy discussions over legal and confidentiality issues. Starr saw this as a way to benefit scholars and libraries who would soon have access to research material.
  • Historian Allan Nevins, Honorary Chairman of the OHA, died on March 5, 1971. Nevins, twice the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and one of America’s most prolific biographers, will be remembered as the “father” of modern oral history.
  • OHA announces the publication of Oral History in the United States: A Directory. The 120-page volume describes more than 230 projects at universities, historical societies, and research libraries acorss the country. Nearly half of the collections were begun within the last three years.
  • Paige Mulhollan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Kansas State and an interviewer for the Lyndon B. Johnson Oral History Program, presented a paper on oral history at the 75th annual meeting of the Texas State Historical Association. The OHA Newsletter published his paper describing what had been learned during the interview process. He states, “These large national oral history collections will give historians a perspective on second-level bureaucrats and private citizens whose views and contributions historians have necessarily ignored before the rise of oral history. Oral history projects will also make available anecdotal depth not in the documentation…historians in the 1990’s who write about the Johnson years in Texas, if they possess any literary merit, will be able to write more entertaining history than those who preceded them. And that will make it better history as well.  Oral history also emphasizes topics rarely emphasized. There will be a wealth of material not usually in the documents…”

Who were we interviewing in 1971?

  • Center for Advanced Film Studies, Beverly Hills–first-hand accounts of individuals who played significant roles in the history of motion pictures
  • Calfornia State University Fullerton and University of Utah–prospectors and others involving in mining for uranium
  • National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution–persons who have contributed to aeronautics and space flight development
  • State University of New York at Binghamton and Hamilton College–Northern New York logging communities
  • U.S. Naval Institute oral history program director John T. Mason reports that Russian military visiting Annapolis said they have been interviewing military figures “with special attention to Soviet marshals and men of historical significance.”

Indiana University Memorial Union, site of 1971 Colloquium

Check back next week for news of 1972…

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Education Committee Blog

OHA Education Committee member Katie Kuszmar is passionate about oral history, using it as a tool to foster community and “support collaboration for [environmental] sustainability.” You can read more about her work at http://www.narrability.com.

Following the publication of her article “From Boat to Throat: How Oral Histories Immerse Students in Ecoliteracy and Community Building” in the Oral History Review, Oxford University Press highlighted Kuszmar in their January 2015 blog post, “Building community and ecoliteracy through oral history,” by Andrew Shaffer. Through a series of question and answer exchanges, Kuszmar explains how she utilizes oral history with her students to engage them in making history while also enabling them to learn about local sustainable fishing practices and consumption. Learn more about the project at http://blog.oup.com/2015/01/katie-kuszmar-oral-history-interview/.

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Throwback Thursday — On to the ’70s!

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 1970…

 

President: Oscar Winther, Indiana University
Site of the Annual Colloquium: Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, California
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 from the Oral History Association Newsletter

  • How Long Will Tape Last? Representatives of the 3M company who attended the Annual Colloquium in October fielded many questions about the life and proper care of magnetic tape which led to an article in the OHA Newsletter on this topic. Clyde Donaldson from 3M reported that engineers at the 3M company “have ‘torture tested’ Scotch sound tapes on special equipment equal to 100 years of use–and with no appreciable change in the tape or the sound reproduction.”
  • Society of American Archivists Creates an Oral History Committee— “A principal effort of this committee will be to work with the Oral History Association to emphasize to oral historians the importance of certain phases of their work that become of critical importance when the products of oral history pass into archival hands for preservation and use.”
  • Who Should be Interviewed? Jon Fackler of the University of Vermont Department of History wrote an essay on an important problem that had not yet received much exposure. According to Fackler, “it occurs prior to most other problems in this particular research process: deciding who should be interviewed.” Fackler states that there is some professional tension over this question. “This is so because the problem of deciding who to interview is part of a larger question of elite vs. non-elite (or of chief vs. ‘just plain Indian’) orientation in historical study. Fackler outlined statistic sampling techniques that could be used as a tool for oral historians.

Who were we interviewing in 1970?

