Listing of Oral History Projects

See individual memoirs for more detailed descriptions of subjects discussed:

BATES EXPERIMENTAL ROAD PROJECT
Interviews by Jane E. Knepler, 1975

The narrators discuss the construction of this experimental paved road, completed near New Berlin, Illinois in 1922. The narrators also discuss farm life in the early 20th century, the construction of U.S. Highway 36, the impact of paved roads on the area, and events from their lives near the Sangamon County towns of New Berlin and Loami.

BLACK COMMUNITY PROJECT
Interviews by Rev. Negil L. McPherson for the SSU Oral History Office, 1974-75

Members of the African-American community of Springfield, Illinois describe their childhood and family backgrounds, employment, schooling, church and community activities, racial segregation and discrimination, the 1908 race riot, the Depression, and social life in Springfield. This project was funded in part by a grant from the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.

CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Interviews by Sandra Britz Armbruster, 1981-82, 1984

Members of this Springfield church recall activities, pastors, fellow members, conflicts between "low church" and "high church" factions, as well as their own experiences and interests.

COAL MINING AND UNION ACTIVITIES PROJECT
Interviews by Nick Cherniavsky, Barbara "Bobbe" Herndon, Rex Rhodes, 1972-73

The narrators describe working conditions in Illinois coal mines in the early 20th century, the "mine wars" of the 1930's, hostilities between the United Mine Workers and the Progressive Miners of America, living conditions of striking miners and their families, impressions of John L. Lewis, and other issues related to coal mining in the state. This project was funded in part by the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.

FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
Interviews by Henry Russel, 1980

Members of this Springfield church recall activites, pastors and fellow members, the fire of 1956, assistance received from Temple B'rith Sholom, and the rebuilding of the church.

GERMAN-AMERICANS PROJECT
Interviews by Leslie Leamons, 1972

Members of the German-American community of Springfield and other parts of central Illinois recall their families' cultural background and heritage, and their responses to anti-German sentiment during the two World Wars.

HISTORIC SITES IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS
Interviews by Mary Louise Connelly McCarthy and Corrine Evans, 1971-72

The narrators, including employees of the Illinois State Historical Library, Illinois State Archives and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, recall the preservation and restoration of historic sites in Springfield and central Illinois, including the Old State Capitol, the Governor's Mansion, the Lincoln Home, and Clayville.

HOME SCHOOLING PROJECT
Interviews by Linda Moore, 1990

The narrators discuss reasons for, challenges of, and rewards of educating their children at home. They also discuss legal implications, setting up academic goals and curricula, dealing with opposition, and creating support groups.

ILLINOIS COAL: THE LEGACY OF AN INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY
Interviews by Kevin Corley, Carl Oblinger, Brenda Griffin, 1985-86

This project was funded by the Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Oral History Office. Illinois coal miners and their wives describe family life, their work experiences in the mines, mechanization, the "mine wars" of the 1930's, the struggle between the Progressive Miners and the United Mine Workers, life in mining towns, bootlegging, various types of mining jobs, and ethnic and gender diversity in the mines.

ILLINOIS COMMUNITY COLLEGES
Interviews by G. Ernst Giesecke, 1976

The narrators, officials of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Junior College Board, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and other state agencies, recall the establishment of Illinois' communiy college system, political implications, relations with exisiting colleges and universities, and the successes and failures of the system.

ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
Interviews by Cullom Davis, Horace Q. Waggoner, Judy Haynes, 1979-85

Former members of the Illinois General Assembly discuss their family background, education, marriage and children, work history, and military service; they also recall their years in the legislature: campaigning, elections, party politics, lobbyists, Illinois regional politics, and significant issues and legislation. The narrators also discuss life after the General Assembly: running for other political office, private law practice, businesses endeavors, teaching, retirement, etc. This project was conducted in association with the Illinois Legislative Council and SSU's Legislative Studies Center.

