Founding Corporate Sponsor Named
At a press briefing at the Library of Congress on November
8, three days before Veteran's Day, the AARP, formerly
the American Association of Retired Persons, announced its
support of the Veterans History Project from January 2002 through
2004, with a donation of $1 million per year. The project's
core funding is provided in the Library of Congress's
annual appropriation from Congress.
Five-Star Council Members Advise Project
As of November 8, we are pleased to announce our Five-Star
Council of prominent leaders who will bring increased visibility
to our project nationwide. The Five-Star Advisory Board
now has 26 members. The Board met on Thursday, November 8,
at the Library of Congress. Council members, listed on our
Web site, are: Hon. Everett Alvarez, Steven Ambrose, Lieut.
Col. Lee Archer (Ret.)) Lieut. Col. Julius Becton (Ret.&$041;,
Tom Brokaw, Hon. Max Cleland, Walter Cronkite, Hon. Robert
Dole, Hon. Sam Gibbons, Hon. Chuck Hagel, Maj. Gen. Jeanne
Holm (Ret.&$041;, Dolores Hope, Hon. Amo Houghton, Hon.
Steny Hoyer, Hon. Daniel Inouye, Commander Francisco F. Ivarra,
Hon. John Kerry, Hon. Ron Kind, Hon. Bob Michel, Hon. Norman
Mineta, William D. Novelli (Executive Director, AARP),
Hon. Anthony J. Principi, Francis Sogi, Hon. Ted Stevens, Hon.
John Warner, Hon. Sheila Widnall.
Department of Veterans Affairs Endorses Project
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi, a member of
the Five-Star Council, endorsed the Veterans History Project
at the November 8 press briefing. Secretary Principi said: "I
am deeply honored to be on the Five-Star Council of the
Veterans History Project. On the eve of Veterans Day, we pay
tribute to and celebrate the contribution of the 25 million
men and women who have served our nation in uniform."
Disabled American Veterans Add Support
With a grant from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV),
the Veterans History Project will print an instructional kit
for volunteers wishing to participate in the project by interviewing
veterans or contributing materials to the collection being
developed at the Library of Congress and VHP partner repositories
around the country. The kit will be made available also in
a version for blind and disabled persons, with expert technical
assistance from the Library's National Library Service
for the Blind and Physically Handicapped Division.
Project's Partners Now Top 100
Our expanded Web site now includes names of the first veterans
organizations, university programs, museums, libraries and
historical societies to join the Veterans History Project.
The list is arranged by state, and also has a section for national
partners, such as the Oral History Association and the Veterans
of Foreign Wars. It can be viewed at http://www.loc.gov/vets/partners/partners.html.
Updates are made as new partners join the project. Partners
are urged to advise VHP staff of corrections or changes.
Partners Nationwide Span Big Four Veterans Organizations,
Diverse University Programs
The Veterans History Project's organizational partners
strengthen and enrich the nationwide initiative by their activities
in support of the project's goals. Partners' interest
in honoring our wartime veterans, in first-hand accounts
of the effects of war abroad and at home and in the methodology
of recorded interviews, strengthen the project. Many partners
means more attention to our veterans' stories of service,
and development of collections nationwide. A higher profile
for veterans and oral history makes it easier for veterans
and volunteers around the country to hear about and participate
in a local or statewide initiatives.
Partners Encouraged to Report Activities to VHP
The Veterans History Project wants to help our partners get
the attention they deserve for the work they are doing. Your
news is good news for all, and we can help you share it. Please
let us hear from you, by phone, fax, email, or mail any time
you have news to report, not just when we ask for it. Tell
- A veterans project you are developing
- Interviewed veterans' names and other details (using
our Biographical Information Form), so our database
can include your veterans
- Public programs you have planned or presented, supporting
the Veterans History Project
- Related publications or publicity
- A reception or event honoring veterans in your community
National VFW Meeting in Milwaukee Features Veterans History
In August 2001, Veterans History Project director Ellen McCulloch-Lovell
spoke at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)'s annual conference
in Milwaukee. The session was opened by Rep. Ron Kind, one
of the five original sponsors of the project in October 2000.
McCulloch-Lovell, working closely with the VFW's
Mike Gormalley, director of Citizenship Education and Community
Service, told vets of the value of the project and how to get
involved. This generated strong local press coverage in the Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel. The newspaper article itself inspired
scores of letters, calls, and emails (firstname.lastname@example.org)
to our Washington office. Most callers were military veterans,
and we also heard from volunteer interviewers, and an annual
Milwaukee veterans parade organization. Replies went out immediately,
and many vets have since followed through by donating materials
to add to the collections.
The September 2001 issue of VFW Auxiliary, published
by the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, included
a piece on the Veterans History Project, emphasizing its participatory
and cooperative nature: the project's success will
come as a result of individuals' participation-children
interviewing grandparents, veterans interviewing each other-and
a range of institutions''involvement from libraries, veterans
organizations, and university programs.
