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UF to Collaborate with Library of Congress on Veterans’ Oral Histories

The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida will begin working with the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project to archive the experiences of Florida’s veterans since World War II.

All oral histories of war veterans that the program collects will be sent to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., as well as stored in the archives at the George A. Smathers Libraries at UF. The Library of Congress will create a website with a short audio biography for each veteran with detailed information about his or her service. The Veterans History Project became law in 2000 with unanimous support from Congress.

According to longtime SPOHP volunteer Ann Smith, the collaboration benefits UF as well as the Library of Congress because using each other’s resources will increase the number of veterans’ oral histories and also make them more accessible to the public.

“I am a hearty proponent of the collection of World War II oral histories because they provide the most vivid, personal stories of men and women sharing the full range of human emotions experiencing patriotism, anger, love, inadequacy, grace and many more,” Smith said. “Their individual challenges with their life in the military during wartime is a lesson in the human condition at every level.”

The program currently features approximately 200 oral history interviews with veterans from World War II and other wars.

Robert H. Zieger, distinguished professor of history emeritus, said he was delighted to learn of SPOHP’s collaboration with the Library of Congress in the collection, processing, and dissemination of U.S. military veterans’ oral histories.

“Having worked closely with the program for several years and having done some interviewing of World War II veterans, I am well aware of its unique holdings and of how imaginatively they have been used in educational and public programs,” Zieger said. “It is particularly important now to capture and to bring to the attention of students and other citizens the remembrances of World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans while the opportunity to do so is available.”

David R. Colburn, provost and senior vice president emeritus, has also worked with the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program for several years.

“As a Vietnam veteran and a professor in our history department, I was concerned that the record of this nation’s involvement in military conflicts since 1940 and the commitment and experiences of veterans would be lost to this generation and subsequent generations of students if we did not pursue efforts like this to preserve them,” he said. “It has been a personal privilege to assist the Oral History Program in conducting these interviews with the veterans during the past two years in order to secure that history.”

Additional information about the Veterans History Project is available on its website, http://www.loc.gov/vets/.

For more information about the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, visit its website at http://web.history.ufl.edu/oral/ or call 352-392-7168.

 

Credits

Writer

Katelyn McKey

Source

Paul Ortiz , portiz@ufl.edu, 352-392-7168

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2014 Turlington Hall
P.O Box 117300
Gainesville FL 32611
P: 352.392.0780
F: 352.392.3584