UC Berkeley Library

You can still access the UC Berkeley Library’s services and resources during the closure. Here’s how.

Using the Library during COVID-19

During the pandemic, many of our services are being offered in new ways. To find the latest information on course reserves, book returns, 24/7 online help, and more, visit our COVID-19 portal, which provides more up-to-date information than the text below.

Collection Guides

Content section: 

Oral History Center interviews touch upon most every theme of the human experience, so categorization is challenging. Each of our interviews falls into one of the categories listed on the Projects page and interviews are easily found through our Search engine. But some topics of broad interest might still seem buried in out of the way corners of our archive. To help users find the oral histories that match their interests, we have created these Collection Guides. We plan to add to this list and, on occasion, update existing guides.

African Americans (created in 2020)

Betty Reid SoskinOur collection contains a host of hidden gems: interviews with African Americans whose living memories date to the early 20th century at least, and offer first-person insights into the life of a Tuskegee airman, the contours of the West Coast jazz scene, the role of women in the Black Panthers, and much more. Projects and individual interviews address major historical themes in education, culture, law, politics, migration, the military, local history, and public service. 

Read the African American Collection GuideA Host of Hidden Gems: Interviews with African Americans throughout the Oral History Center Collection.

The Holocaust (created in 2020)

Hungarian Jewish women and children on the way to the gas chamber at AuschwitzThroughout the Oral History Center's vast collection of interviews are more than 200 that reference the Holocaust. These oral histories document memories of the Holocaust from a multiplicity of perspectives, from the first-hand experiences of Jewish refugees who fled from Europe before it was too late, to Americans who first heard about the atrocities after the liberation of the camps. These oral histories may be particularly interesting to scholars as they provide a different lens for looking at the Holocaust, capturing the histories of those who were being interviewed for other reasons, but nonetheless spoke about the impact of the Holocaust on their lives.

Read the Holocaust Collection Guide, Never Forget? UC Berkeley's Oral History Center documents memories of the Holocaust for researchers and the public

Veterans of the Armed Forces (created in 2019)

Mary Cohen speaks with soldiersWe proudly have documented the lives and service of hundreds of military men and women in multiple projects throughout our collection. We are aware that those whom we had the chance to interview were those who survived the battles, the wars, the hardships; they returned home, but many others did not. Because they are the ones who lived to tell those stories, we take seriously our role in preserving them for you and future generations to hear. Individual interviews and projects document WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Oral history projects also preserve the voices of those who served on the home front during WWII. 

Read the Veterans of the Armed Forces Collection Guide: Preserving Veteran Experiences for Future Generations

Women of the University of California (created in 2020)

March Fond Eu smashes toiletWe have conducted hundreds of oral history interviews with UC Berkeley women, as well as women from the other UC campuses — alumnae, faculty, staff, administrators, and philanthropists. In honor of the 150th anniversary of women at Berkeley, we are creating a comprehensive collection guide to these oral histories — thus far containing more than 200 interviews. Reaching back to the class of 1895, these women were influential as educators, labor organizers, suffragists, child advocates, community organizers, novelists, artists, and much more. The collection guide is being updated periodically as we cull through the collection; women related to other UC campuses are highlighted in gray.

View the Women of the University of California collection guide.

Please select Advanced Search to search full text of oral histories across the entire collection, as well as other features. To browse the entire Oral History Center collection, please see the Projects page.