Sen. Lugar Delivers Indiana Tapes to Veterans
At a June 28 press conference in the Member's Room of
the Thomas Jefferson Building, US Senator Richard G. Lugar
personally delivered a batch of recordings of interviews with
Indiana veterans to the Library of Congress. With the delivery,
Lugar has submitted more than 500 tapes to the Veterans History
Project. The Lugar material is the largest collection of material
from a single source contributed to the Project.
"Where once there was someone on every block, in every
family serving in the military, now we have to strain to make
a direct connection," Lugar said. "In the United
States Congress, where once nearly 80 percent of members had
worn the uniform, we are down to one-third."
"Most Americans have simply lost touch with what it
means to serve in the Armed Forces or to serve a cause greater
than self," said Lugar. "I believe it is important
that veterans communicate to the next generation an understanding
of the sacrifices and hardships involved in life in the military,
which cannot be gained by reading books or watching movies."
VFW Helps Locate World War I Veterans
The Veterans History Project (VHP) wishes to thank
National Partner representative Mike Gormalley, National Director
of Citizenship Education and Community Service for the Veterans
of Foreign Wars (VFW), who sent an email to all VFW
State Departments asking for their support in finding World
War I veterans as quickly as possible. Based on this and a
follow-up email, the VHP has received leads from Kentucky,
Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. We have also heard from a Florida
VFW Auxiliary member who put us in touch with the Veterans
of WWI Headquarters and sent us 2001 WWI veterans census data.
Several names have been given to us over the telephone. As
we find WWI interviewers we are contacting professional oral
historians to conduct the interviews, a departure from our
normal procedure. We have made progress but we are still seeking
World War I veterans and encourage you to contact us if you
know of one or more by calling 202-707-4412.
Five-Star Council Profile
"Ace" fighter pilot Lt. Col. Lee A. Archer, USA (Ret.),
a member of the Project's Five-Star Council, is a 29-year
Air Force veteran. Lt. Col. Archer began his service and entered
flight training at Tuskegee Army Air Field. Cadet captain of
his class, Archer graduated as a Fighter Pilot I Class 43-G.
He joined the 302nd Fighter Squadron of the 322nd Fight Group,
flying his famed P-51, named "INA the Macon Belle" in
honor of his wife Ina. He shot down his first German Me-109
on July 18, 1944. On Oct. 13, 1944, he destroyed three Me-109s
on one mission; he was one of only four pilots to score three
fatal hits on a single mission.
Archer is chairman and CEO of Archer Associates and president
of the Organization Publishing Co. He serves on the boards
of several corporations and is active in several civic and
educational organizations. He earned his B.A. degree from the
University of California, Los Angeles, and his M.A. degree
from New York University. Lt. Col. Archer has been a vigorous
advocate of the Veterans History Project.
Promotional Video Debuts
The D-Day program included the premiere of a five-minute
film describing the project and destined for distribution to
all partners and through AARP's national reach. It included
poignant clips from interviews with Jerry Brenner and Marion
Gurfein, Washington-area veterans whose histories and
documents reside in the Veterans History Project collection
at the Library.
Media Coverage of Project
The D-Day event caught wide media attention. ABC carried
the event on its morning national radio news show on June 6; NBC's "Today" show
mentioned the event; Black Entertainment Television and
CNN Headline News carried the story that night; and 35
local television and radio stations from New York City to San
Francisco mentioned the story. The Associated Press carried
the story on its wire, and the event was reported in at least
14 print and Web publications, including the June 10, 2002 "US
News & World Report."
Members of the Five-Star Council who gave print, radio,
and television interviews were Lt. Col. Lee Archer, Lt. Gen.
Julius W. Becton, Ms. Gail Buckley, Maj. Gen. Jeanne Holm,
Commander Francisco Ivarra, and US Representative Ron Kind.
AARP PR firm Fleishman-Hillard estimates that the media
impact of coverage of the June 6 event reached a total of almost
73 million impressions.
Young Marine Heeds the Call
Eleven-year-old Edward Litten, a native of Newport,
Michigan, is on a mission this summer. After a recent trip
to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress, Lance Corporal
Litten, who is a member of the Young Marines of Monroe County,
decided to make the Veterans History Project in the American
Folklife Center his own. He began by interviewing his great-grandfather,
a veteran of World War II. "I told my commander that I
was taking this mission seriously and was going to commit my
summer to this project," Litten explains in a letter that
accompanies each interview he sends to the Project.
To date, the sixth-grader has conducted ten interviews,
including nine veterans from World War II, the Korean, Vietnam,
and Persian Gulf Wars, as well as the widow of a decorated
World War II veteran. Litten plans to finance his expenses
by "collecting returnable bottles from the racetrack."
