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Stories: Oral Histories and Interviews

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


The Justice, Equality, Community (JEC) grant was a three-year, campus-wide initiative to support increased transdisciplinary engagement with issues of race, gender, religion, and social justice across the humanities at Davidson College between 2017 and 2020. Archives and Special Collections received a portion of this grant that has led to the digitization and development of digital "archival resources related to research and teaching in justice, equality, community beginning with the issues of race and religion" with the goal of inspiring original research, critical dialogues, and community partnerships. Through this grant, Archives and Special Collections was able to digitize many oral histories in our collection and increase access to these materials. For more information about this grant, please visit the "Justice, Equality, Community Initiative" research guide (linked here). 

Digitized Materials

Below is a selection of oral histories from Archives and Special Collections that have been digitized through the JEC grant. For more information about these materials, including access, please email

Audio 2: Davidson History, Miss Newtie Deal Johnston, 1976

Subjects: Davidson, NC History  

Audio 4: Davidson History, Miss Louise Withers Sloan, 1976                       

Subjects: Davidson, NC History  

Audio 7: Davidson History, Mrs. Dell Arbuckle Logan, Mrs. Letitia Currie, Mrs. Lucy Johnston, 1976

Subjects: Davidson, NC History  

Audio 107: Common Ground Oral History/Project, Patricia Sailstad, 04/01/1997                     

Subjects: Davidson, NC – History, Race Relations

Audio 112: Common Ground - Mary Potts, Sarah Jetton, Frances Houston Beale, Mary Louise Brawley Ivey, 09/15/1997                 

Subjects: Davidson, NC - History, Davidson, NC - Churches           

Audio 152: Oral History/Interview, Marion Cole, Barbara Gammon, Jan Blodgett, 10/12/2000                     

Subjects: Davidson, NC

Audio 163: Oral History/Interview, Frank Vinson, Aileen Vinson, 08/27/2002             

Subjects: Davidson, NC - First Baptist Church      

Audio 166: Oral History/Interview, Theodore Roosevelt Wilson, 09/20/2002                            

Subjects: Davidson, NC - Race Relations

Audio 177: Alumni Oral History Interview - John Knox Wilson, September 2004             

Subjects: Davidson College, Davidson, NC            

Audio 276: Alumni Oral History Interview - Samuel R. Spencer, 09/30/2005                            

Subjects: Davidson, NC 

Audio 278: Alumni Oral History Interview - Art Lesesne '61, 04/28/2006 

Subjects: Davidson, NC 

Audio 279: Alumni Oral History Interview – Hollis “Hobby” Cobb '56, 04/28/2006       

Subjects: Davidson, NC, Davidson College      

Related Manuscript Collections

Manuscript materials are largely unpublished documents such as diaries, letters, speeches and sermons. The collections may be about an individual, a family, or a group. The majority of our collections relate to students and alumni of Davidson College and to civic organizations in the town of Davidson, North Carolina.

Listed below are relevant collections related to the oral histories listed above. Collections are organized by manuscript number, along with a brief description of the collection's contents, and are hyperlinked to the collection's digital finding aid.

Samuel Reid Spencer, Jr. Collection (DC007)

Description: Dr. Samuel R. Spencer Jr. attended Davidson College and graduated summa cum laude in 1940. He served in the Army from 1940-1945 and later began working at Davidson as Assistant to the President from 1951-1954. Spencer served the college in various positions, including Dean of Students, Professor of History, and the 14th President of Davidson College from 1968-1983. This collection includes biographical information, correspondence, literary material, appointment books, printed material and photographs. 

Common Ground, Records, 1995 - (DC056)

Description: Common Ground formed in August 1995 with the purpose of "promoting communication and understanding, and improve relations among people of all races in Davidson." Activities of the group included hosting monthly public meetings, organizing cross-town block parties, hosting candidate forums during election years and providing mediation services. A part of Common Ground, the Community Relations Task Force, was formed at the request of then mayor, Randall Kincaid. Originally a town committee, Common Ground took over the responsibilities of the re-formed Community Relations Task Force in 2001.

Louise Withers Sloan Papers (DC098)

Description: Miss Louise Withers Sloan (1892-1992) grew up in the town of Davidson and spent most of her life here. This collection consists of biographical information, correspondence, school work, financial records, clippings and invitations, and postcards.

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