MASTERS OF LIBERAL STUDIES PROGRAM - May 14, 2002
THE ROLE OF ORAL HISTORY IN THE MAKING OF
WORLD OF OUR FATHERS
A Lecture by Kenneth Libo, Ph.D.
Dartmouth Alumnus Ken Libo returns to his alma mater speaking on the role of oral history in the making of World of Our Fathers which he co-authored with Irving Howe.
As Howe’s chief researcher and collaborator, Ken Libo realized he could not in his phrase "compete with Irving's narrative voice which had been dazzling a generation of readers" and therefore looked for an alternate way of making a significant impact upon the work. He found it in the genre of oral history.
The immigrant generation was still around in the late sixties and early seventies. Libo was able to locate a Tammany Hall flunky, the great Yiddish actor Joseph Buloff, Smith of "Smith and Dale" -- one of the original Sunshine boys, a do-gooder, a Jewish everyman, and through interviews with them and others incorporated a rich mosaic of voices that complemented Irving Howe’s overall authorial voice. Who these voices belonged to, where Libo found them, and how they fit into World of Our Fathers is the subject matter of his talk.
Dr. Kenneth Libo shared a National Book Award with Irving Howe, and was co-editor of How We Lived, a history of immigrant Jews in America. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, American Jewish History, and the Jewish Press. Formerly English editor of the Jewish Daily Forward, Libo was awarded a B.A. cum laude from Dartmouth College and a doctorate in English literature from the City University of New York.