Reflecting on what his involvement in the project has meant
to him, Litten incites his fellow Young Marines: "Young
Marines, you don't know what you are missing, I have learned
so much. I will remember this information and history, plus
the hugs and pats on the back from all these Veterans. You
can learn so much from these Veterans. It is truly your loss
and our Nation's History if we do not complete this mission."
Code-talker Interviewed at D-Day event
At the June 6 New York event Peggy Bulger, director of the
American Folklife Center, under which the project resides,
demystified the oral history interview with an explanation
of guiding principles and a demonstration. Sam Billison, a
Navajo and one of the celebrated World War II code-talkers
in the U.S. Marines in the Pacific theater, was interviewed
by David Dombroski, a New Jersey high school sophomore and
Junior ROTC member who has participated in the Veterans History
Project. This exchange also showed the project's inter-generational
In the ten-minute sample interview, Billison answered
Dombroski's standard interview questions. He told of joining
the Marines right out of high school and described the Navajo
language-based code. He explained& "We could
send a coded Navajo message and on the receiving end, the Navajo
Marine could translate it in two or three minutes. That saved
hours of decoding time, and our code was never broken."
The Veterans History Project has entered into an agreement
with the American Folklore Society (AFS) and the
Oral History Association (OHA) for them to serve
as national training partners to the Project. The AFS and the
OHA will manage workshops on conducting interviews to be offered
to community-based groups. They will also coordinate workshop
scheduling, offerings, and leaders. Folklorists and oral historians
provided by the AFS and the OHA to community groups will lead
these workshops, which will be designed to increase participants' understanding
of the personal aspects of oral interviewing and the technical
aspects of audio and video documentation. Partners interested
in scheduling workshops should contact David Albee of the Veterans
History Project at (202) 707-3410 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Folklorists and oral historians provided by the American Folklore
Society and the Oral History Association to community groups
will lead these workshops, which will be designed to increase
participants' understanding of the personal aspects of
oral interviewing and the technical aspects of audio and video
documentation. Workshops will run for about three hours, although
some could be longer, and will use Veterans History Project-developed
instructional materials for interviewers as a basic text and
Further information on the Veterans History Project training
workshops may be obtained by visiting its Web site at http://www.loc.gov/vets/workshopinfo.html or
by calling its toll-free message line at 1-888-371-5848.
Further information about the American Folklore Society may
be found on their Web site at http://afsnet.org/;
the Web site for the Oral History Association is http://omega.dickinson.edu/organizations/oha/.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Promotional Video debuts
Young Marine Heeds the Call
May 14 Events at LC
Mail Service Update
As part of new security procedures, our U.S. Postal Service
mail is subject to screening procedures, which may damage your
submissions. For this reason, we are asking donors to send
recorded interviews and collection materials to us through
commercial services such as UPS and Federal Express, or deliver
them in person if you live nearby. Deliveries from commercial
services will be screened before they are accepted by the Library,
but those screening procedures have not resulted in any damage
to the contents of the packages.
Partner forms, requests for information, and other routine
mail may be safely sent via the U.S. Postal Service, but screening
procedures have slowed mail delivery. Therefore, until normal
mail service resumes, you may wish to contact us via email,
fax, or telephone.
May 14 Veterans History Project Events
at Library of Congress
Representatives from more than 30 partner organizations of
the Veterans History Project met at 2:30 P.M. in Room
LJ119 in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress
on May 14 to share success stories and techniques from the
front lines of this effort to collect and preserve oral histories
of America's war veterans and those who served in support
of them. Widely publicized as a project of the Library's
American Folklife Center, the Project is actually dependent
upon the work of its partner organizations throughout the country
who are conducting the interviews. The number of partner organizations
has increased from around 100 in November of 2001 to more than
350 today. Welcome to all our new partners!
The Partners Meeting was one of four major Veterans History
Project events that day. The Project's Five-Star
Council met in the Whittall Pavilion at 4:00 P.M. An all-day
exhibit of the Project Partners' materials was presented
in the mezzanine of the Great Hall, and the day concluded with
a 6:30 P.M. gala reception in the Library's Great
June 6, 2002, Declared Veterans History Project Day in
New York City
To commemorate the Veterans History Project event aboard the
USS Intrepid in New York City, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
issued a proclamation declaring June 6, 2002 Veterans History
The proclamation, presented to Veterans History Project Director
Ellen McCulloch-Lovell prior to the celebration by Michael
Handy, the director of Mayor Bloomberg's Office of Veterans
Affairs, recognized the launch of the project and the importance
of preserving the stories of America's veterans.