ILLINOIS STATECRAFT
Interviews by Marilyn Huff Immel, Cullom Davis, Nancy Huntley, Ida Klassen, 1978-85

The narrators, including directors and employees of Illinois departments and agencies, members of the governors' staff and Illinois Governor Dan Walker, discuss thir involvement in Illinois state government and politics, as well as their own family and educational background. This project was funded in part by grants from the Illinois Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

INSTITUTE OF INTER-AMERICAN AFFAIRS COLLECTION
Interviews by James D. Williams, Elvera Williams, and Margarida Reno, 1984-90

From the preface to the memoirs in this series: "The focus of the collection is twofold: first, to record the 'feel' of the experience of participating in the Foreign Aid Program in Latin America, and second, to record the actual experiences and observations of partici-pants, the latter with an emphasis on those items that might be important for policymakers and historians. This emphasis attempts to identify important elements in societal and institutional development; elements that are important in social change without violence." The narrators discuss their experiences living and working on foreign aid programs in Brazil, Mexico, and other countries in Latin America and Africa from the 1940's to the 1960's. The Oral History Research Office at Columbia University donated the titles of this series.

ITALIAN-AMERICANS PROJECT
Interviews by John Bucari, 1972

Members of the Italian-American community of Springfield and other towns in central Illinois discuss their families' emigration from Italy and Sicily, working in area coal mines, prohibition and bootlegging, social and family life, and the Catholic Church.

JEWISH EXPERIENCE PROJECT
Interviews by Syma Mendelsohn, 1973

Members of Springfield's Jewish community recall life and family in Springfield, Temple B'rith Sholom, anti-semitism and relationships with the community at large.

LINCOLN MEMORIAL GARDENS PROJECT
Interviews by Sara Wells, 1985

The narrators discuss the design and establishment of this park on Lake Springfield from the 1930's onwards.
See also K780 Harriet Knudson ; L638 Abraham Lincoln Memorial Gardens ;

MENTAL HEALTH CARE PROJECT
Interviews by Rodger Streitmatter, 1972

Employees of the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville discuss the management and operation of the hospital, as well as changes in the treatment the mentally ill over the years.

MOWEAQUA COAL MINE
Interviews by Debbie Springer Horne, 1994

Coal miners and members of their families recall life and work in this Shelby County, Illinois community; special mention is made of the Christmas Eve Disaster of 1932. These memoirs were donated by the Moweaqua Coal Mine Museum.

MYERS BROTHERS DEPARTMENT STORE PROJECT
Interviews by John Vrooman, 1972-73

Members of the Myers family and one of their employees recall the establishment and operation of this downtown Springfield store from 1885 onwards.

ONE ROOM SCHOOL PROJECT
Interviews by Jane Stout, 1972

The narrators, former students and teachers in rural one room schools in central Illinois in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, recall the structure and furnishing of the schools, classes taught, special events and activities, and other memories of farm life from the late 1800's onwards.

PRISONER OF WAR EXPERIENCES IN WORLD WAR II
Interviews by Glenn Kniss, 1985-89

Former American prisoners of war in WWII relate the stories of their enlistment, training, combat experiences, capture, internment in German and Japanese prison camps, their treatment and experiences in the camps, "death marches," liberation, and the impact of these experiences on their later lives.

RADIO PROJECT
Interviews by William Ortman, 1973

On-air personalities, performers, journalists, station managers and other staff discuss their work at radio stations in Springfield and elsewhere from the 1920's onwards.

See also: R118 Radio Project


SANGAMON ORDNANCE PLANT PROJECT
Interviews by B. David McCarthy, 1989-90

Employees of this WWII-era munitions factory near Illiopolis describe the acquisition of land for the plant, its construction, operation, working conditions, women and minority employees, duties, housing problems, life on the WWII homefront, impact on Illiopolis and the area, and the plant's closing.

SANGAMON RIVER PROJECT
Interviews by Judith Haynes, 1980-81

The narrators recall life along this central Illinois river: fishing, boating, hunting, farming, floods, river hazards, wildlife, and changes in the river over the years.

SHAWNEETOWN BANK PROJECT
Interviews by Cullom Davis and Horace Q. Waggoner, 1978-79

These interviews were conducted by the SSU Oral History Office under contract with the Illinois Department of Conservation. The project documents the history of the State Bank of Illinois at Shawneetown from 1837 to 1926 through oral history interviews and the identification of known photographs, artifacts and documents. The narrators recall the structure of the bank, its furnishings, apartments, surroundings, the impact of the 1937 Ohio River flood, and the community of Shawneetown.

