September 21, 2009 StoryCorps Launches Initiative to Collect Stories from Latinos Across the Country

American Folklife Center to Receive Collection

Contact: Library of Congress contacts: Erin Allen (202) 707-7302, Joanne Rasi (202) 707-1733 | StoryCorps contact: Diana Velez-Griffen, 646-723-7020 x 65

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress will be of the repository for personal interviews with Latino Americans from across the United States as StoryCorps launches its “Historias” mobile booth. These contemporary personal narrative recordings of Latinos and Latinas—along with related manuscripts and photographs—will complement other Hispanic and Latin-American collections at the center such as the Juan B. Rael Collection, which includes recordings of Spanish-language folksongs and dramas; the California Gold collection, which contains Spanish-language songs and speech; and the Alan Lomax collection, which contains Spanish-language materials recorded in Spain and the Caribbean.

The national launch of StoryCorps Historias will be held on Thursday, Sept. 24, from 10 - 11 a.m., at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. Guest speakers will include members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, The United Farm Workers of America, The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

StoryCorps Historias aims to deliver to the Library the largest collection of Latino voices ever gathered. This project is made possible by funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and partnership with the Latino Public Radio Consortium, Latino USA, the U.S. Latino and Latina World War II Oral History Project, and other historical and cultural institutions and membership organizations.

The American Folklife Center’s collections include Spanish-language items from Spain, Latin America, and the Caribbean, including sound recordings of music and manuscripts. However, this will be the center’s first major collection of recorded oral narratives and life stories from Latino Americans.

The StoryCorps Collection at the American Folklife Center currently contains more than 20,000 interviews; another 7,000 have been recorded and await delivery to the center. “Historias,” which means both “stories” and “histories” in Spanish, will deliver the StoryCorps experience to Latino communities, will honor these culturally significant voices and ensure that they are preserved for generations to come.

Because StoryCorps and the American Folklife Center recognize the importance of covering the spectrum of Latino experiences, StoryCorps Historias will gather stories from residents in more than 20 cities throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

To learn more about StoryCorps Historias, visit

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to “preserve and present American Folklife” through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs, and training. The center includes the American Folklife Center Archive of folk culture, which was established in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world. For more information, visit

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening. StoryCorps has one of the largest archives of American voices ever created, with interviews gathered from more than 50,000 people in all 50 states. Each StoryCorps interview is recorded on a free CD for participants to take home and share and is also archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Each week, millions of Americans listen to StoryCorps’ award-winning broadcasts on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” For more information, visit


PR 09-179
ISSN 0731-3527