Repository description: Founded in 1948, the Columbia Center for Oral History is the oldest and largest oral history program in the world, with more than 8,000 interviews. The Center was started by historian Allan Nevins, whose interest in the biography of leading political and business figures is reflected in the many projects housed at Columbia that explored presidential administrations, federal agencies, and other bureaucratic interiors. Unfortunately, almost none of the interviews are accessible online.
Regulatory significance: No other repository appears to feature interviews that span time period and regulatory issue as fully as the combined projects at Columbia. Highlighted projects are listed below, but the collection houses many other interviews significant for understanding regulation, such as a 1964 interview with James Landis. Interested researchers should consult the repository subject index to help locate relevant interviews. Center librarians can assist with searching for specific names via an index of names mentioned in oral histories.
Federal Communication Commission Project
Social Security Project
Women in the Federal Government Project
Unemployment Insurance Project
Eisenhower Administration Project
Forest History Society
International Negotiations Project
Mining Engineers Project
World Bank Project
Benedum and the Oil Industry Project
Digital access: Only abstracts are available online for most collections.
Physical access: Transcripts and audio files may be accessed at Columbia University’s Butler Library, New York, NY. Some interviews, including older interviews, have restrictions. For unrestricted transcripts, researchers can order a photocopy.