Oral Histories in Special Collections
Whether you're looking for primary sources for research or trying to find an interview with a family member, J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections has a robust set of oral history collections for you to use. We are the repository for the oral histories collected by the American West Center, a University of Utah institute dedicated to documenting the lives and histories of the diverse array of people that live in the American West region. To learn more about oral histories and several of our collection areas, visit the Oral History Digital Exhibit.
Oral histories can be found in two separate departments within Special Collections. The audio and/or video of the oral history is in the Multimedia Archives. The transcripts (typed out version of the interview) are located in the Manuscripts Division. We do not always have both the transcript and the audio-visual component, but it never hurts to ask!
The lists below detail the oral history collections in each department. If the collection name is hyperlinked, we have a finding aid available for that collection. A finding aid is a detailed description of the items in a collection. If there is no hyperlink, please contact Special Collections for more information. We may have a preliminary list of what exists in the collection that we can share with you.
Personal copies of transcripts and audio-visual components of an oral history are usually available for a small fee. We can provide access to all interview transcripts in the Special Collections Reading Room. The audio-visual component may need to be digitized in order to provide you with access; please call ahead to use multimedia material on-site.
If you are interested in a particular interview and have any questions or would like a personal copy, please have a few items ready when you contact us:
- Collection Name (e.g. Doris Duke oral history collection)
- Collection Number (If it is a transcript, the collection number will start with 'Ms' or 'Accn.' If it is audio or video, the collection number will start with 'A')
- Item Number or Interview Number
- Name of Interviewee
Special Collections is located on the 4th Floor of J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah. Research access is available by appointment only, and materials must be requested 24 hours in advance.
Ms 95 Golden Spike oral history project finding aid (for audio, see A0095 Golden Spike oral histories) See full transcripts
Ms 96 Spanish Speaking Peoples of Utah oral history project (some audio is available in A0853 Ethnic Oral Histories) See full transcripts
Ms 268 Brigham Young University oral histories (no audio available)
Ms 329 Greek oral histories (for audio, see A0004 Greek oral history project)
Ms 39 Davis Bitton oral histories (for audio, see A0039 Davis Bitton oral histories and autobiographies audio recordings)
Accn 772 Uintah Basin oral histories (for audio, see A0068 Uintah Basin oral histories)
Accn 814 Everett Cooley oral history project (for audio, see A0060 Everett Cooley oral history collection)
Accn 941 Navajo oral history (no audio available)
Accn 1322 Uranium oral histories (for audio, see A0343 Uranium oral histories)
Accn 2016 Cottonwood Uranium Mining oral history project (no audio available)
Accn 2117 Westside Stories oral histories (for audio, see A843 Westside Stories oral histories)
Accn 2200 Tesuque Pueblo oral history project (for audio, see A0874 Native American oral histories)
Accn 2778 Mormon Women's Voices oral history projects (No audio/video component available)
Accn 2840 African American oral history project (audio available in A0038 African American oral histories)
Accn 562 Sanpete County interviews (for audio/video, see A0141 Sanpete County oral histories)
Accn 853 Ute Indian interviews (limited audio available in A0288 Ute oral history collection)
Ms 516 Interviews with Italians in Utah (no audio available)
Accn 2465 Topaz Museum Interviews (for audio, see A1008 Topaz Museum Interviews)
Ms 453 Interviews with Blacks in Utah (for audio, see A0326 Black American Oral History Project)
Ms 479 Interviews with Greeks (for audio, see A0853 Ethnic Oral Histories)
Ms 413 Sandra Tanner oral histories (no audio available)
Ms 472 Voices of American Homemakers oral history project (for audio, see A0138 Voices of American Homemakers oral history project)
Accn 2853 Vietnam War oral histories (for audio, see A1213 Vietnam War oral history project)
A0004 Greek oral history project (for transcripts, see Ms0329 Greek Oral histories)
A0022 William H. Levitt oral history video recording
A0038 African-American oral histories (for transcripts, see Accn2840 African American oral histories)
A0039 Davis Bitton oral histories and autobiographies audio recordings (for transcripts, see Ms0039 Davis Bitton oral histories)
A0060 Everett Cooley oral history project (transcripts available online here)
A0068 Uintah Basin oral history project audio recordings (for transcripts, see Accn0772 Uintah Basin oral histories)
A0095 Golden Spike oral history (for transcripts, see Ms0095 Golden Spike oral histories)
A0125 Eugene England audio collection
A0128 Guy Sadler oral history audio recordings
A0138 Voices of American Homemakers oral history project (for transcripts, see Ms0472 Voices of American Homemakers oral history project)
A0141 John S.H. Smith oral histories of Sanpete County video collection (for transcripts, see Accn0562 Sanpete County oral histories)
A0145 John Mills Whitaker oral history audio recording
