StoryCorps for scientists

The PEW Scholars oral history program: “A rich history in the scientific process,” is run by the Chemical Heritage Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts. The Scientist article (free site membership required to view entire article, fooey.) describes the project’s background – originally run by UCLA – and its current state (digitization, full speed ahead!). Oral history captures essential information about what it takes to make and be a scientist– the stuff and ephemera and process that does not get recorded in scientific journal articles.

David Caruso, the project’s director, has an office filled with cassette tapes.

[A] cassette player cabled to a digital recorder that runs almost continuously. [David] Caruso, who now runs the joint Pew-CHF oral history project, is digitizing the interviews sent from UCLA, but the recorder only works in real-time and each interview lasts from four to twelve hours. It is a monumental task, but Caruso believes it’s worthwhile. “Science is not just produced in papers,” he says. “There’s a rich history to the scientific process,” including the beliefs, personal experiences, and even misconceptions of the scientists, he notes. Oral histories let us capture those otherwise lost aspects, ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on July 23, 2008 in • Oral history in the newsOral History Projects
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Jeannette Rankin, first woman congressperson

Transcript of an oral history interview with Rankin. I just read two letters written by my Great Grandma Fannie in 1917 that refer to Jeanette Rankin (she was elected in 1916, began her term in Congress in April, 1917… This was when the state of Montana granted women the right to vote, but before the right to vote was won nationwide.). Rankin wrote my great-grandmother to ask her advice on matters of “Indian Affairs.” Fannie taught school on the Crow reservation.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on in • MemorabiliaOral History ProjectsPersonal History
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No Jamboree this year (as if you couldn’t tell)

I didn’t make it to the Jamboree this year. Wanted to go to hang with the bloggers. But the weekend of June 28th and 29th was so oversubscribed, it wasn’t funny. I did go to a blogger meetup, tho. But it was local area bloggers. It met in my town. I had to leave early to scan some photos. Which you’ve probably seen.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on July 02, 2008 in • Housekeeping
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She Went West and Climbed Mt. Rainier

image In 1924, the 23-year-old woman climbed Mt. Rainier in Washington State. Edith kept a photo album, and wrote captions in white ink. She called herself Edy. I previously blogged about her mother, Jenny, whose childhood was marked by over-protection: Jenny’s parents hovered over her, and protected her so much that she felt stifled. That’s what parents do to the remaining child when the elder son leaves to seek his fortune and is never heard from again. Jenny wouldn’t let her daughter’s dreams be stifled the way she herself was stifled. So when Edy announced she wanted to go west, Mom told her daughter, “Go, go.” And Go she did. Including climbing to the top of a volcano.

The album is a record of Edy’s western sojourn. She worked at a Veterans Hospital. There’s a photo of Edy in uniform standing behind a man in a wheelchair. Lots of pictures of friends, of cars, picnics. Photos of a horse (“Chief”)  When I first paged through this album, though, I was amazed at these 8 pages of photos of her trek to climb Mt. Rainier. It takes a lot of pluck and stamina to make a climb like that.

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The Mt. Rainier National Park web site describes the climb:

Mount Rainier, the most heavily glaciated peak in the contiguous United States, offers an exciting challenge to the mountaineer. Each year thousands of people successfully climb this 14,410 foot active ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on July 01, 2008 in • Personal HistoryPhotographs
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