When I joined the Oral History Center in 2002, we had just begun our collaboration with the National Park Service on the Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front Oral History Project. The initial phase of the project called for sixty interviews to document Richmond and the Bay Area during the home front period. I was an interviewer, transcriber, videographer, editor, and web producer.
Fourteen years later we have completed over 250 oral histories with women and men about this unique time period in United States history, making this our largest single community oral history project. Countless researchers, NPS staff, interviewers, transcribers, editors–and most of all our interviewees and their families–have been crucial to the success of the project thus far. I have continued interviewing and managed the project for the last many years and been fortunate in this journey to meet extraordinary individuals in many realms on the home front. Many of these charismatic women and men are still going strong in their 90s and 100s–no doubt in part to the same passionate energies that made them significant contributors on the home front in WWII.
There are countless lessons to be learned from the individual and cumulative experiences of these individuals. Now that we have recorded these stories, the National Park Service and OHC want to properly share these stories with students, teachers, and the world. To this end, we are collaborating with the National Park Service on a new project not to record new oral histories but to improve access to our completed oral histories by enhancing the collection’s searchability and ultimately sharing complete video interviews online synched with their oral history transcripts. As the voices of the Greatest Generation are passing on, we are grateful that we have recorded these stories and can ensure their voices can speak to future generations long after we have all passed.
To help make this vision a reality, we need your help. In year one of this two year project, OHC needs to match $45,000 in funds! Any contribution you can make towards this goal will be greatly appreciated. Please specify “Rosie” in your online gift form.
If you prefer to support with a check, please make your check payable to “UC Regents” and specify OHC-Rosie in the memo. Mail your check to:
Oral History Center
The Bancroft Library
ATTN: David Dunham
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Thank you for your support of this community oral history project. I feel very lucky to have worked the entire course of this project, and am excited to help see it through the critical next stage to reach the full audience it should. Follow us for updates on this exciting project as we ensure these voices are preserved and shared, and the WWII home front lessons are passed on to generations yet to come.
-David Dunham, Rosie Project Interviewer and OHC Technology Lead