Online Oral History Collections

Online resources or oral history collections. Places to hear and view oral history.

Coney Island Voices: An Oral History Spectacle!

Coney Island Voices. Preserve stories and memories of Coney Island, and training school groups to do it: “Our mission is to record an oral history of the area and to sponsor educational exhibits. Working with schoolgroups in the neighborhood as well as College students, the Coney Island Voices project will teach young people the techniques of oral history, including interviewing, recording, editing and archiving.”

image It’s got a fantastic website. I’m a sucker for old photos of carnival & midway scenes, so I like the images. They’ve done a very nice job with a Flash audio player for the interviews on their website. You can browse by person or by subject. The Flash player for each interview is segmented by topic. So if you browse by topic, you go to an interview—right to the pertinent part. Very nice. The audio quality is a bit iffy, tho. (phone calls, background hums for the Coney Island memory booth).

The first exhibit put on by Coney Island Voices is Hall of Fame. “Inventors, performers, impressarios, and community leaders - these are among the many pioneers and visionaries whose creativity ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on June 28, 2006 in • Online Oral History Collections
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Three Coastal OH projects document life in North Carolina, Florida, California

From the newsbag, comes word of three projects to preserve life and lore of seaside areas in the face of change: North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Seaside, California (near Monterey), and Florida’s Apalachicola Bay

North Carolina’s Ocracoke and Hatteras islands: New stories gathered over 6-year period add to previous oral histories from 1970s. The collection will be sold as a two-CD set; CDs are interactive—select a particular village and go to stories from that place.

A native islander remembers when, before the weather bureau arrived, nobody had ever heard of the word hurricane. “We didn’t know about tornadoes or hurricanes, it was a bad nor’ easter or something like that,” said the islander in the study.

“Many old timers shake their heads at the fuss that is made in modern times with mass evacuations, FEMA teams, visits from helicopters, insurance adjusters and reporters,” claims the ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on June 05, 2006 in • Online Oral History CollectionsOral history in the newsOral History Projects
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Granddad blogging: Oral history project

The Vol Abroad blog posts weekly entries of transcripts from interviewing her Grandpa. Lots from WW2, and Tennessee. I’ve read the first few posts, and Granddad blogging looks to make for one of those great read-it-all-in-one-sitting stops on the web….well, until you catch up to where she is now. New installments every Tuesday.

From Vol Abroad’s introduction to the series:

I have started with the WWII transcripts, because that’s where we started recording, but I will also share other stories, some of which cover aspects of Tennessee history that I have not seen recorded. I had promised my grandfather that I would give the recordings and transcripts to the University of Tennessee, which I haven’t done (yet), but in the meantime, I am publishing them here.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on May 17, 2006 in • AfterwardsOnline Oral History CollectionsTranscription
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Revive, Rebuild, Renew, Record!!

Humid City and New Orleans Oral History Project are two blogs associated with the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank. There’s some audio posted at the latter site—first Mardi Gras, post-Katrina.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on March 27, 2006 in • Online Oral History CollectionsOral History Projects
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Speaking of hurricanes…Hurricane Digital Memory Bank

The Hurricane Digital Memory Bank: Preserving the Stories of Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. Anyone can contribute photos, text, audio, video. It’s not strictly oral history, but can include it. It is a digital repository that anyone can contribute to.

From the about page:

The Hurricane Digital Memory Bank uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the stories and digital record of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media and the University of New Orleans, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History and other partners, organized this project.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on March 11, 2006 in • Online Oral History Collections
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University of Kentucky establishes Oral History Center

The Center is named for Louie B. Nunn, former Kentucky governor; it includes interviews with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and other prominent Kentuckians in state and national public life. The center’s website with list of collections.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on March 09, 2006 in • Online Oral History Collections
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New Orleans jazz : Jelly on a roll

Boxed Set of CDs The Economist reviews the Oral History of Jelly Roll Morton, in 1938 set of interviews by Alan Lomax, and recently released in their entirety in a boxed set of CDs.

IN 1938, a casual encounter in Washington, DC, inspired one of the most remarkable documents in American music and culture. Alan Lomax, the young director of the American Archive of Folk Song at the Library of Congress, heard that Jelly Roll Morton, a legendary pianist-composer from the bygone days of New Orleans jazz, was languishing in a seedy local club.