SPRINGFIELD INTERNATIONAL VISITORS COMMISSION
Interviews by Byron Booth, 1990

Narrators describe efforts made to welcome and accommodate foreign visitors to Springfield's Lincoln sites.

SPRINGFIELD MARINE BANK PROJECT
Interviews by John Bucari, 1973

Employess and officers of this historic Springfield bank recall the history of the bank, details of its operation, the effect of the Great Depression, changes in the city's downtown area, the development of the banking industry, and the impact of automation.

SPRINGFIELD RACE RIOT, 1908
Interviews by Cullom Davis et al., 1971-72

Narrators recall this bloody incident in Springfield history; see also BLACK COMMUNITY PROJECT and entries in the Index under Springfield IL--Race Riot, 1908.

SPRINGFIELD ROTARY CLUB PROJECT
Interviews by Melissa Hopp, Ron Krause, Mike Schramm, P.J. Waggaman, 1988

Members of this club recall its activities and achivements, and its influence on their lives.

STEAMBOATS AND INLAND RIVERS
Interviews by John Knoepfle, 1956-63

These interviews were conducted by poet John Knoepfle around Cincinnati, Ohio and elsewhere in the late 1950's and early 1960's. The narrators discuss life and work on the Ohio, Mississippi, Illinois and other Midwest rivers from the late 1800's to the 1950's: steamboats, packetboats, showboats, ferries, wrecks, explosions and fires, river lore, jazz music, saloons and prohibition, freight, locks and dams, river towns, navigation lights and conditions, floods, fog and ice jams, barge and boat construction, government regulation and licensing, duties of steamboat crew members, wages, salaries and living conditions, wildlife, hunting and fishing, minority groups, the Amazon River and the Spanish-American War. Knoepfle, professor of English at Sangamon State University, donated the collection to the Oral History Office and University Archives in 1986. Material related to this project may also be found at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio.

ADLAI E. STEVENSON PROJECT
Interviews by Kenneth Davis, John Luter, Walter Johnson, 1967-71

The narrators, political associates of Adlai E. Stevenson II (1990-1965), members of his staff, his son, and others, recall Stevenson's character, achievements, term as Illinois Governor (1949-1953), presidential campaigns (1952 and 1956), his work at the United Nations, later life and death. This series was donated by the Oral History Research Office of Columbia University.

ADLAI E. STEVENSON II
Interviews by Stephen Bean, 1975

Friends of Stevenson and his personal secretary recall his term as Illinois Governor, presidential campaigns, work as ambassador to the United Nations, and personal life.

TELEPHONE PROJECT
Interviews by Thomas E. Easley, Gerald Veach, 1973

Illinois Bell Telephone Company employees, including linemen, operators, managers and others, recall their work in the telephone industry in the early 20th centruy on: changes in technology, tasks, the social and economic impact of telephones, Illinois cities and rural communities, and their own lives.

VIETNAM
Interviews by Charles Hill, 1981-82

American servicemen and a Vietnamese immigrant recall the draft, enlistment, combat experiences, opposition to the war, and its effect on them and on American society. See also entries in the Index under Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975.

WORLD WAR II CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS PROJECT
Interviews by C. Arthur Bradley, 1988

The narrators, including eight students of Union Theological Seminary in New York City who were jailed in 1940 for refusing to register for the draft, discuss their opposition to war and the draft; their family backgrounds, education, and involvement in socialism, pacifism, civil rights, and the labor movement; and their activities in Congregational and other churches. The women narrators discuss their husbands' protests and ministries, their own involvement in pacifist and other political movements, the women's movement, and their own intellectual development.

Oral History Projects Consisting of a Single Memoir

The items are compilations of several narrators' contributions in one memoir. See abstracts for the following in the main section of the Guide:


Table of Contents | Dedication | Foreword
Introduction | List of Projects
Acknowledgments
Abstracts of Transcribed Memoirs
Appendix | Index | Index of Interviewers