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Oral History @ VT: Oral History Collections

This guide brings together resources relating to conducting and transcribing oral histories, and includes the best practices for collecting oral histories and donating them to Virginia Tech.

Oral History Collections (A-Z)

  • Appalachian Oral History Project, 1986-1991 (Ms1993-025)
    Most interviews in this collection were gathered as part of a 1991 Appalachian Community Studies class led by Professor Jean Speer of the Department of Humanities at Virginia Tech. The collection contains cassette tapes, tape logs, and in some cases, student papers associated with the 23 interviews conducted with 25 individual interviewees from the local community.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid

  • Appalachian Quilt Project Cassette Tapes, 1978-1979 (Ms1981-097)
    This oral history project was conducted by the Department of Clothing, Textiles, and Related Art at Virginia Tech. The collection consists of recorded interviews with 43 anonymous quilt makers in Floyd County, Virginia and Washington County, Virginia.
    Currently, restrictions allow only on-site use of the oral histories in this collection.
    Finding Aid

  • Black Appalachians Oral History Project (Ms1991-019)
    The Black Appalachians Oral History Project consists of a series of interviews conducted by Dr. Michael Cooke of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University concerning black life in Appalachia, especially in Montgomery County, Virginia. The narrators represent communities such as Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Elliston, Riner, Shawsville, and Wake Forest.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid | Visit the digital collection at SCUA Online

  • Black Women at Virginia Tech Oral History Project (Ms1995-026)
    This multi-phase research and educational collaborative program of the University Libraries and the Women’s Center at Virginia Tech consists of interviews conducted between 1994 and 2000 with some of the first black women students at Virginia Tech, the first black homecoming queen at Virginia Tech, and the first black woman in the Corps of Cadets. Included among the materials are oral history recordings, transcripts, and photographs.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid | Visit the digital collection at SCUA Online

  • Blacksburg Oral History Project Records, 1984-1985 (Ms1985-005)
    This collection consists of recordings and transcripts of oral history interviews conducted by the University Libraries at Virginia Tech with residents of Blacksburg about the town's history.
    Currently, restrictions allow only on-site use of the oral histories in this collection.
    Finding Aid

  • Blue Ridge Parkway Folklore Project Records (Ms1986-009)
    This collection includes records from an oral history project conducted by the American Folklife Center in cooperation with the National Park Service. The project surveyed folk cultural traditions along the Blue Ridge Parkway, particularly along a 100-mile stretch from Rocky Knob, Virginia to Doughton Park, North Carolina. Included among the collection are interview tapes, photographs, field notes, and administrative records from 1978-1979. The Library of Congress holds a more extensive collection of materials related to this project.
    Currently, restrictions allow only on-site use of the oral histories in this collection.
    Finding Aid

  • Books that Made the Difference Project Collection (Ms1985-003)
    This collection consists of subject files, clippings, correspondence, manuscript drafts, and audio-visual materials. The project was conceived in 1980 by Ann Heidbreder Eastman, a Publishing Staff Officer at Virginia Tech, and executed by Professor Gordon A. Sabine of the Department of Communication at Virginia Tech, and his wife Patricia. Professor Sabine and his wife interviewed people across the country, asking what book made the greatest difference in their lives, and what that difference was. The responses were collected for Books That Made the Difference: What People Told Us, published by Shoe String Press in 1983. The theme of "Books Make a Difference" has been, and still is, used by public libraries for public relations campaigns. Noteworthy aspects of the collection include the 1983 book and the 1985 abridged version published by the Book-of-the-Month Club, and the original cassette tapes used by the Sabines to record the interviews.
    Currently, restrictions allow only on-site use of the oral histories in this collection.
    Finding Aid

  • Christiansburg Industrial Institute Oral History Project (Ms2019-037)
    This collection consists of oral history recordings, transcripts, field notes, and other assorted documents produced by the students of Professor David Cline in the Fall of 2012 in association with their interviews with former students of CI about their childhoods, the African-American community in Southwest Virginia, the student experience at CI, the quality of CI’s curriculum and how it prepared students for further education and the workforce, the eventual closing of the school, and subsequent preservation efforts via the Christiansburg Institute Alumni Association and Christiansburg Institute, Inc.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid | Visit the digital collection at SCUA Online