  • Memphis State University Oral History Research Office — retired employees of the Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Essex University — 500 persons over the age of 64 to answer the question “what was everyday life like in turn-of-the-century England?”
  • Director of the McCarthy project — more than 600 interviews recorded on Eugene McCarthy’s 1968 Presidential campaign
  • Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in New Delhi — 250 interviews on the Indian nationalist movement
  • Boston Public Library — urban history, government employees, and the Boston tradition in the field of sports
  • Oral History Project at the University of Connecticut — business history, including the Collins Company, a “Connecticut manufacturer of machetes and other blade tools…which made such a tremendous impact on man’s survival in the tropics…”

Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, California…1970 Annual Colloquium attendees were encouraged to pack “country clothes” to enjoy the dunes and beach.

Check back next week for news of 1971…

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Throwback Thursday — A Look at 1969

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 1969 — a new logo debuts!

President: Gould Colman, Cornell University
Site of the Annual Colloquium: Airlie House in Warrenton, Virginia
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:

  • OHA adopts a statement on goals and guidelines for oral history interviewing. “Because the scholarly community is involved in both the production and use of oral history, the Association recognizes an opportunity and an obligation on the part of all concerned to make this type of historical source as authentic and useful as possible.” (Vol III, No. 1)
  • Secondary School Oral History Committee pursues idea of recording interviews as a teaching tool. Members of this committee invite suggestions about student-recorded oral history interviews and interviews for classroom use that would assist students in understanding how historical information is obtained.
  • Nuala McGann Drescher, Associate Professor at the State University College at Buffalo, presented a paper at the first annual Pacific Labor History conference. She said she is “absolutely hooked” on oral history as a source method for the labor historian. She explains that “aspects that do not come out under the ‘great man’ approach are the rank-and file attitudes, the reactions of the ordinary man to these key decisions… Only the interview technique used “with the unpolished, inarticulate, sometimes illiterate, now aging member of the local” will illicit the intangible information that is so valuable. (Vol. III, No. 2)
  • The Regional Oral History Office at University of California, Berkeley, begins a new oral history project entitled “The Earl Warren Era in California,” a five-year project focusing on important political and judicial events in California between 1925 and 1953, emphasizing the “Earl Warren era,” when the attitudes and philosophy of one of California’s most famous citizens were being formed.
  • Louis Starr of Columbia’s Oral History Research Office and first OHA President produced these facts and figures about Oral History Colloquia, 1966-1968: To date, a total of 289 persons (repeaters included) have registered for the three Oral History Colloquia held since 1966. 41 of the 50 states have been represented. California was far in the lead with 63 registrants, followed by New York (38); the District of Columbia (18); and Massachusetts (10).

Who where we interviewing in 1969?

  • The U.S. Army Military History Research Collection at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania — oral history interviews with the 8,000 remaining veterans of the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, and the Boxer Rebellion.
  • Alaska Division of State Libraries — an oral history project for recording Tlingit Indian stories in the native language, with translations, in the village of Kake in Alaska.
  • The Department of Anthropology at the University of Arizona — the personal histories of thousands of Indians with the support of a grant of $109,000 from the Doris Duke Foundation. These tape-recorded interviews preserve the memories of the oldest members of several tribes—Apache, Papago, Rio Grande Pueblo, Acoma, Tavapai, Walapai, Lower Pima, Chontal (Mexico), Navajo, and Yaqui.
  • International Business Machines, Inc. (IBM) – an oral history project interviewing more than 100 persons involved in the development of computer technology.
  • Professor Vincent Harding of the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta, Georgia — an oral history project that will begin with members of Dr. King’s family and then branch out to include leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the civil rights movement general.
  • West Virginia University Library, “Oral History in West Virginia: Coal Miners Have Put Their Memories on Tape” — interviews with 73 retired coal miners in West Virginia. The interviews were primarily recorded because company executives, railroad officials, and others involved in West Virginia mining were reluctant to allow historians to conduct their records, thus prohibiting scholars from studying the industry from its basic source materials. Moreover, the interviewers discovered that “the memory of the coal miner itself yields a storehouse of information and impressions that cannot be obtained elsewhere.”

Willa Baum (seated), director of the Regional Oral History Office at Berkeley, and Gaby Morris worked on the Earl Warren Era project.

Check back next Thursday for highlights of 1970…

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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@gsu.edu.

 

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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