The George Mason University Oral History Program (OHP)

The practice of oral history involves collecting, recording, and documenting a person's memories and life experiences that are largely absent from the written record.  Oral histories add richness and personal perspective to the history of an individual or an organization.

The Oral History Program staff records and preserves oral histories primarily of members of the Mason community, which include faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the university. These interviews capture unique personal perspectives about the creation, development, and growth of the university.

The program staff also interviews friends of and donors to the University Libraries, whose lives and careers are documented in collections held in SC&A.

Since the establishment of the OHP in 1999, the staff has continuously contacted individuals that can contribute to this ongoing historical documentation program.
Since then, the program has conducted nearly 200 interviews, focused mainly on George Mason University's history. Encompassing every possible type of member of the university community, from past university presidents to former students, the interviews contain a wide range of voices and perspectives.

SC&A maintains several collections of oral histories on a variety of subjects. Though most are available only through audio or video recordings, there are transcripts available for some of the recordings. To find out more about oral history collections in SC&A and how to access them, please contact SC&A at speccoll@gmu.edu.

To find out more about the George Mason University Oral History Program, please contact the Oral History Program Coordinator at ohp@gmu.edu.

Below are brief segments taken from oral history interviews in SC&A's holdings.

A sample interview segment from the Works Progress Oral History Collection. Playwright Paul Green speaks regarding his association with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor.

A sample
interview segment from the George Mason University Oral History Project Collection. Long-time Reston resident Catherine Baum remembers her first visit in 1966 to the famous planned community in Northern Virgina.

A sample interview segment from the George Mason University Oral History Project Collection. Former George Mason University Men's Basketball Head Coach Jim Larranaga talks about motivating his team during the NCAA tournament in 2006.

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