  • College of Education History Records (Ms1990-026)
    This collection is built on the work of the students of Professor Patrick Carlton of the College of Education at Virginia Tech in November and December of 1989, and consists of oral history recordings, notes, transcripts, correspondence, and reports detailing the history of the College of Education.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid

  • Crown Cotton Mills [Dalton, Georgia] Oral History Tapes, 1984-1985 (Ms1988-023)
    This collection consists of oral history interview recordings conducted by Professor J. Douglas Flamming with employees of the Crown Cotton Mills in Dalton, a textile town in the Appalachian Valley of Northwest Georgia. Most interviewees worked for Crown between 1920 and 1960. This collection is largely unprocessed.
    Currently, restrictions allow only on-site use of the oral histories in this collection.
    Finding Aid

  • Denim Day 40th Anniversary Oral History Collection (Ms2019-022)
    This collection includes oral history accounts of the first Denim Day event, a key moment in LGBTQ+ history at Virginia Tech, in January 1979.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid | Visit the digital collection at SCUA Online

  • Department of Biochemistry Oral History Collection (Ms2003-009)
    This collection consists of oral history recordings, transcripts, photographs, and documentation associated with the 50th anniversary celebration for the Department of Biochemistry at Virginia Tech. Interviews were conducted between October 2001 and June 2002 and interviewees include department heads, faculty, and staff who played important roles in the founding and development of the department.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid

  • Hidden History: The Black Experience in the Roanoke Valley (Ms1992-049)
    This oral history project, conducted jointly by the Harrison Museum for African-American Culture in Roanoke, Virginia and the University Libraries of Virginia Tech, explores the cultural, social, and political histories of African-American residents of Roanoke, Virginia during the twentieth century. The collection consists of approximately 56 recordings and 40 interview transcripts.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid

  • James J. Pandapas Audiotape and Papers, 1966-1988, 1997 (Ms1997-011)
    This collection consists of oral history recordings, transcripts, newspaper clippings, and assorted documents related to the life of James J. Pandapas, whose companies, Electro-Tec and Poly-Scientific, and residential developments, including Airport Acres and Highland Park, were instrumental in the development of the Blacksburg area.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid

  • John Nicolay Papers (Ms1987-027)
    This collection consists of the records used by John Nicolay, a former Blacksburg, Virginia resident and historian, in his research on blacks, local churches, poverty in Montgomery County, Virginia, and the Edie Family of Christiansburg, Virginia. Included among the materials are several oral history interviews with regional residents.
    Currently, restrictions allow only on-site use of the oral histories in this collection.
    Finding Aid

  • John V. Becker Papers (Ms1990-052)
    This collection contains correspondence, notes, memoranda, and other materials related to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Most materials in this collection relate specifically to the X-1, X-15, X-20 (or Dyna-Soar) programs. Included in the collection are transcripts of oral history interviews. Transcripts only.
    Currently, restrictions allow only on-site use of the oral histories in this collection.
    Finding Aid

  • Martha Dillard Audiocassette Tapes, 1992 (Ms1998-027)
    This collection contains oral history interviews conducted by artist Martha Dillard in connection with Watershed: Three Views of the Land, an exhibition of Dillard's paintings of the Ellett Valley in Montgomery County, Virginia.
    Currently, restrictions allow only on-site use of the oral histories in this collection.
    Finding Aid

  • Marvin Blecher Audiocassette Tape, 1998 (Ms1998-017)
    On this tape is an oral history interview conducted by Virginia Tech student Christina Roemer with Dr. Marvin Blecher and Freda Blecher of Blacksburg, Virginia, about their involvement in the Jewish community in the town and the Hillel student organization at Virginia Tech, for which Dr. Blecher served as faculty advisor.
    Currently, restrictions allow only on-site use of this oral history interview.
    Finding Aid

