Eighth Circuit Historical Society

The Historical Society of the United States Courts in the Eighth Circuit

Oral History Resources

What is oral history?


Oral history is a method of collecting and preserving the voices, memories, and commentaries of persons through recorded interviews and transcriptions.

A judicial oral history uses well-crafted questions designed to extract a verbal autobiography conveying the life and career of the judge. Such an interview can document valuable primary source material with rare personal insight.

    Oral History collects memories and personal commentaries of historical significance through recorded interviews. An oral history interview generally consists of a well-prepared interviewer questioning an interviewee and recording their exchange in audio or video format. Recordings of the interview are transcribed, summarized, or indexed and then placed in a library or archives. These interviews may be used for research or excerpted in a publication, radio or video documentary, museum exhibition, dramatization or other form of public presentation. Recordings, transcripts, catalogs, photographs and related documentary materials can also be posted on the Internet.

    -- Donald Ritchie, Doing Oral History





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