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.



Texas Oral History Association

Ninth Annual (Virtual) Conference | September 11-12, 2020 

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.

Did you miss the conference? You can view the 2020 conference sessions on our YouTube page

This year’s program is made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Stay tuned to this page and our Facebook page for more information and updates regarding our conference. 


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 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.  



Breaking News!

Adrienne News Photo


The TOHA Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of one of its own members, Adrienne Cain, to serve out Lois Myers’s current term as TOHA secretary/treasurer beginning August 1. That’s the date Lois retires and Adrienne joins the Baylor University Institute for Oral History as lecturer and assistant director. Adrienne comes to Baylor from the Houston Public Library, where she served as the Oral History and Media Librarian for the Houston Metropolitan Research Center. In that capacity, she facilitated access to a collection of over 1,500 oral histories through organizing, arranging, describing, transcribing, digitizing, and developing policies and procedures. Prior to joining HMRC, she worked as the Oral History Librarian for the African-American Library at the Gregory School, where she reorganized their collection and significantly increased awareness of the collection along with the amount and quality of the recordings. Due to these efforts, TOHA recognized the Gregory School in 2014 with its Mary Faye Barnes Award for Excellence in Community Oral History.

Adrienne completed her undergraduate work Prairie View A&M University, where she received two bachelor's degrees in English and history, and her graduate work at the University of North Texas, earning the Master in Library Science. As a graduate student, she became acquainted with the world of oral history while serving as an intern in NASA’s Johnson Space Center History Office. She joined TOHA in 2013 and began immediately making contributions. In addition to receiving the TOHA community award in 2014, she attended the annual conference that year in Nacogdoches. In 2015, she presented a paper at the annual conference in Commerce and was elected a member of the Board of Directors. In 2016, she contributed to the annual conference in Waco by chairing a session and presenting the Hendrickson Award during the luncheon and served as a judge for the 2016 Texas History Day competition. Adrienne is also a member of the Oral History Association (OHA) and presented a paper at OHA’s annual meeting in 2015 in Tampa, Florida. She also holds membership in the Society of Southwest Archivists, the Texas Library Association, and Archivists of the Houston Area.

Adrienne comes as TOHA’s third secretary-treasurer in its 33-year history. For her first message to TOHA, she writes, “I am very excited to join the Baylor family as well as serve TOHA in the Secretary/Treasurer role. I am honored to serve in this role within the organization and can’t wait to see what the future holds for TOHA!” Welcome aboard, Adrienne!