  • Michael Collins Papers, 1907-2004 (Ms1989-029)
    This collection contains materials from the life of Michael Collins, pilot, astronaut, Assistant Secretary of State, Director of the National Air and Space Museum, and author. Included in this collection are two oral history interviews, one for the 1998 Johnson Space Center Oral History Project, and one for the 2003 Centennial of Flight Oral History Project.
    Currently, restrictions allow only on-site use of the oral histories in this collection.
    Finding Aid

  • Multicultural Diversity Oral History Collection (Ms2002-001)
    This collection includes 23 interviews conducted in the early 2000s with interviewees from diverse backgrounds with some connection to Virginia Tech or Blacksburg.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid | Visit the digital collection at SCUA Online

  • Newport and Clover Hollow, Giles County History Collection (Ms2013-086)
    This collection documents the history and people of Giles County as well as the community's efforts to have Newport designated as a rural agricultural historic district. Included among the materials in this collection are oral history recordings, transcripts, and notes.
    Currently, restrictions allow only on-site use of the oral histories in this collection.
    Finding Aid

  • Oral History of the Principalship Records (Ms1989-040)
    This project, directed by Professor Patrick W. Carlton of the College of Education at Virginia Tech, features interviews with retired elementary, middle, and high school principals interviewed between 1987 and 1995. Most of the interviewees are from the Southeast (mainly Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, District of Columbia, and West Virginia), with representative materials from Ohio, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Materials consist of cassette tapes and transcripts of over 230 interviews.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid | Visit the collection in the Virginia Tech Faculty Archives

  • Patrick County, Virginia Oral History Project Records, 1980-1984 (Ms1983-007)
    Jointly built by the Blue Ridge Regional Library and Virginia Tech, this collection explores the theme of "Continuity and Change in a Rural Community" and consists of an assortment of oral history recordings, transcripts, photographs, publicity clippings, program posters, and more.
    This collection is owned by the Virginia Tech Foundation and is on deposit at Special Collections and University Archives.
    Finding Aid

  • Pulaski Theater Oral History Project, 2003-2004 (Ms2004-007)
    This collection focuses on personal recollections of the Pulaski Theater, which operated from 1937 to 1991. Built in 1911, the structure initially hosted concerts and vaudevillian-style entertainment; however, the theater was closed in 1922 and remained a dry goods store until its reopening as a movie theater in 1937 under its new name, "The Pulaski Concerts." The collection consists of recordings and transcripts of oral history interviews conducted in 2003 by April Allen, a then-PhD candidate in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech, with residents and former residents of Pulaski, Virginia who experienced the theater in at least one of its several forms.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public. 
    Finding Aid

  • Robert E. Marshak Papers (Ms1988-060)
    This collection consists of Marshak's files related to the Shelter Island Conferences (1947-49) and the Rochester Conferences on High-Energy Physics (1950-57), which he founded. The papers also include correspondence, notes, reports, files, speech texts, news clippings, autographs, photographs, and other assorted materials. Included among the collection’s materials is a photocopy of an oral history interview done by Charles Weiner (1970). Transcript only.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid

  • Robert R. Gilruth Papers, 1936-1989 (Ms1990-053)
    This collection contains correspondence, notes, memoranda, and other materials related to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Included are transcripts of oral history interviews with Gilruth about the Apollo, Gemini, and Skylab programs as well as general NASA history. Transcripts only.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public. 
    Finding Aid

  • Streeter Blair Oral History Transcript (Ms1975-008)
    This transcript from a 23-hour oral history interview of American primitive artist Streeter Blair, conducted by Elizabeth I. Dixon and Donald J. Schippers (under the auspices of the Oral History Program of the University of California Los Angeles), focuses on Blair's youth and education in Kansas as well as his careers in education, advertising, and art. Containing more than 800 pages and several illustrations, the transcript is divided into two volumes and is fully indexed. A small collection of Blair-related printed materials accompanies the transcript and includes a brochure for a 1967 Blair retrospective exhibition. Transcript only.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid

