The Library of the Month for October is the University Archives! All month long the Libraries celebrate with stories, photos, fun facts, and more. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about the Library of the Month.

Campus oral historian Troy Reeves works to make the university’s history come alive through recordings of those who lived it.

What better way to learn about campus history than from the people who actually lived it? The Oral History Program, a subset of the University Archives, has approximately 1,300 interviews (that’s over 4,000 hours!) with faculty, staff, and students in its collection.

Individually, these interviews reflect the careers and interests of the interviewees; collectively they constitute a narrative of the development of UW–Madison over time. As such, they form an invaluable part of the historical record of the university.

A significant portion of the interviews were conducted as part of a 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.

Accessing the Oral History Collections

You can listen to or examine transcripts of the recorded interviews by visiting the University Archives department any time during their regular office hours:

Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Need more in-depth assistance? Make an appointment with Troy Reeves, Head of the Oral History Program.

If you know your interview subject or interview topic ahead of time, you can browse the collection on the Oral History Program website.

You can also search for oral history interviews right in the Library Catalog. Tip: search using “Oral History Interview” in the “Anywhere” field.

Explore the Oral History Collections

Not sure what you’re looking for, but still interested? Check out Campus Voices, a project meant to capture, present, and preserve some of the most potent stories and memories of UW-Madison. Since January 2010 the Campus Voices project has produced the stories of the 1970 TAA Strike, the 1970 Bombing of Sterling Hall, Women working in Science in Engineering and Badger Village. The stories are available as podcasts and mini-movies.

Where to go for more information