North Dakota's Sen. Dorgan Galvanizes Leadership for
Statewide VHP Participation
Also in August 2001, director McCulloch-Lovell traveled
to North Dakota's capitol, Bismarck, and met with that
state's U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan and a steering committee
of twelve leaders of statewide veterans groups, and other state-level
leaders of press and education organizations. Senator Dorgan
had convened North Dakota's leadership team, which will
pull together veterans (69,000 living in this northern
plains state), college students, and others for the Veterans
History Project, and gather the oral histories telling North
Dakota's soldiers' wartime experiences. ""orth
Dakota is the first state to bring various veterans and educational
groups together to begin a history project," said director
Both the Minot, ND, and the Bismarck daily newspapers carried
an AP story on the meeting. The American Legion's North
Dakota newsletter The Message also reported the event,
naming steering committee members representing the American
Legion, the VFW, the Vietnam Veterans of America, Disabled
American Veterans, and AMVETS. These veterans own experiences
span three wars-World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam
Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Prepare to Participate
In July, attendees at the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) 80th
annual conference packed the workshop given by VHP's Peter
Bartis. Bartis presented an oral history workshop to DAV members
at the conference in Miami. The DAV's September-October
magazine spotlighted the Veterans History Project in "Collecting
Veterans Stories,"quoting the DAV's Washington Headquarters
Executive Director David W. Gorman: "The men and
women who have served and sacrificed so much to preserve our
precious liberty and way of life deserve to have their stories
LC Collects Accounts by Women Veterans
One of the project's earliest acquisitions at the Library's
American Folklife Center was an interview with one of the first
class of Women's Army Corps, Mrs. Mary Louise Rasmuson.
The interview was conducted by Librarian of Congress James
H. Billington at the home of Mrs. Rasmuson in Anchorage, Alaska.
A clip from this interview is included on the Web site, to
show the breadth of veterans' experiences, and to encourage
other women veterans to become involved in the project.
Vigorous Activities of Partner, Traditional Arts in Upstate
With extra energy from partnering with the VHP, the Traditional
Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) will expand a previously
planned October exhibit of the dioramas of Vietnam War artist
Michael Cousino, adding photographs by a photographer for The
Stars and Stripes, Red Grandy.
Using questions from VHP+s suggested list, TAUNY plans
to interview a local veteran from World War I, Korea, Vietnam
and the Persian Gulf wars, and excerpt these interviews on
a local radio station. TAUNY also plans workshops to train
local volunteers to conduct interviews, with sponsorship from
local vets groups such as the VFW, American Legion, and AmVets.
Oldest Vets First-Congressional Objective
A pre-Thanksgiving press release from the Library of
Congress exhorted World War I veterans willing to be interviewed
to contact the project via its email address (email@example.com)
or its message line (1-888-371-5848). Almost
200 calls were fielded, and VHP staff arranged an interview
with a 102-year--ld veteran at Leisure World near
Washington, DC. One other interview with a World War I veteran
has been conducted for the project, and will be received in
Project Offers Information, Ways to Participate
- All 535 Members of Congress were sent two information packets (one
in May, and one in October) about the Veterans History
Project. The packets specify actions Members can take and
urge their constituents to take, to become involved in the
project. In spite of congressional buildings' temporary
closure for anthrax screening recently, the October packets
were received at over 75 percent of congressional offices.
- VHP staff met with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
staff to fine'tune a department'wide plan to conduct
interviews with veterans, especially those in VA hospitals.
- In September, VHP staff completed a major phase of preparation
of our How'To Kit. The kit will guide novices as well
as experienced oral historians in interviewing and research.
These materials will be printed in an abridged version, as
well as a fuller form. A comprehensive version is now online
for printing out or reference purposes.
VHP Web site Use Triples
In November, project staff headed by Janice E. Ruth improved
the readability and ease of use of our Web site, with redesign
and added material, including civilians' interview questions.
Hits at the Web site (www.loc.gov/vets) tripled from
October to November 2001, from 13,000 to 39,000.
War Movies Screened Near Veterans Day
From late October through early December, the Library of Congress,
through its American Folklife Center, presented a series of
six films in support of the Veterans History Project. Films
from the extensive collection of the Library's Motion
Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division included
Hollywood feature films, plus shorts and documentaries. The
films emphasized experiences of veterans, or featured veterans
in acting roles. Shown free to the public in the Library of
Congresss Pickford Theater, from late October through
early December, were:"They Were Expendable" (WWII); "All
Quiet on the Western Front" (WWI); "The
Bridges at Toko-Ri"(Korean War); "The
Lost Battalion" (WWI); selected short subjects
and documentaries about rationing from the World War II era,
and TV documentaries about the Vietnam War.
A big milestone in the Veterans History Project was the final
design and printing of our handsome project brochure, identified
by the project's distinctive "dogtag" logo.
The logo and brochures are offered free to partner organizations.
Vet's Daughter Interviews Dad's Pals in the 411th
AAA Gun Battalion, 3rd Army, World War II
The project recently received eleven videotapes from a single
interviewer. Martha Hopkins, Library staffer, interviewed her
father and ten other men and women veterans and wartime volunteers
in July at an annual reunion of the 411th AAA Gun Battalion
in Roanoke, Virginia. The 411th served in Europe during World
War II, part of the Third Army under Gen. George S. Patton.
One of the veterans interviewed, a company clerk, told of setting
up an office, complete with typewriter and a filing cabinet,
in a foxhole. Another, a USO hostess, recalled one of the USO's
ground rules-don't go outside with the men until
the evening is over!
Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library
of Congress, Washington, DC 20540-4615