Oral History Collections in University Archives & Special Collections

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston holds a range of oral history and related collections. This page provides information about these different collections and oral history projects.

List of Oral History and Related Collections

Boston School Bus Drivers Union (Local 8751) Oral History Project
Oral history interviews with longtime members of the union, including stewards, former presidents, vice-presidents, and more that explore their experience in organizing the union, desegregation, and the legacy of the Boston School Bus Drivers Union.

Boston Teachers Union Oral History Project
The Boston Teachers Union (BTU), Local 66 of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), represents over 10,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, and retirees in Boston. The union celebrated its 75th Anniversary in Fall 2020. Inspired by the occasion, BTU Secretary-Treasurer Betsy Drinan developed the idea of an in-depth oral history project with BTU leaders, organizers, and members, exploring the lives and labor of educators, the process of union organizing, and how BTU members experienced the evolution of schooling and organizing in Boston over the past seventy-five years. Drinan partnered with Nick Juravich of UMass Boston to launch the BTU Oral History Project in January 2020, with the goal of providing a unique record of teaching and organizing in Boston for future BTU members, as well as for UMass Boston students, scholars, educators, and journalists studying these topics.

Disappeared Children in Argentina: Rita Arditti’s Interviews with the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo
In 1986 Dr. Rita Arditti, an Argentinean college professor living in the United States, learned about the work of the Association of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina. In 1993, Arditti decided to write a book about them in English since the vast majority of information about the organization was available only in Spanish. The book, Searching for Life: The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo and the Disappeared Children of Argentina (1999) was published in both English and Spanish. Most of the interviews posted on this site were conducted in the 1990s and were incorporated into the book.

From Confinement to College: Video Oral Histories of Japanese American Students in World War II
Video oral histories with Japanese Americans who were students during World War II and their first-hand accounts of being incarcerated and leaving internment camps to attend college. These interviews also document the impact that these students’ wartime experiences had on their later commitments to certain causes and organizations such as the NSRCF (Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund).

Linda Eisenmann: University of Massachusetts Boston Oral History Project, 1998
In the fall semester of 1998, 13 students in the Higher Education Administration Doctoral programs at the University of Massachusetts Boston, under the direction of Professor Linda Eisenmann, completed a series or oral history interviews with founding faculty members at UMass Boston.

Local 201 Oral History Project
In celebration of their ninetieth anniversary, Local 201 partnered with UMass Boston to launch an oral history project in January of 2023.

Neighborhood Voices: Stories of the Families of the Dudley Street Neighborhood of Boston
Neighborhood Voices is an oral history project of Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) that engages young and middle-aged adults in capturing their African-American, Latino, Cape Verdean and White elder’s multi-lingual stories of the Dudley Street neighborhood of Roxbury and North Dorchester in the decades following World War II.

New England and the Irish Language: Fifty Years of Cultural Connection in Oral History
New England and the Irish Language, formerly called Boston and the Irish Language, investigates the unique importance of Irish in forming persistent bonds among and between Connemara emigrants living in New England with their families and communities in Ireland through recorded personal interviews.

Oral History and the Veteran Experience: Interviews with Medal of Honor Recipients
These interviews with Medal of Honor recipients were conducted in 2015 by student interviewers from the University of Massachusetts Boston course, “Oral History and the Veteran Experience” under the direction of Professor Erin Anderson.

Robert C. Hayden interviews with Boston African American railroad workers, 1977-1991
Robert C. Hayden interviewed thirty-two retired Boston African American railroad workers over a period of two years (1988-1989) as background research for a special permanent exhibition at the MBTA Back Bay Station commemorating A. Philip Randolph and Boston’s African American railroad workers. This collection consists of typed transcripts of twenty-seven of the oral history interviews. The transcripts appear to be first drafts. Some drafts indicate the date of the interviews, which appear to have been conducted primarily in 1988 and 1989.

South End Oral History Project
In 2018, interviews were conducted by students from the University of Massachusetts Boston as part of a course taught by Professor Maria John, initially looking at the Bancroft School in the South End neighborhood of Boston. This evolved into the larger South End Oral History Project, which as of 2023 includes more than 40 interviews.

South End Seniors, Neighborhood History, Zoom Sessions, 2020-2021
The South End Seniors is an informally organized, unincorporated association of senior citizens in Boston’s South End devoted to information sharing and discussion both in person and online. The association had been in existence in one form or another for approximately ten years and had been holding weekly in-person meetings until the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020. The group resumed its weekly meetings via Zoom and in late 2020 convened a secondary round of meetings called “ZoomRoom” devoted to, among other specialized areas, exploring South End history and featuring presentations by members with interest and expertise in specific areas such as housing, immigration, ethnicity, art and literature, education, and architecture.