July 2017

Circuit Oral History Project

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 wellcrafted questions designed to extract a verbal autobiography conveying the life and career of the judge. Such an interview creates valuable primary source material with rare personal insight.
The Court of Appeals branch of the Historical Society of the United States Courts in the Eighth Circuit has undertaken a project to obtain the oral history interviews of all of the circuit judges who have not yet been interviewed and who will reach the age of 70 by 2021. Interviews completed within the last year include Judges David R. Hansen, Diana E. Murphy, Roger L. Wollman, and William Jay Riley. The Historical Society will continue its work and appreciates the support of the Eighth Circuit in preserving the history of its federal courts and judges.
Judge Riley was the subject of the most recent oral history interview, which was conducted by Historical Society Chair Judge Richard G. Kopf of the District of Nebraska. A video and transcript is available on the Historical Society website, here.
For information on how oral histories are made, see the Historical Society’s page on Oral History Resources.