Oral History Program
Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
425 Steenbock Memorial Library
550 Babcock Drive
Madison, WI 53706
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Oral History Project was established as a division of the University Archives in 1971. Its initial charge was to interview prominent emeritus faculty members about their research and careers at the University. Over the years, the Project's scope has expanded to include interviews with campus administrators, staff, and students as well as faculty. Taken individually, these interviews reflect the careers and interests of the interviewees; taken collectively they constitute a narrative of the development of the University over time. As such, they form an invaluable part of the historical record of the University in its century-and-a-half of existence.
The Oral History Project's collection currently encompasses over 600 interviews touching on all aspects of the University's history. Approximately 1/3 of them were conducted as a part of special series covering subjects such as the Teaching Assistants Strike of 1970, the UW Merger, the Arboretum, and printmaking at UW since World War II. Other significant historical themes run through many of the interviews, including the Depression, the return of the GIs after World War II, the protests against the Vietnam War, academic freedom, and gender and race issues.
Most of the interviews were conducted by campus oral historians Stephen Lowe (1971), Donna Taylor Hartshorne (1972-82), Laura Smail (1976-88), Barry Teicher (1989-2005), Sandy Pfahler (2005-2008), Roberts Lange (2005-2010), and Troy Reeves (2007-present).