Greetings from the Texas Oral History Association!

TOHA is a network for oral history practitioners that promotes the use of professional interviewing and archiving standards. Explore our site to discover who we are and what we do. We invite you to join us in our adventure to better understand both the present and the past through recording the voices of eyewitnesses to history. TOHA, an affiliate of the Oral History Association, is hosted by the Baylor University Institute for Oral History.




Tenth Annual Conference | September 24-25, 2021

The Texas Oral History Association will hold its tenth annual conference virtually on September 24-25, 2021. This year's conference is hosted by Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas! Check our program and registration information here!

Did you miss last year's virtual conference? You can view the 2020 conference sessions on our YouTube page


A Statement from the Texas Oral History Association

The Texas Oral History Association (TOHA), a network of oral history practitioners, stands with people across the country condemning the continued violence, prejudices, and systemic injustice against Black, indigenous, and people of color.

We echo and affirm the Oral History Association’s statement on the Solidarity with Black Lives Matter. We too believe Black Lives Matter.

As oral historians and practitioners we recognize our responsibility to seek out, record, and preserve this nation’s myriad voices.  We recognize our obligation to contribute resources, support, and skills so that communities can amplify their own stories and experiences.  In doing this work with deliberation and care, we endeavor to help achieve a more holistic understanding of the many distinct historical narratives that tell the story of America.  Voices cannot continue to be unheard or silenced.

TOHA has work to do.  We must acknowledge our own structural practices and be open to change. We need to do more to create a diverse network of individuals that allows for challenging conversations about the practice of oral history in the state of Texas.  We need to be proactive in sharing those resources, support, and skills. Our annual conference must push for presentations outside of traditional academic circles; from Black, indigenous, and communities of color where vital memory and narrative work is being realized.

TOHA is committed to learning and doing the self-work needed to become a trusted association that is diverse and inclusive.  We remain committed to doing our part in oral history documentation and believe that a collaborative practice is key to preserving narratives that honor and value communities and events that otherwise might be left out of the historical record.



TOHA 2020 Conference Recap


TOHA’s (virtual) conference was held on September 11-12, 2020 via Zoom. Although it looked different this year, we were able to bring participants quality presentations and programming that highlighted and promoted the use and good practices of oral history research across the state. (READ MORE HERE)


TOHA at SAA 2019

The Society of American Archivists held its annual meeting July 31- August 6, in Austin, Texas. The meeting theme was Transformative! and featured workshops, presentations, and programs led by archivists, librarians, and historians from across the country. (READ MORE HERE



TOHA 2019 Conference Highlights 

The 2019 TOHA Conference was held on April 26-27th on the campus of St. Edward’s University in Austin. This was our second year to hold a pre-conference workshop. Oral Historian Tacey Rosolowski’s workshop entitled “Oral History and Their Potential Users” focused on how to ensure oral histories have an ongoing life, post-project. Topics included the power of story; heritage versus history, how to think about audience needs and use, use of stories in trainings, and how to present an interview collection to generate interest in use. (READ MORE HERE) 



TOHA's Oral History Award Winners at Texas History Day

TOHA recognizes outstanding use of oral history in junior and senior individual documentaries entered in the state's annual history fair contest, held the last weekend in April or first weekend in May, in Austin. Texas History Day is sponsored by the Texas State Historical Association, which allows associations like TOHA to present special awards to entries that reflect the particular interests of the organization. This year's theme was "Taking a Stand in History". Check out this year's winners here!




President Perky Biesel, Mark Robbins, Kurt Terry, Kelley Snowden, Linda Reynolds and Secretary-Treasurer Adrienne Cain

TOHA’s joint session for the 121st TSHA Annual Meeting was Using Oral History to Document Rural and Dispersed Communities. This year's session featured presentations from TOHA members was presided by TOHA President Perky Beisel. 

Voices from Small Places – The Murvaul Creek Communities featured the work of presenters Linda Reynolds (Stephen F. Austin State University), Kelley Snowden (University of Texas at Tyler), and Kurt Terry (Stephen F. Austin State University). This team has created an effort to document the history of small communities (population at or less than 100) and uses photographs and stories that residents have deemed important to their community.

The second presentation, Hispanic Labor Communities Oral History Project, featured the work of Mark Robbins (Del Mar College) and Christine Reiser Robbins (Texas A&M University – Kingsville) which documented the history of farm labor communities like Flinn Farm and the Robstown Migrant Farm Labor Camp in south Texas—the latter featured in an article in the Summer/Fall 2015 issue of The Oral History Review.  

Both presentations are evidence of the benefits of cross-disciplinary work and featured the method of conducting place-based oral histories. These presentations also emphasized the importance of building relationships with the community to ensure that the stories reflect the residents and buildings that once inhabited these communities.  

To learn more about each of these projects, please visit their websites:

Voices from Small Places – The Murvaul Creek Area

South Texas Hispanic Farm Labor Communities Oral History Project



Changes to IRB Policy and How It Affects Oral Historians

Oral History Exempt from IRB Review

Depending on your institution, you may be subject to IRB review for your oral history research. There are some changes coming your way that will impact this process. 

In January 2017, the federal policy involving IRB’s and human research was revised and has excluded oral history from its review process. The Oral History Association commented:

The most critical component of the new protocols for oral historians explicitly removes oral history and journalism from the regulations. The final rule provides that, “For purposes of this part, the following activities are deemed not to be [the same type of] research: (1) Scholarly and journalistic activities (e.g., oral history, journalism, biography, literary criticism, legal research, and historical scholarship), including the collection and use of information that focus directly on the specific individuals about whom the information is collected.” 

Please note that this new protocol will not go into effect until January 19, 2018. Read the official ruling here.