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Blog Posts by Subject: Oral history

A People's History of Harlem: Celebrating Its Launch!

As NYPL's oral history projects continue... we've launched our oral history project in Harlem at 115th Street Library!Read More ›

Memory Circles Bring History to Life at Jefferson Market Library

Jefferson Market Library was alive with the energy of storytelling last Thursday, March 13th as storytellers and interviewers for the Greenwich Village Oral History Project took over the library. It was an evening of Memory Circles, or recorded group oral histories, in which participants talked with each other about their shared recollections on particular Greenwich Village themes.Read More ›

Oral History Project celebration Saturday May 10th

Do you like to meet new people? Are you a good listener? Maybe you are passionate about local history, or the arts, or politics. If any of these describe you, allow me to introduce an exciting new project at the 115th Street Library. Read More ›

I Heard It Through The Grapevine: Reliving the History of Greenwich Village with Author John Strausbaugh

“Greenwich Village is so steeped in history, there are literally a bazillion stories of this, the most famous neighborhood in the world. Coming together in this tiny spec of real estate, people bounced off each other to become the cultural center of the country and the world. I could have written 6 books on this topic,” said Strausbaugh in his opening remarks at Jefferson Market Library.Read More ›

Greenwich Village Oral History Project: Celebrating Its Launch

On Thursday, January 16 a group of storytellers, interviewers and library staff gathered at Jefferson Market Library to celebrate the launch of Your Village, Your Story: Greenwich Village Oral History Project. On Thursday's kick-off event, the room was full of energy and with 30 oral histories collected already, there was plenty to celebrate!Read More ›

Zora Neale Hurston and the Depression-Era Federal Writers' Project

In 1933, the US government established the first of many New Deal projects and initiatives. Four years later, in September 1937, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston was published in New York. The connection between the two? While many readers know of the novel's seminal status (it has been one of the most lauded—and

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Vietnam Veterans Panel on November 5th: Opening Remarks

Above, left to right: Everett Cox, Joan Furey, Earl Jacobson, Philip Napoli. Photo credit: Alexandra Kelly, NYPL

The following post was written by guest blogger, Philip F. Napoli. Mr. Napoli moderated our November 5th Vietnam Veterans Panel at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building's South Court Auditorium. He is the author of Bringing it All Back Home: An Oral History of New York City's Vietnam 

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Your Village, Your Story: Jefferson Market's Greenwich Village Oral History Project Begins

On Thursday, November 14, twelve volunteer interviewers sat in a circle in the first floor auditorium at Jefferson Market Library having a dynamic conversation about the nature of memory, open interview questions, and the history of Greenwich Village. This was the first of several volunteer interviewer orientations for Your Village, Your Story: Greenwich Village Oral History Project.

"Why are you interested in this project?" I asked everyone in attendance as an introductory question. Some people were there because 

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Veterans Tell Their Own Stories: Fall 2013 Veterans Programming

At our first Fall 2013 veterans' program at NYPL, veterans from several different generations and branches of services told their own stories, responding to the mainstream media depiction of veterans and military life. This panel was entitled Our Stories To Tell and is the first event in a series of events this Fall 2013 that are collaboratively produced by veterans around New York City as they tell their own stories to both veterans and civilians as a way to fill in the  

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Our Stories To Tell: Veterans Tell Their Own Stories at NYPL Panel

Captain Kristin Rouse describes several news headlines that are problematic in their depiction of veterans and military life.Last Tuesday, October 15th, several generations of American war veterans spoke at the Our Stories to Tell panel at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building's South Court Auditorium, the first panel in the New York Veteran History Series. The panel was produced in collaboration with StoryCorps Military Voices Initiative and was an opportunity for veterans to share their personal military experiences and discuss how 

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Bronx Library Center Hosts Veterans Support Event

On September 26th the Bronx Library Center hosted an event to celebrate and support veterans with disabilities. This inspiring day helped connect veterans to services in their community. The participating organizations tabled and were invited to speak about their programs. Library staff and volunteers were able to conduct oral history interviews for the NYC Veterans Oral History Project.

One of the organizations featured was the

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NYC Veterans Oral History Project Records Stories on Staten Island

Last Saturday, the NYC Veterans Oral History Project was on Staten Island for a morning of interviews with Korean War veterans. Several volunteers made it out to Staten Island to record these stories in the amazing Adult Learning Center at St. George Library.

Volunteer Tom Reichert Interviews Colonel Paul Dietrich"I'm doing this because sometimes the Korean War is left out of history classes. It's important for people of all generations to know what happened," said Dominick Conti, a Korean War 

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Lamine Thiam's Dance Oral History Interview

Lamine Thiam teaching dance classThis past spring in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, we were very pleased to produce an inspiring Oral History Project interview with Lamine Thiam. A world-renowned dancer, choreographer, drummer and actor, Mr. Thiam specializes in West African Dance from his native Sénégal and neighboring countries. We digitally filmed Carolyn Webb's interview with Mr. Thiam, so that it is now among the first dance videos to 

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Veterans Oral History Project: Get Involved

Alexandria McIntosh tells Herbert Sweat her life story as Mr. Sweat practices his interviewing skills.Last Thursday, six new volunteer interviewers for the NYC Veterans Oral History Project met at Mid-Manhattan Library to learn about the project and discuss best practices. Several volunteers have family members who were in the military and plan to interview them so that their stories are preserved for future generations.

Alexandria McIntosh, entering the 11th grade this upcoming Fall, plans 

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Learning History in a New Way: Veteran Interviews

How much do you know about World War II? The Korean War? The Vietnam War? Or what about Operation Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom? What if you had the ability to listen to first-hand accounts about these wars from the men and women who served our country?

Well you're in luck because The New York Public Library is currently collecting oral histories of veterans in the New York City area. Once an interview is conducted, we put it on our website and then send a copy to the Library of Congress for their Veteran History 

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Recording the Life of a Dancer

An oral history interview is a lot more than just any old conversation or sound recording. Although the definition of oral history is dynamic, it usually refers to the collecting of individual histories, according to specific ethical and methodological guidelines, and the responsible preservation and archiving of those recordings. While human history has been collected and shared orally for thousands of years, oral history as a modern organized activity is said to date only to 1948 when Allan Nevins began the now highly respected

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Discovering Dance Lineages Through Oral Histories

Next week (on October 24, 26 and 27, 2012) I have the honor of performing at the Museum of Modern Art's Marron Atrium in Voluntaries by choreographer Dean Moss and visual artist, Laylah Ali. These performances are part of MoMA's Some sweet day dance exhibition series. Voluntaries examines the legacy of John Brown, a white abolitionist who attempted 

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The Speaking of Dancing Project

In the interview excerpt above, New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay discusses the challenges of writing about dance, using examples of moments in the ballets Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty that made profound impressions on him.

The theme of interpretation—in essence, how movement creates meaning—goes to the heart of dance as an art form. Interpretation comes center stage in Speaking of Dancing, a new series of interviews recorded by the

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