Oral History Interviews

Nothing beats listening to oral history interviews or reading interview transcripts. The stories of American history come alive, whether the narrators are friends of a president, a landscape architect of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a World War II "Rosie" who worked in shipyards, a Cold War missileer, or a former director of the National Park Service.

Listen to the Stories of American History

 

Interview with J. D. Swed

J. D. Swed still remembers the first time he saw Yosemite Valley in the early 1970s when he joined the National Park Service as a seasonal ranger. Watch his story on Facebook or below.

 

Aleutian World War II National Historic Area

36 airmen posing in front of a plane during World War II.

Aleutian World War II National Historic Area has recorded stories from military veterans, home front workers, and Native Aleuts who were evacuated and interned during the war.

 

 

The flight crews of the 73rd Bombardment Squadron (M) at McChord Field.
Photograph courtesy of John Pletcher (NPS/GATE).

 

Blue Ridge Parkway

Driving Through Time website logo

Driving Through Time: The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway features interviews with people who lived in communities along the Blue Ridge Parkway, workers who designed and built the parkway, and former Park Service employees.

 

 

 

 

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

Trail Tribes website logo

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail recognizes that Native Americans have their own ways of viewing what was known as the Corps of Discovery. Hear tribal perspectives on the Lewis and Clark mission at the Trail Tribes website.

 

 

 

 

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Facade of Little Rock Central High School

The Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site has collected video and audio interviews with the Little Rock Nine and other members of the community who witnessed or took part in the integration efforts of 1957-1959.

 

 

Front façade of Central High School. NPS photo/CHSE.

 

Manzanar National Historic Site

Black and white photograph of the Mochida family, taken by Dorothea Lange.

With the help of partners, Manzanar National Historic Site shares interviews with Japanese Americans interned at the War Relocation Center in eastern California during World War II. Partners include the California Audiovisual Preservation Project and Denshō: The Japanese American Legacy Project.

 

Members of the Mochida Family (May 8, 1942): "Members of the Mochida family awaiting evacuation bus." Photograph by D. Lange; Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, WRA No. C-153.

 

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Oral History Project logo (black & white view of lake and mountains, with a microphone on either side)

Yosemite National Park's "I Remember Yosemite" oral history project saves the stories of people who have helped shape and whose lives have been shaped by the park.

 

 

 

 

Read Oral History Interviews

 

Alaska Parks

11 people (including 3 children) at People at Healy River, Alaska, circa 1905.

Five Alaska parks—Denali, Katmai, Lake Clark, Sitka, and Yukon-Charley Rivers—have collaborated with the digital branch of the oral history program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Find interviews, photographs, and other resources at Project Jukebox.

 

People at Healy River, Alaska, circa 1905.
Photo courtesy of Lee Saylor/Jeany Healy; accessed via Project Jukebox.

 

Association of National Park Rangers

Park Ranger Jan Kirwan

Since 2013, the Association of National Park Rangers has partnered with the Park History Program to conduct a Centennial-inspired oral history project. Interviews document how veteran Park Service personnel built careers, put policies into practice, and combined work and family life. The interviews are also contributing to leadership development among younger ANPR members.

 

Photo courtesy of Jan Kirwan.

 

Gateway National Recreation Area

Black & white photo of 3 soldiers working at the controls for radar equipment at Fort Hancock

Gateway National Recreation Area features interviews with those who remember living or working at or near Sandy Hook Lighthouse and Fort Hancock from World War I to the Cold War.

 

 

Soldiers work with Radar equipment inside radar van at Nike IFC area at Fort Hancock. NPS photo/GATE.

 

Harry S Truman National Historic Site

Front view of the Harry S Truman home, with sunlight illuminating the roof

Read the memories of Truman family friends, neighbors, and associates at Harry S Truman National Historic Site.

 

 

The Truman Home, 219 North Delaware Street, Independence, Missouri. NPS photo/HSTR/Turner.

 

 

Lowell National Historical Park

Black & white photo of two men working to break up an ice jam in the Western Canal

Lowell National Historical Park and the Center for Lowell History, University of Massachusetts—Lowell have posted hundreds of transcribed interviews about the history of education, industry, and everyday life in the city of Lowell.

 

Canal workers working hard to remove ice from the Western Canal so that factory operations could run in the winter (February 21, 1918). NPS photo/LOWE.

 

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

Missileers during an evaluation in the Missile Procedures Trainer at Ellsworth Air Force Base

Interviews with missileers, security and maintenance team members, peace activists, and local citizens offer multiple perspectives on Minuteman Missile National Historic Site’s Cold War history.

 

 

Missileers during an evaluation in the Missile Procedures Trainer at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Photograph courtesy of Ellsworth Air Force Base.

 

Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park

Black & white photo of Velma Briggs Moore (right) at female coworker at Marinship

Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, in collaboration with Regional Oral History Office at University of California at Berkeley, has conducted interviews with residents of the San Francisco Bay Area about their experiences during World War II.

 

Velma Briggs Moore (at right) with a coworker at Marinship in Sausalito, California. NPS photo/RORI 3636.

 

Shenandoah National Park

Black & white photo of CCC work crew aboard NPS solid-tired truck

Members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built trails, graded roads, and built facilities in Shenandoah National Park.

 

 

 

CCC work crew aboard NPS solid-tired truck. NPS photo/SNP 6043.

 

 

Interview with George B. Hartzog

George B. Hartzog

Janet A. McDonnell and William C. Everhard, Oral History Interview with George B. Hartzog Jr., Director, National Park Service, 1964-1972 (Washington, DC: National Park Service, Department of the Interior, 2007). (pdf)

 

 

NPS photo.

 

Interview with Robert G. Stanton

Robert G. Stanton and William J. Clinton

Janet A. McDonnell, Oral History Interview with Robert G. Stanton, Director, National Park Service, 1997-2001 (Washington, DC: National Park Service, Department of the Interior, 2007). (pdf)

 

 

NPS photo.

 

Interview with Robert M. Utley

Robert M. Utley

Richard W. Sellars and Melody Webb, An Interview with Robert M. Utley on the History of Historic Preservation in the National Park Service, 1947-1980, Southwest Cultural Resources Center Professional Papers No. 16 (Santa Fe, 1988).

 

 

Photo courtesy of Robert M. Utley.