Thomas L. Charlton

Lifetime Achievement Award

In 1999 the Texas Oral History Association initiated an award to bring recognition to individuals exemplifying outstanding and continuing contributions to oral history.


  • The individual over a extended period of time employed professional standards in oral history research, including ethical and legal considerations, as described by the Oral History Association General Principles and Best Practices.
  • The individual's research produced oral history recordings, and possibly transcripts, that are preserved and made available for research in an appropriate archive or library.
  • The individual's work is a model for the use of oral history in research.
  • Preference may be given to an individual who has been a participating member of Texas Oral History Association over a period of time, but nominations are open to non-TOHA members.
  • The individual will agree to a recorded interview concerning his/her oral history work and will allow the interview to be published in the TOHA newsletter or journal.


TOHA members are encouraged to submit nominations for this award by completing the Lifetime Achievement Award Nomination Form and returning it and the required attachments to the TOHA headquarters. Nominations will be distributed for evaluation to a TOHA Awards Committee appointed by the TOHA President. Committee members must be TOHA members but do not have to be TOHA Board members. The Awards Committee will read the nomination form and may ask for additional information in order to evaluate an individual candidate. The Awards Committee will present award candidates to the TOHA Board of Directors for approval. Only one award may be presented annually but an award does not have to be made every year.


The award consists of an award certificate in a presentation folder or engraved on a plaque and a lifetime membership in Texas Oral History Association. A resolution statement describing the outstanding characteristics of the individual's contributions to oral history may be developed and presented. Whenever possible, the award will be presented in an appropriate setting by a TOHA member living in the region of the award winner. When required, a TOHA Board member may travel to the site of the presentation and receive reasonable travel mileage reimbursement from TOHA. TOHA will announce the award in its newsletter and website. The Awards Committee will provide information on the award to appropriate local media and/or other historical associations.



To date, eight of the ten recipients of the Thomas L. Charlton Lifetime Achievement Award have been interviewed by other Texas oral historians about their life and experiences in the profession of oral history. In some interviews, details on TOHA's history are shared as well. Short articles have also been written about the first five recipients in the Sound Historian. These interviews and articles are archived by the Baylor University Institute for Oral History and made available via their online database platform, ContentDM. Links to both are provided on each recipient's award page. You can also find a full listing of the interviews for this series HERE.