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The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Smokejumpers oral history project

Repository: University of Montana. Mansfield Library Archives and Special Collections

Collection Description (CRHP): Interviews collected in conjunction with the Smokejumpers Reunion, Aerial Fire Department, Missoula. Funded by a grant from the Montana Committee for the Humanities and the U.S. Forest Service History Office.

Interviews relevant to the CRM are:

OH 0133-07 Interview with R. Michael Bowman. Topics: Discusses smokejumping from the viewpoint of the smokejumper and as an administrator in the program. He highlights the jump list, project work, the use of helicopters, the prescribed fire program, the future of the smokejumping program, trading technology with other nations, and women and minority smokejumpers.

OH 0133-0029 [an interview with Pferron Doss, the first black smokejumper].
1 sound cassette (45 min.) : analog + 1 transcript + 1 tape counter index. Topics: As the first black smokejumper, Mr. Doss discusses the attitudes of both jumpers and management toward minority employees. As personnel officer for the smokejumpers program, he discusses management versus the jumpers and the problems jumpers have with alcohol. Recorded July 13, 1984 by Dan Hall.

OH 0133-54 David V. Kauffman [A conscientious objector's experience as a smokejumper]
1 sound cassette (90 min.) : analog + 1 transcript + 1 tape counter index. Topics: Kauffman talks of the training, the attitudes of the CO's, and the Black 555 Paratroopers who fought fires during WWII. He also relates a conversation with Wag Dodge about the Mann Gulch fire. Recorded August 16, 1984 by Jim Norgaard.

OH 0133-93 [Interview with Hal Samsel on his career as a smokejumper and parachute rigger]
1 sound cassette (65 min.) : analog + 1 transcript + 1 tape counter index.
Topics: Samsel speaks of his career as a smokejumper from 1949-1965 and as the rigging loft foreman from 1966-1980. He tells of the effects of the Mann Gulch fire, making "Red Skies Over Montana," and the changes in the smokejumper organization he attributed to the civil rights movement. Recorded June 21, 1984 by Dan Hall.

Access Copy Note: Copies of most of interviews and transcripts may be checked out and taken home.

Date(s): 1983-1985

Digital Status: No

Existing IDs: OH 0133-07; OH 0133-0029; OH 0133-54; OH 0133-93

Extent: ~100 cassette tapes

Language: English

Interviewees: R. Michael Bowman, Pferron Doss, David V. Kauffman, Hal Samsel

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights

Subjects:

Aerial Fire Depot (U.S.)
Minorities--Employment
Race relations
Smokejumping
United States. Forest Service--Officials and employees

Genres:

Interviews
Sound recordings
Transcripts

 

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   March 5, 2012
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