Throwback Thursday highlights 1978

Follow our weekly series, Throwback Thursday, designed to help celebrate 50 years of OHA. We’ll profile a year in the life of the organization each week with photos, logos, and highlights taken from the Oral History Association Newsletter. We welcome your memories, photos, and comments at

OHA in 1978…


Ron Marcello, University of North Texas, OHA Executive Secretary
(Archive of the University of North Texas)

President: Waddy W. Moore, University of Central Arkansas
Site of the Annual Colloquium: Savannah, Georgia
Newsletter: Tom Charlton, editor; Adelaide Darling, Margaret Miller, David Stricklin, and Philip Thompson, associate editors
Editorial office: Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Annual individual membership: $10

Highlights of the year from the Oral History Association newsletter

  • OHA President Waddy Moore, in his editorial in the Spring ’78 newsletter, remarked that he believed the organization had entered its second stage of self analysis. “In the earlier years we were preoccupied with the what and the how of oral history. After thirteen years of sharing and contrasting what we do and how we do it we have turned the proverbial corner and are moving significantly forward by raising deeper philosophical and theoretical questions about oral history.” He pointed to the recently established oral history program evaluation committee and the increased attention to standards and credibility as evidence of this new phase.
  • NASA oral history work was the subject of a feature article in the Summer issue. Veteran historian James Grimwood analyzed documents and found an “unevenness” in the source material provided by the space agency. “In a classic example of using oral history to fill gaps in the written record, Grimwood began to do specific topical interviews during his work on the Mercury project history.” He was surprised how easy it was to find project participants.  “People came out of the walls to talk to us.”
  • The Fall issue of the newsletter reported on the role of oral history in the women’s rights movement. “After beginning with studies of women prominent in politics and academics, interviewing in recent years has shed light on less prominent working women and on feminism itself.” The article discussed ongoing projects and the Colloquium screening of With Babies and Banners: Story of the Women’s Emergency Brigade, a forty-five minute documentary film on the 1937 sit-down strike at the General Motors plant in Flint, Michigan, and the roles of the working women and wives and mothers of the strikers.

Who were we interviewing in 1978?

  • Samuel Floyd of Southern Illinois University — some of the thousands of black musicians who entered three camps of the Great Lakes Naval Training Center during World War II who were formed into some the best concert, military, and swing bands of the War, called the “Great Lakes Experience.”
  • American Institute of Physics, Center for History of Physics — individuals active in the world of physics, astronomy, industrial science and computer science.
  • The Eleanor Roosevelt Oral History Project — over 100 people connected to Roosevelt’s life and work.
  • Center for Southern Folklore — documenting the rapidly disappearing folk traditions and ways of the South by interviewing people about music, crafts, religion, and occupations.

Check back next week for highlights of 1979…


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