The Williams Center’s collections would not be what they are today without the partnerships we have with individual scholars, community groups, student groups, and volunteers. We work together with a large number of people to establish unique oral history projects, and in return, they donate their oral histories to the Center. Our partners provide expertise in the field they are documenting, while the Williams Center provides the infrastructure. We train people in best practices as advocated by the Oral History Association. As a repository, the Center processes and preserves these collections and makes them available to the public through LSU Libraries Special Collections.
So thank you to our partners! And to all of you potential partners out there, please contact us if you want to partner with the Center in the present or near future.
The Fall semester is in full swing and the Center’s projects and collaborations continue to grow.
This past summer, the Center began the History of Standard Oil in Baton Rouge oral history project. So far, we’ve interviewed Jim Rector, Sydney Arbour, Jr., Elsie Carroll, Buddy Boudreaux, Arthur Kunberger, George Gallagher, Pauline Jobe, Jerry Affolter, and Amos Kent. The Center’s interviewers for this project are Mary Hebert Price, Maxine Crump, Tatiana Clay, and Jamie White. Also, the Louisiana Historical Foundation, headed by Lillie Gallagher, and volunteers from ExxonMobil are working with the Center to conduct oral histories with former Standard Oil employees.
On campus, the Williams Center is continuing a partnership that began last spring with Dr. Alecia Long in the LSU History Department. Her Fall 2009 students are gathering oral histories for their project, “Listening to Louisiana Women: Sexuality, Reproduction and Social Equality.” Read more about that here: http://www.lsu.edu/ur/ocur/lsunews/MediaCenter/News/2012/01/item42274.html
Volunteers Gwendolyn Fairchild, Director of Planned Giving for the LSU Foundation, and Anne Marie Marmande, Director of Development for the LSU College of Basic Sciences, have been working with the Center for several years. They recently donated oral histories on LSU History including interviews with Jack Pulwer, Nelson Bardin, Adolphe G. Gueymard, and David M. Hunter.
Marian Lefebvre of Louisiana Public Broadcasting recently donated copies of oral history interviews with World War II veterans in conjunction with a documentary. Copies also exist at the the D-Day museum and the Library of Congress. Those interviewed include Ira Schilling, Clyde Benson, James Harper, Roscoe Bolton, Philip Serio, Oscar Richard III, and Irma Darphin.
The Williams Center has worked for more than two years with the staff at Destrehan Plantation to document the institutional history of the plantation. Headed by Angie Mathern, they have created over twelve collections and interviewed several people, including Martin Spindel, Betty Haydel, Nancy Robert, and Howard Walker.
Nancy Sharon Collins, Director of Special Projects at AIGA in New Orleans, has partnered with the Center to conduct an oral history project on the history of graphic design in New Orleans. Collins has donated more than ten collections so far, including interviews with James Gabour, Kenny Harrison, Gus Levy, Cordell Louviere, Yvette Rutledge, Don Smith, and Tom Varisco.
And out of New Orleans, Tatiana Clay recently teamed up with photographer Eric Julien to document New Orleans Jazz and R&B musicians including Freddie King, Harold Battiste, Bob French, Joseph “Smokey” Johnson, and Uncle Lionel Battiste.
Kathryn Rountree recently donated oral histories she conducted for a Master’s thesis in history on the personal experiences of White Fathers missionaries in Central and East Africa. Topics covered include the White Fathers’ distinctly religious mission; their goals and objectives; their ideas about African religion and culture; and how the political and cultural climates informed their actions.
We’ve also recently begun a collaboration with LSU Professor Michael Pasquier for his classes on the History of Religion in the United States. The Center is beginning collaborations with the New Orleans Women’s Exchange as well as the AARP out of New Orleans. Stay tuned to see what develops!