The Hudson Area Library has announced two newly-launched online oral history archives: the Hudson Area Library Oral History Project (HAL OHP), an open collection of interviews collected locally over the past decade, and the Black Legacy Association of Columbia County Oral History Project (BLACC) collection from the 1980s.
The archiving of these collections and development of the digital archives, as well as related community programming offered over the past three years, was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries grant and in partnership with Oral History Summer School (OHSS).
The individual stories shared in the library’s oral history collections include memories from the early 1900s of driving horse-driven carriages and walking across the ice of the Hudson River, making ice cream in an ice cream maker with ice and salt, the vegetable man taking the ferry from Athens and sleeping as his horse drives the carriage up Warren Street, life in Shantytown, home remedies, the hard work of the brickyards and local factories and cement plants and more.
These two newly-launched collections will be digitally networked with the The Community Library of Voice and Sound (CLOVS), the oral history archives of OHSS, allowing community members and researchers to search across the collections. OHSS was established in Hudson in 2012 as an immersive training program to help students from varied fields make use of oral history as an ethical interview practice in their lives and work.
The CLOVS archive is comprised of 450 oral histories conducted by OHSS students in conversation with residents from Hudson and the surrounding communities, with an emphasis on “everyday life” experiences, past and present. In addition to these life histories, the CLOVS archive also features 100 ambient sounds and song recordings collected locally. To learn more and explore the CLOVS collection, click here.
The Hudson Area Library Oral History Project includes oral histories produced by participants in a 2013 workshop at the library led by Suzanne Snider, with assistance from Melinda Braathen, as well as recordings collected by contract and volunteer community members on the library’s behalf over the past decade. To learn more and explore the HAL OHP collection, click here.
The BLACC collection was donated to the library by Columbia Opportunities, Incorporated (COI) in 2018. All of the material in this collection was originally assembled by the Columbia County Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), sponsored by COI. RSVP volunteers, who formed BLACC included: Vivian Austin, Ella Barksdale, Jessie Cooper, Bernice Cross, Edward Cross, Helen Dago Barreiro, Phobe Eaton, Dandridge Harris, James Kerr, Gilbert Lewis, Ethel Loveless, Julia Minisee, Eloise Moore, Marie Parker, Annie Peden, Calvin Pitcher, Otelia Rainer, Grace Schwartzman, Leslie Stiles, Marion Van Ness, Selma Van Ness, William Van Ness, Annabel Waters, Bernard Weisberger, and Beulah Whitbeck. Marcella Beigel, the RSVP Director, devoted much time and attention to the creation of this project.
To learn more and explore the BLACC collection, click here. To view images from the collection visit the History Room website. To view the full archived collections including research documents and images, email email@example.com for an appointment.
Photo of Black Legacy Association of Columbia County Oral History Project provided.