A0180 Willard R. Harwood oral history audio recordings
A0287 Japanese oral histories (transcripts available in Accn1209 Interviews with Japanese in Utah)
A0288 Ute Mountain Ute oral history project (more transcripts available in Accn0853 Ute Indian interviews)
A0305 Italian oral history project audio recordings (transcripts available in Ms0580 Italian oral histories)
A0324 Jewish oral history project audio recordings (transcripts available in Accn1629 Jewish oral histories)
A0326 Black American oral history project (limited transcripts available in Accn 2840 African American oral histories)
A0343 Uranium Oral History
A0482 Dresser Dahlstead oral history audio recording
A0497 Ron Holt Paiute oral history audio recordings
A0500 Barney Clark oral history audio-visual collection
A0595 Ray Bramble oral history audio recording
A0618 Capitol Reef National Park oral history audio recordings (no transcripts available at this time)
A0661 Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons oral history audio-visual collection (no transcripts available)
A0722 RIver Runners oral history video collection (go here for more river running related collections) (for transcripts, see A1000 Roy Webb collection)
A0843 Westside stories oral history project (for transcripts, see Accn 2117 Westside stories oral histories)
A0853 Ethnic archives oral histories audio recordings (for transcripts, please see Ms0096, Ms0806, Accn 1855, Accn 1502,
A0864 Saving the Legacy World War II oral histories (for transcripts, see Accn 2070 Saving the Legacy Oral histories)
A0878 James Aton Southern Utah oral history audio recordings
A0891 William Engel Millner oral history audio recordings
A0928 Gordon Neff oral history audio recordings
A0950 Eileen Hallet Stone water rights
A0990 Holladay oral history video recordings
A1008 Topaz Museum interviews video recordings
A1032 Gordon Walton oral history audio recordings
A1053 O'Dell "Pete" Petersen oral history video recording
A1059 Cleofan Club oral history audio recordings
A1073 Jeff Hunt WWII oral history audio recording
A1093 Ralph P. Gates, Jr. oral history project video recordings
A1130 SUU Oral History with Alva Matheson
A1144 Annaliese Otto Hunkins oral history audio recordings
A1175 Frank O. Nishiguchi oral history collection
A1188 Great Basin oral histories
A1213 Vietnam War oral history project (for transcripts, see Accn 2538 Vietnam War oral histories)
Who sets standards for oral history projects? Where can I find guidance on how to conduct an oral history?
The Oral History Association sets standards for historians doing oral history interviews. An excellent resource for guidance is The Oral History Manual by Barbara Sommer (2009).
I'm creating my own oral history project. What do I need to do to give my project to the library?
Special Collections asks that you submit the following forms with your oral history project, if at all possible. The first form is a Deed of Gift, in which you are giving the library your oral history project/collection.
The second document is an Oral History Interview, Assigment, and Release Agremeent. This form is an important part of informed consent, and allows donors to transfer rights to the Marriott Library. Oral histories that are donated to us without this form, or a similar agreement, may not be legally or ethically accessible to researchers.
What format should I record my oral history in?
For digital preservation purposes, the library prefers oral history interviews in 16 bit uncompressed .WAV file format. Most dedicated audio recorders can record in this format; you may want to record both in a digital and an analog format for back up (e.g. use a digital audio recorder and tape cassette recorder). However, this is up to the interviewer.
Please name your files logically to assist us in processing and making your interviews accessible. For example, use the the name of the interviewee and the date in the file name.
If I give the library my oral history project, what will be done with it?
Materials in the University of Utah Special Collections are available to all researchers during open hours. Many Special Collection materials are used in classroom instruction, in exhibits, and are requested by researchers working on a variety of projects.
Will you digitize my oral history project if it is on tape cassette or other analog format?
Possibly. Our archive is not able to digitize every collection we receive, and our ability to do so may depend on a number of factors. Having a signed waiver from the interview participants is often the first step to determining digitization priorities.
Am I allowed to use audio/video oral histories in my film/radio/audio project?
This depends on if the library has a waiver of copyright from the interviewee. If we have the waiver, you will be able to use the AV files in your film or audio project. We do charge use fees for for profit or commercial publication of items in our collection, and may charge a small reproduction fee. Learn more about reproduction and usage of multimedia collections on our about page.
I'd like to get a copy of an oral history transcript or audio/video file. Who do I contact?
Contact Special Collections via the webform to get copies of oral histories. Fees may apply.
Molly Rose Steed
Head of Multimedia Archives
Senior Photograph Archivist
Claire A. Kempa
Doris Duke Special Collection Archivist
The Special Collections Reading Room is open by appointment only:
Monday - Thursday
10 am - 4 pm
For more information, please visit Special Collections