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Oral History Newsletter XV
Spring 2010

Editor: Chrissy Pearson
Photographer & Videographer: Johnathan Recor

Oral History Circle XIV

The beautiful Norwich, Vermont home of Jane LeMasurier was the setting of Oral History Circle XIV on May 2nd. Over 50 people, including students - past, present, and future, along with friends and family - gathered on an unusually warm spring afternoon in the great room of Jane's house, moving on to the wooden front porch, and down the steps amidst blossoming trees. They discussed, among other things, current and past oral history projects, theses, and proposals while partaking of an array of salads, cheeses, chips and dips, a couple of Chinese specialties, and tempting desserts laid out on Jane's dining room table.

The Frommers awarded their traditional bronze certificate to Rebecca Malila and Jessica Lindsey for successful completion of an oral history thesis. Out-of-towners Abigail Russell and Matt Lazar, unable to come in for the Circle, will receive theirs on Graduation Day.

Thesis Presentations

In a provocative presentation, Rebecca Malila described her oral history of 15 lawyers and how their experiences in the courtroom have affected their views of how well justice is served. Currently a law school student, Rebecca was struck by the ways in which orality dominates the courtroom, linking her work in oral history to the study of law. Greater Detroit native Jessica Lindsey spoke about "Shutting Down Detroit," a compelling account of the human toll the recession is taking in "The Motor City" where the near collapse of the automotive industry has devastated both city and surrounding suburbs and led to a staggering 50% unemployment rate. Jessica made several trips home in order to interview a wide range of citizens affected by the financial downturn.

Kay Morton presented on behalf of Abigail Russell describing her oral history of West Point's class of 1945, thirty men who went on to become military and political leaders of this country during the years of post-war occupation of Europe and the Far East, and the Cold War. And Will Dahlberg pinch-hit for Matt Lazar telling the group about his oral history that linked the fans of the Cleveland Browns and the City of Cleveland, how urban history was revealed in the connection between fans and city.

Marta Filip-Fouser plans to complete her thesis in time for a June 2011 graduation. But she was far enough along to give a riveting account of some of the oral histories she has already uncovered of Jewish resistance to the Nazis during the Second World War.

Life in Oral History after Dartmouth

Jerry LaMothe has created a photo documentary to accompany his thesis: a primary history of North Danville, Vermont told through voices, letters, and journal entries that goes back through two centuries. Eight articles he wrote for the North Danville Newsletter will form a special section of a second edition of his thesis.

Allen Sherman (together with his partner Marion) continues to work on a massive oral history project that documents the artistic experience in St. Lucia across the decades.

Publication and Writing Front

The Frommers continue collecting oral histories for their ongoing work on Jewish history and culture around the world. Their most recent effort focuses on the extraordinary story of the Jews of Vienna in the years prior to World War II and the current and very different Jewish community that has arisen in its wake. Harvey's CELEBRATING FENWAY PARK - AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY, with foreword by MALS chair: Professor Donald E. Pease, is scheduled for February 2011 publication.

Upcoming Oral History Events

MALS Thesis Presentations (Moore Hall, Room B03)

  • Wednesday, May 12: Abigail Russell (6:00 P.M.)
  • Tuesday, May 18: Rebecca Malila (6:00 P.M.)
  • Friday, May 25: Jessica Lindsey (2:00 P.M.)

Editor's Note: A special thank you to Visual Guru Johnathan Recor for documenting the Oral History Circle with his wonderful photography and videography.

Special Note: MALS 191: Preserving the Past - Oral History in Theory and Practice will next be offered in the Fall Semester of 2010.


Oral History Circle

Online Database

Photo Archive Access

Flickr Pro Account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mals191/

Video Archive Access

YouTube Video Account: http://www.youtube.com/user/MALS191

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