Oral Histories and Life Stories

The Regional History Center has been conducting oral interviews with long-time residents, war veterans, members of the Ute Tribe, and many others since 1969.

What is an oral history?

Oral History is the collection and study of historical information about individuals, families, important events, or everyday life. Oral History is a method of historical documentation that involves and interviewer and interviewee(s). Oral History often touches on topics scarcely covered by written documents, and by doing so, fills in the gaps of records that make up early historical records. 

In the book Doing Oral History, Donald Ritchie explains, “Oral History collects memories and personal commentaries of historical significance through recorded interviews.  An oral history interview generally consists of a well-prepared interviewer questioning an interviewee and recording their exchange in audio or video format.  Recordings of the interview are transcribed, summarized, or indexed and then placed in a library or archives. These interviews may be used for research or excerpted in a publication, radio or video documentary, museum exhibition, dramatization or other form of public presentation. Recordings, transcripts, catalogs, photographs and related documentary materials can also be posted on the Internet.  Oral history does not include random taping, such as President Richard Nixon’s surreptitious recording of his White House conversations, nor does it refer to recorded speeches, wiretapping, personal diaries on tape, or other sound recordings that lack the dialogue between interviewer and interviewee.”

How can you get involved with Oral Histories?

You can be involved with oral histories in a variety of ways. Come to the Regional History Center or contact us and we'll help you get started. We can offer "Oral History 101" trainings for your family or small group. If you're interested in setting up a class for your group please give use two to three weeks advanced notice. 

If you have a friend, relative, or historical question, that you'd like us to explore in the Regional History Center's ongoing Oral History Program please reach out to us. 

How do I access oral histories that you've recorded?

To access transcriptions and audio recordings for oral history interviews you may visit the Uintah County Library’s Regional History Center at the Uintah County Administrative Building, First Floor 152 East 100 North Vernal, Utah, 84078 or you may request that a transcription or audio recording be made available electronically. 

To request that a specific oral history be digitized please contact the center at ecarr@uintah.utah.gov note: not all digitization requests may be completed as some oral histories are subject to restrictions that were conditions of the interviewee.

Oral History Indexes:

Please note: we are in the process of moving these indexes to new systems. Please notify us of any dead links.

Alphabetical & Topical INDEX

Tape Number Index

Selected Oral Histories are posted on the Internet Archive

Sample transcriptions posted:

Leonard Cook Oral History Transcription

Faron Wilkins Oral History Transcription

Oral Histories in the Library Catalog

Please note that we are in the process of updating our catalog records for oral histories. Not all oral histories may show up in the catalog for the most up-to-date information please email ecarr@uintah.utah.gov