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Oral History Collections Research Guide: Mansfield Library Oral History Collections

This guide is a compilation of resources for conducting oral history interviews, as well as information related to select oral history collections available in the Archives and Special Collections of the Mansfield Library.

Our Location

Archives & Special Collections is located on the 4th floor of the Mansfield Library.

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Sample Interview

This interview is one of over 70 in the Bob Brown Collection. The interview below has both the audio and the transcript synced in a searchable, user-friendly format.

In this interview Alec Hansen reminisces about growing up in Butte, Montana during the 1940s and 1950s, and includes rich information about the ethnic diversity of Butte. Hansen discusses working for Montana Governor Forrest Anderson, describing the governor’s work style and vision for Montana state politics, as well as the role of the Miner's Union in Butte culture.

Alec Hansen - OH 396-67

A Miner's Day in Butte

A great day in Butte, Miners' Union Day

Photo Number 86.0084, N.A. Forsyth, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, The University of Montana

Our Collection

Oral Histories

Over 2,500 oral history recordings are available from the Mansfield Library's Archives and Special Collections. The majority of our oral histories can be found using the library's OneSearch or by using the search box on the Archives and Special Collections homepage. Audio recordings and transcripts for most of our oral histories are located in cabinets just outside the Archives and Special Collections room and are available for checkout from the library.

Tips for Searching OneSearch

All of our oral history interviews consist of a call number that includes OH (for oral history) and a series of numbers 4 digits-3 digits. For example: OH 0396-067. you can search our catalog for specific call numbers in the format mentioned above, or if you know the name of the interviewee search their name followed by the word interview. For example: Alec Hansen Interview. You can also search for oral histories using subjects, such as forestry, with interview as the title, limiting the format to audio, and specifying the location as Archives and Special Collections.

Digital Collections

Several of our oral history collections are now available online via ScholarWorks.

Spotlight Collections

Mike Mansfield Oral History Collection (OH 022)

This collection of 409 tapes consists of speeches by and interviews with Senator and U.S. ambassador to Japan Mike Mansfield between November 20, 1951 to September 10, 1985. Mansfield discusses U.S. foreign policy, especially with Europe and Asia, economic developments in Montana and elsewhere, relationships between the U.S. and Asia, and U.S.-Japanese trade and military relations. This collection also contains interviews and speeches by others, who have concerns regarding Montana and Northwest economic development and the Vietnam War, that were of interest to Mansfield.

Terence D. McGlynn Oral History Collection (OH 038)

This collection of interviews conducted around 1970 feature Terrence D. McGlynn discussions of the ghost towns of Montana including a current description of each town, a brief history and general directions on the town’s location. The towns included are Elkhorn, Granite, Marysville, Pioneer, Rimini, Red Lion, Virginia City, Bannack, Alder Gulch, Garnet, Bearmouth, Highland, Pony, Castle, Neihart, Landusky, etc. There are 6 sixty-minute tapes.

Montana Women’s Oral History Collection (OH 049)

This collection consists of sixty-nine interviews conducted between 1977 and 1980 and include stories from forty-eight women who recount living in Montana during the 1900s. they describe homesteading, marriage, attitudes, social life and social activism. Additionally, many discuss their work activities associated with teaching, ranching, rodeoing, politics, nursing and religion.

Twentieth Century Fur Traders in Montana (OH 099)

This collection of 27 tapes include interviews conducted between 1980 and 1982, which contain stories from eighteen individuals who were trappers, fur buyers, game wardens and wildlife managers. They discuss their trapping experiences, predator control, the history of trapping in Montana and trapping technology.

The Depression Years Oral History Collection (OH 131)

This collection consists of 58 tapes and include interviews conducted in 1984 in which forty individuals describe their lives in Montana during the Depression. Topics discussed include employment, education, farming, the timber industry, the state legislature federal programs, the effect on family life, and social activities.

Your Librarian

Donna McCrea
Head of Archives & Special Collections / Professor

Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library

(406) 243-4403