The Mayor proclaimed, "The Veterans History Project allows
veterans and war workers to look back with pride on their achievements
and enriches all Americans with the legacy of some of the most
significant times in our Nation's history."
AARP In San Diego
Founding Corporate Sponsor AARP will be holding its annual
meeting in San Diego September 12-14, 2002. The theme
of the event is ""Life @ 50+ : A Celebration
of You." The Veterans History Project will have a space
in the exhibit hall at the San Diego Convention Center by the
edge of San Diego Bay. Partners in the area are invited to
stop in and say hello. Further information is available on
the AARP Web site at http://www.aarp.org/events/.
- Donna Kenny of Clio Associates in Massachusetts reports
that they are doing oral histories for us this summer with
the help of a summer intern - they are having a high
rate of activity - about 60 interviews done in the past
three weeks. These will be sent to us as a group at the end
of the summer.
- The Michigan Oral History Association's major
contribution is in oral history education. They have completed
summer workshops in Comins (Oscoda County) and
at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie. Next
are Dearborn on September 28 and Rochester Hills on October
5. On November 9 they join the new Michigan Department of
History, Arts and Libraries in a special event focusing on
VHP and Michigan's role in the project. This event precedes
the Friends of Michigan History's massing of the colors
and program honoring America's veterans. Last year this
organization focused on survivors of Pearl Harbor; this
year the focus is on Vietnam Veterans. The Michigan Historical
Center, the site of the November 9 event, is across the street
from the newly dedicated Vietnam Memorial.
- On July 25, seven new videotaped interviews were added
to the Veterans History Project collection. Paul Zigo of
the Center for WWII Studies and Conflict Resolution at
Brookdale Community College in New Jersey, brought the
first seven of 25 tapes to the Veterans History Project.
The Center has taped 33 interviews with central New Jersey
World War II veterans which are scheduled for public viewing
over the Brookdale cable system. The Center's stated
goal is ""o utilize lessons learned from the war to
prevent the recurrence of global conflict in a world of sovereign
states with divergent interests, wants, and needs."
Remember to Make Transcripts
If time and resources permit, the Veterans History Project
strongly recommends that you or your organization create transcripts
of your interviews. Transcripts offer several important benefits,
such as: aiding researchers in quickly skimming and assessing
the relevance of an interview; saving on the wear-and-tear
of the audiotapes and videocassettes; helping researchers
comprehend voices on the tapes that are difficult to hear or
understand; and providing, in the case of transcripts
submitted on disk, the means to search via computer for specific
words and phrases mentioned in the interview.
As of July 2002, the Veterans History Project has received
approximately 2600 submissions from participants ranging from
individual veterans and their family members to students, teachers,
historians, writers, and partner organizations. Of these, 2150
collections contain original or duplicated audio/video
oral interviews, substantial textual memoirs, diaries, and
correspondence, and/or photographic documentation of a
veteran's or support civilian's experiences in WWI,
WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and/or the Persian Gulf.
In April of 2002, VHP staff began organizing, labeling, re-housing,
and providing database entries (over 1400 so far) for
these submissions, maintaining the relationships between donor,
interviewer, and interviewee. At this point, we are focused
on capturing contact information, service histories, and information
on the format, quantity, condition, and length of submitted
materials. We are also in the process of building a subject
thesaurus specific to the needs of this collection, and considering
various preservation strategies that address the physical and
digital housing, storage, retrieval, and presentation of this
VHP Staff Changes
Incoming: David Albee, Mark F. Hall, Nancy Mitchell,
Rachel Mears, Judy Ng, Matthew Richardson, and Sandra Savage
joined the project in the spring. Mandy Brown, Cary McStay,
Lowell Perry, and Willeke Sandler are assisting the project
for the summer of 2002.
Outgoing: Janice E. Ruth has resumed her regular
duties in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.
Ronald Sterriker has returned to upstate New York.
"Freedom periodically expects a heavy toll from those
who would enjoy it. With God's help may we be ever ready
-Walter A. Novak, European Theater, 1942-45
"I also realize that I gave something to my country
that not many people can say they have. I risked my life
and gave up my freedom in defense of my country, and that
is something never to be forgotten."
-Seymour L. Lichtenfeld, Co. I, 422nd Inf.,
106th Inf. Div.
Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library
of Congress, Washington, DC 20540-4615
Newsletter editor: Mark F. Hall
Writers: Mandy Brown, Mark F. Hall, Judy Ng, Tim Roberts, Sarah Rouse,
Newsletter email: email@example.com