Throwback to ’88! A look back…

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 1988…


In 1988, Friends of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial launched an oral history project

President: Ronald J. Grele, Columbia University
Site of the Annual Meeting: Baltimore, Maryland
Newsletter: Jaclyn Jeffrey, editor
Editorial office: Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Annual individual membership: $20

Highlights of the year from the OHA Newsletters:

  • OHA welcomed Richard Candida Smith as the new Executive Secretary of the Association, and OHA headquarters moved to the Oral History Program at UCLA’s Powell Library.
  • Thomas Charlton made the case for the OHA endowment fund, stating that “now is the time for more than a few good oral historians to come to the aid of their association.” From its modest start in 1988 with just over $6,000, the endowment has grown to more than $390,000 in 2016. Let’s keep it growing!
  • In his welcome to the 23rd annual meeting, Ron Grele wrote: “Since its inception, oral history in the United States has been both a movement and a historical methodology. As a movement, it finds it fullest expression in the many local and community history projects throughout the country; as a methodology, in the growth and maturation of the OHA. At times each has gone its own way. At other times the two have met with startlingly original and creative results. The program this year, I think, represents one of these moments of meeting.” The theme in 1988 was “Community History, Multiculturalism, and People of Color.”

Who we were interviewing in 1988…

  • Friends of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial — remembrances of the persons whose names are engraved on the wall of the monument.
  • Minnesota Historical Society — surviving activists and radicals involved in Minnesota’s labor, farm, ethnic, and political movements and in the arts and cultural life of the state.
  • The Blues Archive, a branch of the J.D. Williams Library at the University of Mississippi, and Media Productions International (MPI) of Memphis — artists on the history of the blues leading to a series of radio programs called The Original Down Home Blues Show.

Check back next week for 1989…



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