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University Libraries - Oral History Collections

Office of Oral History



Rosenwald Schools of South Carolina: An Oral History Exhibit (digital exhibit)

Shivar Spring Company & Tom McConnell: A Shared Story (digital exhibit)

University High School (1932-1966) Oral History Collection (digital exhibit)

This collection consists of thirty-five oral history interviews with former students and teachers who recall their experiences during the high school’s operating years (1932-1966) on the campus of the University of South Carolina. An all-white laboratory school in the Deep South open in the decades just prior to desegregation efforts, the interviews offer insight into racially segregated public education experiences, teacher training schools, and the Columbia, South Carolina community. The project: “Voices from University High: 50 Years Later”, a multidisciplinary collaboration between University Libraries’ Office of Oral History and the College of Education, was awarded the Elizabeth B. Mason Award by the Oral History Association in August of 2017.

1977 International Women’s Year (IWY) Oral History Collection (digital exhibit)

This collection consists of approximately 700 interviews on analog audiocassettes recorded during the 1977 National Women’s Conference in Houston, Texas. The interviews capture issues important to women, and some men, as the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) was being debated throughout the country. The collection also includes interviews recorded during the South Carolina state conference earlier that year.  As part of current grant work, this collection, also housed at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), is being digitized and transcribed by the Office of Oral History, University Libraries, at the University of South Carolina. This exhibit allows full and free access to both the sound recordings and the transcripts of these interviews.

South Caroliniana Library Oral History Collection (catalog record)
A collection of more than 200 oral history interviews and growing, on a variety of topics related to South Carolina history, conducted by Library staff. Subjects include WWII, community histories, civil rights and race relations, USC, education, music, art, railroads, and much more.

Constance Ashton Myers Collection (catalog record)
Women’s Suffrage: oral histories discussing efforts to secure votes for women during the early 20th century.  Activists or their descendants were interviewed on such topics as women's involvement with politics, suffrage, and various other reform movements.

Loretta Dunbar Oral Correspondence Collection (catalog record)
This collections comprises dozens of hours of recorded letters. Loretta Dunbar served in the Peace Corps in West Africa (specifically Nigeria and Ghana) from 1971-1979. It is where she met, fell in love with, and married Scotsman James “Hamish” Dunbar. In these audio-recorded letters Loretta sent to her mother and step-father (Lola & Wesley Kelley), we are offered rare, unguarded glimpses of the daily life and culture of West Africa. It is also a love story, and one that grows as the years pass, mixed with good humor and, on Hamish’s part, a deep Scottish brogue. All recordings and their accompanying transcripts are accessible online.

Margaret J. Gibbs Theus Collection (catalog record)
The interviews explore South Carolina people and culture as part of Professor Theus’s Cultural Journalism class, 1979-1983.

Tom Crosby Collection (catalog record)
African-American education in South Carolina during segregation: interviews primarily focus on Rosenwald schools, Allen University and sports at Sims High School in Union County, South Carolina.

Amelia Wallace Vernon Collection and Finding Aid (catalog record)
More than 85 oral histories form the basis of the book: African Americans at Mars Bluff, South Carolina (1993).  The bulk of interviews took place between 1977-1998, but the collection continues to grow with twelve interviews added in 2011.

More oral histories are held at USC in South Carolina Political Collections. The alphabetical list of transcripts may be accessed by clicking here.