May 17, 2005 News Conference To Announce Launch of Mobile StoryCorps Booths

Press Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940; Joanne Rasi (202) 288-6999

WHEN: 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 19

WHERE: Madison Hall, James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

WHO: David Isay, founder of StoryCorps; Peggy Bulger, director of the American Folklife Center; Deanna Marcum, associate librarian for Library Services; and project sponsors; and interviews scheduled with, among others, Anthony Williams, mayor of the District of Columbia; Chuck Brown, the father of go-go music; Ben’s Chili Bowl owners; and Sue Mingus, widow of famed composer and jazz bassist Charles Mingus

WHY: To announce the launch of two mobile StoryCorps booths that will travel across the United States collecting stories in a major oral history project that rivals the social documentation project carried out by the Federal Writers’ Project in the 1930s and 1940s.

WHAT: From May 19 to May 28, two mobile recording booths in trailers will be stationed in front of the Library’s James Madison Memorial Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C., as the first stop in their one-year tour to collect stories of ordinary Americans from across the United States. The oral histories that StoryCorps collects will be given in digital form to the

American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, which has a statutory mandate to “preserve and present American folklife.” StoryCorps is the first “born-digital” audio collection for the center, the largest oral narrative collection in the nation. For up-to-date information on scheduled interviews, go to the center’s Web site at

StoryCorps is a national initiative to instruct and inspire individuals to record oral histories and create meaningful personal experiences for the participants. With 2,000 stories already collected during the project’s first 18 months through its recording booth at Grand Central Terminal in New York, StoryCorps hopes to collect more than 250,000 interviews over the next 10 years. Traveling to every corner of the United States, the project will be documenting everyday history and the unique stories of grassroots America.

From Washington, the MobileBooths will set out in opposite directions across the country—one taking an Eastern route and the other covering the Western states. Visits in each city or town will last between two and three weeks, with about 100 interview slots available at each location. This inaugural tour will last one year and stop at nearly 45 cities. A list of the 22 cities in 17 states that the StoryCorps MobileBooths will visit during the first six months of the tour is appended to this release.

In each city where the MobileBooths stop, StoryCorps will partner with a local public radio station, which will air a selection of the local stories and create additional programming around the project. Selected segments will also air nationally on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

At each MobileBooth, a trained facilitator will help create a question list and handle the technical aspects of the recording. At the end of a 40-minute session, the participants leave with a CD of their interview. With their permission, a second copy will be sent to the American Folklife Center.

StoryCorps American Tour

May - November 2005


  • May 30 - June 13; Charlottesville, Va.
  • June 16 - July 2; Morgantown and Charleston, W.Va.
  • July 5 - July 25; Columbus, Ohio
  • July 28 - Aug. 15; Detroit and Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Aug. 18 - Sept. 5; Chicago, Ill.
  • Sept. 8 - Sept. 26; St. Louis, Mo.
  • Sept. 29 - Oct. 10; Paducah, Ky.
  • Oct. 13 - Oct. 31; Memphis, Tenn.
  • Nov. 3 - Nov. 21; Selma, Ala.


  • June 2 - June 6; Milwaukee, Wis.
  • June 9 - June 20; Madison, Wis.
  • June 23 - July 10; Minneapolis, Minn.
  • July 14 - July 31; Bismarck and New Town, N.D.
  • Aug. 4 - Aug. 22; Missoula, Mont.
  • Aug. 25 - Sept. 5; Moscow, Idaho
  • Sept. 7 - Sept. 26; Seattle, Wash.
  • Sept. 29 - Oct. 17; Portland, Ore.
  • Oct. 20 - Nov. 7; Medford, Ore.
  • Nov. 10 - Nov. 28; San Francisco Bay area, Calif.


PR 05-125
ISSN 0731-3527