I am an oral historian based at the Starr Center at Washington College (MD) and am currently working on a World War II oral history project (www.storyquestproject.com) that focuses on the American home front experience. Our center is in the process of expanding the StoryQuest initiative to include community partnerships across the country, which will support new interview projects and digitize pre-existing home front oral histories.
There are still about 7 million Americans old enough to have memories of World War II (2% of the population), but hundreds of thousands of them are dying every year. By 2022, just five years from now, anyone who was an adult during the war will be at least 95 years old, and even those with significant childhood recollections will be at least in their late 80s, with memories fading fast. It is urgent that the memories of these important historical witnesses be recorded and archived before it is too late.
Community partners interested in beginning or growing their interview collections in collaboration with to the StoryQuest World War II Project will have access to equipment recommendations, educational materials, and promotional support. The collected interviews will be maintained by the partners and co-deposited within our project archive, for public access and long-term preservation.
If you already have a pre-existing home front interview project that is in need of an archival home, we are also accepting donations of previously conducted oral histories. We have the capacity to digitize interviews that have been recorded on analog mediums and readily encourage donations of pre-existing collections with secured permissions.
Since 2013, the StoryQuest World War II Oral History Project has recorded over 200 interviews with Mid-Atlantic residents who lived through the war on the American home front. The StoryQuest interviews have been compiled on an interactive website, preserved in a digitally accessible archive, showcased in public exhibitions, and featured in publications by Smithsonian Magazine and National Geographic. We are excited to partner with communities across the country who share a similar sense of passion for intergenerational dialogue and urgency for recording these lesser known stories of WWII.
If you have any questions about the project or referrals to a prospective partner, please reply to this thread or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d also greatly appreciate if you circulate this information widely to your networks and local communities. Thanks for your time and support!
Oral Historian, StoryQuest Program
Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience