About this Collection

Flight Attendant. Photo by David A. Taylor, September 2001. September 11, 2001, Documentary Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

The September 11, 2001 Documentary Project captures the reactions, eyewitness accounts, and diverse opinions of Americans and others in the months that followed the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93. Patriotism and unity mixed with sadness, anger, and insecurity are common themes expressed in this online presentation of almost 200 audio and video interviews, 45 graphic items, and 21 written narratives. This collection captures the voices of a diverse ethnic, socioeconomic, and political cross-section of America during trying times and serves as a historical and cultural resource for future generations. The voices of men and women from many cultural, occupational, and ethnic backgrounds are represented. Some of the interviews are from people who were in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon during the attacks, but the majority of the interviews are from other parts of the U.S. — from those who first heard the news on television or radio, and from teachers, friends, family, and other members of their communities. In all, materials were received from 27 states and a U.S. military base in Naples, Italy.

More than 60 years ago, the American Folklife Center mounted a similar effort to document national sentiment in 1941 following the attack on Pearl Harbor. This effort is featured in the American Memory presentation: After the Day of Infamy: "Man-on-the-Street" Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor.

The complete September 11, 2001 Documentary Project collection contains more than 400 audio and video recordings that contain about 800 interviews; 8100 manuscript materials; 421 graphic and photographic materials; 15 electronic media; and 38 artifacts. Consult the finding aid for this collection for further information.