  • Talking About Work Oral History Interview Project, 2008-2011 (Ms2012-005)
    This collection consists of oral history interviews conducted by the students of a series of Introduction to American Studies classes led by Professor Emily Satterwhite between 2008 and 2011. Students asked interviewees, who typically work(ed) on or near the Virginia Tech campus, about the particular needs and challenges inherent to their relative occupations. Collected materials include recordings, photographs, and student papers produced in association with the project.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid

  • United Daughters of the Confederacy, Dr. Harvy Black Chapter Records (Ms1990-050)
    This collection contains the records of the Dr. Harvy Black Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Included among these materials is a single cassette tape containing an oral history interview with Bernice Willard.
    Currently, restrictions allow only on-site use of this oral history interview.
    Finding Aid

  • Virginia Tech Black History Oral History Collection (Ms2003-011)
    This collection consists of oral history interviews conducted by University Archivist Tamara Kennelly with several African-American individuals whose personal experiences at Virginia Tech helped shape the history of the University and of the New River Valley.
    Currently, restrictions allow only on-site use of some oral histories in this collection.
    Finding Aid | Visit the digital collection at SCUA Online

  • Virginia Tech LGBTQ Oral History Collection (Ms2015-007)
    Beginning in the fall of 2014, faculty and students in the Virginia Tech History Department, along with colleagues in the University Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives, and campus partners including HokiePRIDE, the LGBT Faculty/Staff Caucus, and the Ex Lapide Society (the LGBTQ alumni network at VT) began collecting oral histories to document the history of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer life in the 20th century American South and specifically at Virginia Tech.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public. 
    Finding Aid | Visit the digital collection at SCUA Online

  • VT Stories Oral History Collection (Ms2016-015)
    The VT Stories Oral History Project is an on-going effort to collect and examine stories, memories, tall tales, tragedies, and triumphs of all members of the Hokie community to help us know our shared history and to make sense of it. At the heart of the project is Hokies interviewing Hokies—largely student-staffed and trained by oral historians, interviewers engage with VT Alumni to learn their histories and to make mentoring connections that go beyond the student experience.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public. 
    Finding Aid | Visit the digital collection at SCUA Online

  • W. Dale Parker Papers (Ms1989-093)
    This collection contains correspondence, memorabilia, printed materials, photographs, scrapbooks, and other materials from the life of W. Dale Parker, management specialist on NASA’s Project Gemini, General Motors plant engineer, General Dynamics management specialist, writer, businessman, self-described political consultant, expert on human relations, and genius. Included in the collection is a self-directed oral history. Transcript only.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public. 
    Finding Aid

  • Warren Strother Collection (Ms2004-005)
    This collection consists of official university correspondence, over 300 oral history recordings, and nearly 50 transcripts. The oral history interviews were conducted between 1988 and 1992 and primarily concern the T. Marshall Hahn presidency (1962-1975) at Virginia Tech. These materials were used by Strother and Professor Peter Wallenstein of the History Department at Virginia Tech in writing From VPI to State University: President T. Marshall Hahn, Jr. and the Transformation of Virginia Tech, 1962-1974.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid

  • Washington County Oral History Transcripts (Ms2015-023)
    Compiled by four Abingdon High School students, these transcripts detail interviews with Washington County residents Evelyn Campbell, Emma Josephine Poland Surber, and Nancy Johnson. Among the topics discussed are childhood activities and fashion, schooling, desegregation, inflation, and the proliferation of automobiles. Transcripts only.
    Currently, restrictions allow only on-site use of the oral histories in this collection.
    Finding Aid

  • Women's Biography Project Records (Ms1995-028)
    This collection contains interviews conducted by the students of Professor Kathleen W. Jones of the Department of History at Virginia Tech with women from the local community. Materials consist of recordings, transcripts, and student papers produced in association with the interviews.
    This collection is open for research, with the exception of some restricted materials not available to the public.
    Finding Aid