Best Oral History Books

“Oral history occupies a strange niche in literature. Authors of oral histories are often presenting stories they have collected directly from others, and sometimes don’t include their own voice at all. Many oral historians work to provide a pedestal for voices that wouldn’t otherwise be heard at all. These collections are rarely about the name on the front cover.” Read full story with list of books here.

U.S. House of Representatives Oral History Project

“Learn about the history of the U.S. House of Representatives through the perspectives of those who lived it. The oral history program provides a vivid picture of the inner workings of Congress during some of the most influential times in our country’s modern history. These interviews discuss the people, events, institutions, and objects of the ever-evolving House of Representatives.” See more here.

More than just a podcast

“Podcasts have soared in popularity in recent years, and now University of Texas students are getting into the act. Honors College freshmen have collaborated to create podcasts for Storytelling Across Media, a course taught by Honors College lecturer Amy Hauck.

The mission of the course is to “explore the literary legacy of storytelling as a way to actualize identity, preserve history, provide social testimony, cultivate empathy, encourage social responsibility, and generate knowledge through engaging and sharing narrative.”

The three cohorts that have taken the course have engaged in multifaceted ways to study fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and multimedia. However, the primary emphasis was given to oral history as they explored the power of narrative.” Read more here which includes a link to the resulting podcasts.

Japanese American Redress Program

“This required working with the Japanese American community and essentially rebuilding trust between the community and the very government agencies that betrayed them 40 years earlier. The community-government partnership that prevailed really underpinned the success of the redress program and the spirit of justice held by all of those involved.” Read full story about this project here.

US World War II Veterans Project

“The 2016 graduate of Agoura High School, which is north of Los Angeles, has been on the road since December 2016 interviewing World War II combat veterans across the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. He has done interviews in 46 states, and the only two states he has not visited are Alaska and Arkansas. Rishi Sharma, a first-generation American born to parents who emigrated from India in the 1980s, has interviewed more than 1,100 veterans so far and has no plans to stop. His project, which he calls “Heroes of the Second World War,” actually began in high school.” Read full story here.

Example of COVID Project

Voices of Princeton is a collaborative oral history project between the Princeton Public Library, the Historical Society of Princeton, the Arts Council of Princeton, and the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society. The goal of the project is to collect, share, and archive stories and memories of Princetonians. This project aims to collect stories of Princeton residents in order to capture and preserve a contemporary moment in Princeton’s history and also record residents’ recollections and experiences of previous periods in Princeton’s history.” See the links on left of page to find out more. Then see here for COVID “interview” information.