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Oral History Collections

Page history last edited by Collier 7 years, 12 months ago

 Oral History Collections/Projects



This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of oral history collections, but is a way for people to see examples of what other people have done.



It is very important that we gather word of mouth histories of what went on in Houston. Students of Rice University's "Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies" class have already made a small beginning. See the Outsmart article from June 2007 



American Century Project



Center for Digital Storytelling 




"More than 500 hours of interviews, visual histories of Japanese Americans and others affected by the World War II incarceration." This project started out digital and is a good example to look at.



Houston Metropolitan Research Center

Part of the Central Library of Houston Public Library. Some of the oral histories they have are going to be a part of the City of Houston's new oral history project, to be put onto the internet.




The Herstory Project has become a major project for the national organization O.L.O.C. (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change), a political, anti-oppression organization. The priority is to collect the herstories of lesbians 70 years and older before their stories are lost forever. The contact person is Houstonian Arden Eversmeyer: arden@oloc.org


Impact Stories 

Glenne McElhinney's new project in San Francisco!



LGBT Religious Archives

"This Oral History collection provides in-depth interviews with a diverse group of early LGBT religious leaders.  By selecting a person you can listen to that interview, read the transcript, view photographs and peruse biographical notes." (includes two pagans)



Listening for a Change

Promotes understanding and acceptance of human diversity through education, oral history, and the arts.



Museum of the Person 

Founded in Brazil, but spreading-"a virtual museum aimed at providing each and every individual with the opportunity to integrate his or her history into a network of social memory."



Operation Jukebox

The digital branch of the Oral History Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks



Oral History of Houston

The City of Houston has started a new oral history project that will be done in conjunction with the Center for Public History at the University of Houston. We hope to be involved in this project.



Rainbow History Project (Washington, D.C.)

Includes a link to a PDF File showing a number of LGBT oral history collections.



Regional Oral History Office 

ROHO - UC Berkley



Southern Oral History Project 




Touchable Stories

"Community organizing and raising important social justice issues is at the heart of the Touchable Stories Program. Our goal is to bring individuals and organizations together and to identify human/financial resources that will aid communities in creating a sustainable future."



University of North Texas




Some books and films that have resulted from oral history projects are:


Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold (1993)

Kennedy and Davis's interviews with 45 women were the primary source material for their study of the blue-collar lesbian community in BuffaloNY. Winner: 1994 Lambda award.




Coming Out Under Fire (1990)

Allan Bérubé's research on the participation of gays and lesbians in World War II military and factory settings. Was made into a film in 1994. The original interviews are in the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco.




Farm Boys: Lives of Gay Men from the Rural Midwest  (2001)

William D. Fellows. Puts a face on the gay experience in the rural Midwest during the past century. 

 Skip would like to do something like this with rural Texans.



Gay Old Girls(1998)

Zsa Zsa Gershick's interviews with nine elderly lesbians provide rare glimpses into lesbian life of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.




Growing Up Before Stonewall(1994)

Peter Nardi, David Sanders, and Judd Marmor create psychological profiles to illustrate how eleven gay men of the pre-Stonewall generation made sense of their identity. 




Lonely Hunters: An Oral History of Lesbian and Gay Southern Life, 1948-1968  (1997)

James T. Sears' examination of glbtq experiences in the south during the Cold War and Civil Rights eras





Making History(1992)

Eric Marcus tapped the recollections of more than fifty individuals for a selective look at the gay rights movement between 1945 and 1990. David Isay's 1990





Rebels, Rubyfruit, and Rhinestones:



Queering Space in the Stonewall South(2001)


James T. Sears

This is the only published history that includes events that occured in Houston. We are, in many ways, using this work as our starting point. There are two copies being passed around in Houston. We are asking that people read it, sign their name somewhere on the fly paper or in the margins, and pass it on. Eventually the copies will be added to The Archives.




Remembering Stonewall (1990)

Radio documentary dramatically conveyed the first-person viewpoints of some of the participants.




Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria

Susan Stryker and Victor Silverman's fabulous film! "Three years before the famous rioting at New York's Stonewall Inn, there was a riot in San Francisco at Gene Compton's Cafeteria. On a hot Summer's night in 1966, in the city's Tenderloin district, a group of transgender women and gay street-hustlers fought back for the first time in history against everyday police harassment."




The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)

Winner Best Documentary (first documentary on a gay subject to do so). An estimated 1 billion viewers hear its director, Robert Epstein, express his thanks to, "my partner in life, John Wright."




Word is Out (1977)

Film by Peter Adair constructed from interviews with 26 gay men and women. For many viewers it was their first experience of seeing gay men and lesbians interviewed in full light, without overtones of shame or stigma.







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