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Oral History Program

The Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program collections contain the oral history of former Stanford University president, Donald Kennedy.

Photo by Leo Holub. Stanford University Libraries Special Collections and University Archives.

The Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program explores the institutional history of the university through interviews with leading faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and others. Powered by the efforts of skilled volunteer researchers, interviewers, and editors, the program has completed over 400 oral history interviews since its inception in 1978.

Oral history is a special kind of primary source: a reflective, spoken account offered in response to questioning. It can be deeply personal. By capturing contexts, circumstances, motivations, and personalities, oral history provides details and viewpoints that are not often found in traditional written records. Scholars and the university community at large use the society's oral histories to gain a better understanding of the development of a research university and the individuals who created it.

Transcripts and/or audio recordings are accessible online for all of the oral histories in the Stanford Historical Society collection.

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Interview Projects

In addition to the ongoing Stanford Faculty and Staff oral history project, the Oral History Program undertakes special theme projects each year. Recent projects include the Stanford Pioneering Women project, a panel discussion on the move of the School of Medicine from San Francisco to the Stanford campus, and a project focused on Stanford's efforts to expand the diversity of its undergraduate population.  Coming soon -- the Stanford Athletics Oral History Program, the Stanford Faculty Senate Oral History Project, and more.

 View interview projects


Featured Oral Histories

Recent Additions to the Collection