Oral History Transcripts Online

Sarah McNair Vosmeier, May 2015

The following are just a few oral history collections available online:

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940
This collection includes nearly 3000 documents in the Library of Congress.  According to the collection description, the essays "chronicle vivid life stories of Americans who lived at the turn of the century and include tales of meeting Billy the Kid, surviving the 1871 Chicago fire, pioneer journeys out West, grueling factory work, and the immigrant experience.. . . The documents often describe the informant’s physical appearance, family, education, income, occupation, political views, religion and mores. Pseudonyms are often substituted for individuals and places named in the narrative texts."

Archives of American Art: Oral History Interviews
This collection includes hundreds of interviews with artists, arranged alphabetically by name (with a few words of background on the artists' medium, location, and dates).

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938
This collection includes more than 2000 interviews with elderly African Americans who had lived as slaves before the Civil War.

Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archives: Civil Rights Oral History (University of Southern Mississippi)
This collection includes hundreds of oral histories with civil rights workers active in Mississippi during the 1960s.

Engineering and Technology History Wiki: List of All Oral Histories
This collection includes hundreds of oral histories.  According to the collection description, the collection preserves "personal memories of pioneers in the electrical, electronics, and computer fields, the technologists who transformed the world in the 20th and 21st centuries. We also preserve the personal memories of those who have played major roles in the various engineering associations."

Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World
Fifteen or so interviews on topics related to working in textile mills in the South.

Southern Oral History Program Collection, 1973-2013 (History Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
This collection includes thousands of interviews, organized by topic, state, and interviewee. According to the collection description, interviewers focused on "Southerners who have made significant contributions to various fields of human endeavor. In addition, the Program undertakes special projects with the purpose of rendering historically visible those whose experience is not reflected in traditional written sources."

Kent State Shootings: Oral Histories (Kent State University)
Roughly 200 interviews with eyewitnesses to the May 4, 1970, shootings, organized by subject and interviewees name.

Regional Oral History Office (ROHO), Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley Libraries
A "vast" collection of oral history collections, many focused on California.  Featured topics include California artists and writers, Bay Bridge workers, ice cream factory workers, California chefs and winemakers, the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley, Portuguese Americans, suffragists, and many more.

Rutgers Oral History Archives
This collection includes hundreds of interviews, mostly with Rutgers University and Douglass College alumni.  The collections focus on contributions made to Rutgers and Douglass, as well as military history (especially World War II), New Jersey history, and women's history.

What Did You Do in the War, Grandma? (Brown University)
The 27 interviews in this collection were conducted with Rhode Island women who served in World War II; high school students conducted the interviews in the 1990s.