Throwback Thursday looks at a busy 1984…

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 1984…

President: Collum Davis, Sangamom State University (now University of Illinois Springfield)
Site of the Annual Colloquium: Lexington, Kentucky
Newsletter: Tom Charlton, editor; L. Katherine Cook, Adelaide S. Darling, Rebecca S. Jiménez, Margaret L. S. Miller, associates
Editorial office: Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Annual individual membership: $15


USS Guam, involved in 1983 invasion of Grenada

Highlights of the year from the Oral History Association Newsletter

  • Marine Corps Oral Historian Ben Frank recounts his odyssey to Granada to interview members of the Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU). Awakened by a phone call from the director of the Command Center at Headquarters Marine Corps and told he was shipping out that day to Grenada, he traveled for two days to reach the island and began interviewing right way. In total, Frank conducted 36 interviews over a month’s time and came home impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the troops. Of his stay on the USS Guam, Frank said, “I was the oldest Marine present. I probably was the oldest individual in the whole damn flotilla!”
  • The Newsletter included an article by John Neuenschwander on a decision handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit which narrowly construed the scope of copyright protection available to works of history and “refused in this instance to extend copyright protection to published interview material.” However, the copyright status or oral history was at best a secondary issue in this case, and Neuenschwander reported that registration of oral history interviews would continue at the U.S. Copyright Office and advised oral historians to stick with established procedures.
  • The NEH, Ford Foundation, and private grants will expand a study of Iranian history by the Harvard University Center for Middle Eastern Studies.A five-year project to document the contemporary political history of Iran will ultimately include more than 150 individuals who observed and participated in important national events and decisions.

Who we were interviewing in 1984…

Dorothy Tod of Vermont — wives of Vietnam vets in Vermont about their experiences living with and caring about men haunted by memories of the war.

Girl Scouts of Philadelphia — senior scouts, ages 15-17, were trained to interview scouts with 20 to 60 years involvement in scouting. Included in the interviews was the 1933 cookie sale: Philadelphia was the site of the first organized cookie fundraiser.

New England Ski Museum — sixty-three interviews showing the values attached to skiing before 1940 and the development of the organized sport.

Mary Ann Johnson, administrator of Jane Addams’ Hull House — people related to the center from its founding in 1889 until Addams’ death in 1935.

Archive of American Minority Cultures, University of Alabama — Birmingham residents on life in the New South city before World War II, the industrial work place, unionism, church, and community institutions. The staff for the thirteen-part public radio series, called “Working Lives,” included project director Brenda McCallum and production consultant Cliff Kuhn.


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