The Institute for Oral History creates oral history memoirs by preserving a sound recording and transcript of interviews with individuals who are eyewitnesses to history. Together with our interviewees, we document memories representing the diversity of American society and encompassing varied topics of social and historical significance. We encourage oral history scholarship through fellowships, graduate assistantships, and training workshops, and we share the outcomes of our oral history research through publications and public programming.
Located in the historic Carroll Library, the Institute for Oral History is an interdisciplinary research department within Baylor Libraries. Our oral history memoirs assist scholars whose research covers such specialized areas as religion and culture, civil rights, music and theater, historic preservation, rural life, and women's studies, as well as selected topics in economics, law, education, and politics. In addition, our oral history collection provides essential information for research on historical topics concerning Baylor University, Waco, and McLennan County, Texas.
Having provided leadership among organized oral historians since our inception, the Institute for Oral History
- is a sponsoring member of the Oral History Association (OHA), of which Assistant Director Adrienne Cain is the 2019 Program Co-Chair and Senior Editor & Collection Manager Steven Sielaff serves as a member of the OHA Metadata Task Force;
- hosts the Texas Oral History Association (TOHA), of which Assistant Director Adrienne Cain is Secretary-Treasurer and Steven Sielaff serves as Editor of TOHA's yearly journal, the Sound Historian;
- participates in H-Oralhist, the oral history online discussion listserv, of which Editor Michelle Holland serves as editor and Steven Sielaff is managing editor and technical advisor;
- and is active in the international oral history community through the International Oral History Association, which was attended in 2014 in Spain by Stephen Sloan and Michelle Holland and in 2018 in Finland by Stephen Sloan, Adrienne Cain, and Steven Sielaff, and through the Oral History Society (UK), where Steven Sielaff presented at the 2016 annual conference in London, England.