Oral History Committee Annual Report 2018

submitted by Therese Dickman, Chair

Current Roster

  • Therese Dickman, Chair (2021)
  • Melissa Wertheimer, Ex officio
  • Marci Cohen (2020)
  • Elwood “Woody” Colahan (2021)
  • Robert DeLand (2022)
  • Kathleen Haefliger (2020)
  • Mallory Sajewski (2019)
  • Daryll Stevens (2020)
  • Treshani Perera (2020)
  • Sara Wallace (2022)
  • Lynne Weber (2021)

List of Previous Goals and Progress Made

  • Strengthen MLA’s Oral History Archives
  • $300 requested in travel funds to facilitate gathering new in-person oral history interviews.
    • Funded. Funds to be distributed equitably among OHC member interviewers and/or Interviewees. Travel fund requests will be reviewed by all OHC members before being distributed.
  • $265 requested to purchase a Zoom Q2n videorecorder and accompanying materials to facilitate gathering high quality video recordings of future oral history project interviews.
    • A Zoom Q2n videorecorder was approved for Katie Buehner to purchase (as she requested the same equipment!) and share to videorecord/stream MLA and MLA chapter meetings and oral history interviews.
  • Marci Cohen interviewed former MLA President, Laura Dankner in conjunction with the NEMLA chapter meeting.
    • The interview will be transcribed and prepared and an article prepared for a future issue of the MLA Newsletter.
  • Sara Wallace participated in a Pacific Northwest Chapter oral history  interview (June 2018).
  • Mallory Sajewski transcribed an interview of Eva Judd O’Meara (conducted October 6, 1979).
    • The audio file was shared by Ruthann McTyre (Yale University) with the membership in June 2017. The transcript will be shared in a forthcoming MLA Newsletter issue.
  • A program session entitled, St. Louis Black Musicians Speak: Our Lives Matter! was proposed and sponsored by the OHC.

    • If approved, Therese Dickman (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville) will feature selected stories from St. Louis area black musicians who participated in the National Ragtime and Jazz Archive oral history project during the 1980s. The second session would feature, Brian T. Owens, a professional soul singer from Ferguson, Missouri. He and his band created the music CD, Soul of Ferguson. Owens would be interviewed by Rob DeLand and may perform a few music selections.

List of Future Goals

  • To be proactive in identifying potential interviewees. OHC members currently strive to interview former MLA Presidents, MLA Citation Awardees and others who have contributed significantly to MLA.
  • To work directly with local MLA Chapter to archive their stories in a timely manner. The OHC chair will contact all the MLA chapter presidents to encourage the gathering of oral history interviews, and assisted by the MLA Archivist, provide guidance as to the process of doing so.
  • Make existing MLA oral history project interviews available in either audio or transcript form to the MLA membership and general public. The chair and Woody Colahan will work with the web master and OA editor to design webpages that provide the structure and support needed to post approved and completed oral history transcripts and audio files. Computer and web knowledge, guidance and support are vital to the success of this goal. The above points utilize new technology to gather enhanced interviews, and to redesign existing OHC webpages to provide a “hub” to gather and link to available MLA and chapter oral history interview content.