Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Stories: Oral Histories and Interviews

A guide to oral histories and interviews in Archives and Special Collections at Davidson College.

Contents of this Guide

The Oral History Association (OHA) defines oral history as “a method of recording and preserving oral testimony and the product of that process. It begins with an audio or video recording of a first person account made by an interviewer with an interviewee (also referred to as narrator), both of whom have the conscious intention of creating a permanent record to contribute to an understanding of the past.”

Oral histories are distinct from interviews in that oral histories focus on lengthy testimonies on past events rather than purely contemporary experiences, as well as the form's emphasis on the "narrator as expert." In an oral history interview, you are asking questions to further the narrator's dialog and personal realizations rather than only accumulating information you deem relevant.

Archives and Special Collections has many oral histories and interviews in its collection and this guides is a resource for showcasing some of these materials, as well as archival and library resources related to oral history practices. 

This guide is organized as follows:

If you are interested in accessing these oral histories, please email archives@davidson.edu for assistance.

Audiovisual Catalog

Screenshot of Audiovisual Catalog webpage

For additional oral histories and interviews, please search Archives and Special Collections' Audiovisual Materials Catalog, available here

Relevant search terms include:

  • "Alumni Oral History Interview"
  • "Alumni of Color Interview Project"
  • "Common Ground Oral History"
  • "Oral History Interview"
Questions? Need help? Ask Us
Davidson College Library, Box 7200, 209 Ridge Rd., Davidson, NC 28035-7200
Creative Commons license logo for CC by-sa 4.0
This Davidson College Library Research Guides are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
All box-title icons from Entypo pictograms by Daniel Bruce — www.entypo.com