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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Library of Congress Cultural History Resources

Monday April 27th will find us in Eau Claire at the UW sponsored Wisconsin Oral History Day. This is part of our preparation for a library project to conduct oral history interviews here in Boscobel and gather peoples' stories about going to school in a One Room School House.

Collecting oral histories has provided Americans with countless portraits of each other and our communities. The WPA writer's projects in the 1930's engrained these kinds of stories as part of our American tradition and captured powerful recollections about everyday life in our culture.

There are many, many resources available online to learn more about this, among them the Library of Congress "American Memory" project is one of the most interesting. Have a look at the American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project 1936- 1940. To quote the website,

"These life histories were compiled and transcribed by the staff of the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers' Project for the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) from 1936-1940. The Library of Congress collection includes 2,900 documents representing the work of over 300 writers from 24 states".

The Voices from the Thirties: An Introduction to the WPA Life Histories Collection is a good introduction to the kind of work and vivid portraints these projects are capable of producing. For other resources, click on the Delicious tag link at the very bottom of this page that looks like this: oral_history

If this grabs your interest and you'd like to get involved with our library's oral history project or if you know someone with memories to share about going to a one room school house, by all means stop by the library or call us at 375-5723. We'd love to hear your story.

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