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Oral History


The West Virginia and Regional History Center possesses a large and diverse collection of oral history recordings documenting the culture and history of West Virginia and the surrounding region. Most interviews were conducted and recorded from the 1940s to the 1980s. The content is diverse, covering topics such as:

industry (including agriculture, coal, glass, newspapers, railroads, timber, etc.)
immigration (including Swiss in the town of Helvetia, Italians, Polish, etc.)
labor history (including child labor, unions, strikes, mine disasters, "Mother Jones", etc.)
education, health care, social work, religion
folk culture (including folklore, music, food, blacksmithing, etc.)
utilities (including electricity, telephone, and water)
West Virginia University
World War I
Great Depression
World War II

Searching the Archives

List of Indexed Collections

  • collections are listed numerically by collection number
  • preceding each collection description is a number -- this collection number, along with the name of the interviewee, are helpful when asking Center staff to pull the specific oral history interview that you need
  • please note that this list is not exhaustive; Center staff can help you find additional collections in our oral histories and in our Guide to Archives and Manuscripts.
  • Addendum to the Oral History Collection
    • Oral histories 418-621 are not represented in the existing index below, but they do have collection numbers listed and can be requested. Please contact our reference staff for assistance.


  • index terms are correlated to collection numbers
  • index terms cited multiple times for a collection indicate multiple mentions of a topic within a collection
List of Collections with Index

Using the Collection

The sound recordings in this collection are available for use in the WVRHC during all full-service hours. The reference staff will assist researchers with their requests and provide listening equipment and headphones.

Many of the materials in this collection have already been digitized. To request to use these materials remotely, please complete the WVRHC Digital Collections Request Form. All applicable reproduction and use fees can be found on the WVRHC's Reproduction & Use Fees webpage.