...Though Lomax actually disliked jazz, considering it a corruption of folk-music purity, he invited Morton to the Library of Congress to record some of his New Orleans memories. The moment the veteran pianist began to talk, play and sing, Lomax realised he had struck gold. That one-off interview stretched into months, ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on January 19, 2006 in • Online Oral History Collections
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Rarities Online

Library Journal: Digitizing special collections and putting them online, a process that marks a golden age for libraries. No longer are collections limited by physical access available only to a few.

Indeed, digitization, high-speed connections, and suites of powerful new tools that allow students and researchers to interact as never before with collections are breaking them free from their climate-controlled exile and putting valuable special collections at the center of exciting new partnerships among librarians, faculty, students, and technicians. It’s still early—but already the results are remarkable.

At Columbia, initiatives like the Columbia University Libraries Digital Program bring together librarians, faculty, and technicians to create cutting-edge digital representations and research tools.

With opportunities and benefits, the challenges remain: acquisition ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on November 01, 2005 in • DigitalityOnline Oral History Collections
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CalTech’s Oral History collection

The L.A. Times profiles the oral history collection at the California Institute of Technology.

Scientists, legends, nobel laureates are part of the oral history collection at the Pasadena, California Institute. Visit the online home for Caltech Archives Oral Histories Online.

Ever heard the story about Albert Einstein and the Long Beach earthquake of 1933?

Einstein, a visiting professor at Caltech at the time, was walking across campus with an earthquake expert, Beno Gutenberg. They even were talking about seismic research. But when the magnitude-6.4 temblor struck, the absent-minded scientists were so engrossed in conversation that neither noticed the shaking.

“There was an earthquake someplace?” Gutenberg, a partner with Charles Richter in developing the Richter scale, ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 21, 2005 in • Online Oral History CollectionsOral history in the newsOral History Projects
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Talking History: Aural history and Oral History

Based at the University of Albany, SUNY. Has a weekly broadcast/internet radio program, Talking History.

Talking History home page. Site has links to shows in Real Media and MP3 formats. (Also, the Talking History page at

Our mission is to provide teachers, students, researchers and the general public with as broad and outstanding a collection of audio documentaries, speeches, debates, oral histories, conference sessions, commentaries, archival audio sources, and other aural history resources as is available anywhere. We hope to expand our understanding of history by exploring the audio dimensions of our past, and we hope to enlarge the tools and venues of historical research and publication by promoting production of radio documentaries and other forms of aural ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 18, 2005 in • AudioOnline Oral History CollectionsOral history in the news
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Historical Voices

Digital Library Site based around audio materials, housed at Michigan State Univeristy. Links online collections, discussions of best practices for digital audio

Historical Voices, part of the Digital Library Initiative (endowed by NSF , NEH), a site with online exhibits and educational materials, centered around audio files.

The site has a set of research papers (white papers) about issues of digitizing text and audio for archivists, libraries and curators.

Some linked collections in the Historical Voices Galleries:
Studs Terkel
Flint (MI) Strike
Earliest Voice Recordings, History and Politics Out Loud
Oyez Project (US Supreme Court)
... and then some.

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on March 24, 2005 in • LinksOnline Oral History Collections
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Internet offers high-tech way to record history

Ventura County Star article points to resources on the internet for recording (and recorded) history.

The article about online resources for recording history, and the boom in historical resources now appearing on the internet. (reg required, but try bugmetnot reg)

Some sites mentioned in the article (all look very interesting)

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on March 21, 2005 in • LinksOnline Oral History Collections
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Survivors of the SHOAH

An online history collection with first-person accounts of Holocaust survivors

Shoah Visutal History Foundation 
This is taken from the FAQ (which is in a pernicious PDF format that does not allow selecting and copying text):

1n 1994, after filming Schindler’s List, Steven Spielberg established Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation as a nonprofit organization to document the experiences of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses, including those who aided, rescued, and liberated the survivors. Beacuse of the advanced age of most of the survivors and other witnesses, the Foundation’s mission was particularly urgent.

In each testimony [the term they use to refer to their oral history interviews] , one survivor or other witness speaks about his or her ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 29, 2004 in • Online Oral History Collections
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