Blog

Whispering Libraries

“Libraries in Brooklyn are trying to change the cultural landscape in New York City and capture the attention of people passing by in an innovative way. 
The program is called Whispering Libraries.  10 neighborhood library branches have speakers outside their buildings.  Each one programmed to play speeches, oral history, poetry, and music.” Read full story and watch video here.

Students interview community members about COVID

“Zoom, masks, family and politics — these are some of the lasting memories shared by participants in a University of Washington student oral history project. Undergraduate seniors in the Public Health Global Health major at the UW School of Public Health partnered with the Washington State Historical Society to record the experiences of friends, family and associates living through the COVID-19 pandemic.” Read full story with video excerpts here.

COVID-19 Project

“American studies faculty and students are documenting the GW community’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a project to demonstrate how the crisis shaped modern history.

Faculty and students teamed up on the project to record video interviews through Zoom with students, their families, faculty, staff and alumni to illustrate the virus’s social and political impacts on their lives. Researchers said interviews and donated materials, like photographs and drawings from GW community members, will be available on the GW Libraries’ archives for historians and researchers to use to understand life during the pandemic.” Click on “project” above to link to the video interviews. Click here for full story.

Hazel de Berg Award

Nominations and applications for Oral History Australia’s three biennial awards – the Hazel de Berg Award for Excellence in Oral History, the OHA Book Award and the OHA Media Award – are now open. Find out more at: https://oralhistoryaustralia.org.au/2021-awards-now-open/. The closing date is 1 August 2021. Winners will be announced at the 2021 Biennial Conference in Launceston, Tasmania in October.

Greek unemployed youth do oral history

“Istorima is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating an extensive Greek oral history archive by offering temporary jobs to hundreds of young people across Greece. Co-founded by historian and New York University Provost Katherine Fleming and journalist Sofia Papaioannou, Istorima will provide temporary employment and training for more than 1,500 unemployed young people in Greece over five years as they fan out across Greece to collect oral histories in their home locales. Istorima’s team of field reporters will collect histories and stories, old and new, across historical eras and running the gamut of topics. They will encourage their family members, friends, and neighbors to each share their own narratives so that Greece’s stories will be not be lost. Istorima aims to record over 50,000 stories, which will be preserved and catalogued in an archive accessible to researchers and the public.” Read full story here.

Hospice Oral Histories

“Those last few weeks and days of life can be some of the hardest.

Hearts break and words become scarce as lives are imagined with one less beloved soul to fill them.

Before Auburn Crest Hospice patients reach eternal rest, they have the opportunity to leave parting gifts that may soothe woe-wearied family members and provide a sense of closure for all involved.

Those gifts are their stories.

“Sometimes, it’s not medicine that helps people die peacefully,” said Mike Haycraft, Auburn Crest Hospice executive director.

Haycraft and the Auburn Crest team have created a special position to capture those stories, knowing that role would be filled by the perfect person for the job: Public historian Sara Jane Ruggles.

“She really ties everything together with our nursing team and our doctor, along with our social workers. It ties it together for that holistic approach,” Haycraft said, adding that what Ruggles brings to the team aligns with Auburn Crest’s motto of, “Choosing to live every moment.”” This story from Idaho, USA. Read full story here.

Battling the pandemic

“On March 26, 2020 I photographed Margaret, a Philadelphia-area nurse about to treat her first COVID-19 patient. I did this in an effort to create an oral history of the city’s response to the nascent global pandemic. Exactly 365 days later I photographed her again in the same place after she had spent a year watching people die. We are all different after that terrible year, but Margaret and her colleagues have seen and endured daily experiences they will never be able to erase from their memory. I have spent 12 months listening to their stories. ” Read the full story here.

Son interviews Mother about COVID

“COVID-19 has altered our lives in numerous ways: from work to school to staying connected to friends and family. While the country processes a year of loss and uncertainty, many are reflecting on how the pandemic has changed them. For BPR and Foxfire’s COVID oral history project, we hear from Asheville resident Ann Goosmann, interviewed by her son George, a student at UNC-Chapel Hill.” Read full story and listen to the interview here.

Peace Corps

“March 2021 marks the 60th anniversary of the start of the Peace Corps and in this latest edition of WUKY’s award winning history series Saving Stories, Doug Boyd with the Nunn Center for Oral History in the UK Libraries shares audio from a Kentuckian who was one of the program’s earliest participants. Angene Hopkins Wilson and her then fiancee Jack Hopkins got accepted into the program and in 1962 were sent to Liberia.

On March 1, 1961, President Kennedy issued an executive order establishing the Peace Corps as a federal agency within the State Department. By June, 1961 the Peace corps had received about 11,000 completed applications. By September of 1961, Kennedy signed legislation that gave permanence to the Peace Corps.” Read full story with link to oral history audio here.

Grandfather’s WWII Band

“Jason Burt, of Clarksburg, Calif., knew his grandfather played the trumpet in World War II. He had listened to stories about the 746th Far East Air Force Band boosting morale for servicemen on the front lines of the Philippines theater. But, for decades, the family hadn’t seen his grandfather’s vinyl recordings of the ensemble until 2019, when they were clearing out their grandparents’ house. “I knew they were around, and I was kind of hoping they would turn up at some point. And we found them in the attic,” Burt told NPR’s Morning Edition.” Read full story and listen to an excerpt of the music here.