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The Oral History Center at the University of Louisville


Collection : The Oral History Center at the University of Louisville
Date/Extent : 1968-present (bulk: 1978-present), 1,300 interviews
Description : The Oral History Center at the University of Louisville is housed within the University Archive and Record Center and is one of the two active programs in Kentucky. With over thirteen thousand interviews already conducted, the process of interviewing and transcribing is ongoing and is divided into nine subject areas. Approximately 135 tapes cover arts-related oral histories including Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Louisville Orchestra, photographers, and the performing arts. Recent projects include documentation of early blues musicians in Louisville and ten interviews with noted naturalist, author, and artist Harlan Hubbard. Included in the business interviews are about 340 tapes relating to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the distilling industry in Kentucky, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and miscellaneous business topics. Also present is a recent project on de-industrialization in Louisville. Education is represented with 375 interviews concerning the University of Louisville’s history, public schools, Jefferson County school integration, and the Art Therapy Association. The ethnic communities in Louisville oral history group includes interviews about the history of the African American community, with a specific focus on the civil rights movement; interviews with activist Anne Braden; a series relating to racism in Kentucky; and numerous interviews documenting the Louisville Jewish community. This group is composed of approximately 440 tapes. This Kentucky oral history group encompasses 120 taped interviews relating to state history, landmarks, politics, the Prohibition era, the Great Depression, the horse industry, religion, mountain life, farm life, and Big Sing Day in Benton in western Kentucky. A Louisville group includes about 465 tapes of interviews covering politics, the Housing Authority of Louisville, Senior House, the telephone industry, labor, floods and natural disasters, immigration, and the history of Louisville’s many neighborhoods. A large number of local organizations including the League of Women Voters, the Bernheim Foundation, Family and Children’s Agency, the Louisville Free Public Library, male social organizations, and the Kentucky Federation of Women’s Clubs are included in a group of approximately 225 tapes. Women and public life interviews include about eighty-five tapes of prominent women politicians, attorneys, judges, and a wide range of other occupations. Recent accessions include a series of interviews with early women lawyers in Kentucky. A final group of eighty tapes comprises a war oral history group of tapes with interviews with veterans. Most of the interviews concern the Vietnam War, but a few relate to World War II, the Korean War, and World War I.
Repository : University Archives