Collecting Oral Histories

Print More

History lives inside us and whether it’s an older neighbor, a friend or
a relative, each has a personal story that gives us insight into a time
and a place in the past. NPR’s popular StoryCorps project inspired many
of us to talk with someone we know and record our conversation to
preserve for the future. The holidays are an ideal time to sit down
with someone and find out about their

history. We’ll talk with
Gregory Sharrow of the Vermont Folklife Center about the art – and the
value – of collecting oral histories – and we’ll hear some examples. (Listen)

Also, Rutland Herald reporter Bruce Edwards tell us about which businesses are seeing more
customers during these hard economic times.

And Chef Jean-Yves Vendeville celebrates the much-maligned fruitcake! (Listen)


Hi Jane,

I really appreciated this topic today.
I too interviewed my dad over Thanksgiving about his experiences growing
up during the Great Depression.
One anecdote that struck me:

My grandfather was a supervisor, overseeing construction of many of the
grand bank buildings, full of marble and brass, built in New York in the
early 20th century. When he lost his job at the onset of
the Depression, he had saved some money and thought that he could get by
for a year without working.  But as the Depression stretched on, their
savings were exhausted and he had to go back to work. He ended up
digging ditches for mosquito abatement as part of a government public
works project.  He was in his 50s at the time, and it truly
was a physical hardship, but it was his only option at the time. 

As I recall, the public works projects at that time included
government funded oral histories. Perhaps now is a good time for the
government again to collect the memories of the Great Depression as we
start into the next Depression.

Comments are closed.