Southern Agriculture Oral History Project

Project description: This project interviewed 159 farmers across the South, focusing on changes in rural communities, technological change, and the financial challenges of farming.

Regulatory significance: At least some interviews from Mississippi include discussion of soil conservation programs. Some interviews likely include discussion of other commodity programs.

RepositoryNational Museum of American History

Interview dates: 1986-1991

Digital access: Only a handful of pictures are available online. No transcripts or audio.

Physical access: Holdings are available to researchers at the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History, in Washington, DC.


USDA Oral History, 1993-2000

Project description: This oral history collection was produced as part of a retrospective on the Clinton Department of Agriculture. Record does not specify the total number of interviewees for the project, but they include Secretaries of Agriculture Dan Glickman and Mike Espy.

Regulatory significance: Uncertain, given the lack of specificity in the finding aid.

Repository: National Agriculture Library

Interview dates: 2000 – 2001

Digital access: None

Physical access: For transcripts and audio, researchers may visit the National Agriculture Library in Washington, DC.

Link: No direct link. Search for “257” (collection number) on this page:

Behind the Veil Project

Project description: This project consists of more than 1,200 interviews conducted across the U.S. South in an effort to document African American daily life during the Jim Crow era.

Regulatory significance: Some of these interviews offer a glimpse at the role of federal regulation in attempting to redress racially discriminatory laws and practices in the Jim Crow South. A few highlight the role of local regulatory bodies, such as agricultural commissions and zoning boards, in perpetuating racial inequality.

Repository: Duke University

Interview dates: Mostly 1993-1997

Digital access: Some interviews are accessible online.

Physical access: Materials, including audio and some transcripts, are available at Duke University, Durham, NC. See the finding aid for more information about specific interviews and restrictions.


Southern Rural Poverty Collection

Project description: This project contains more than 30 interviews with individuals who worked to address southern poverty in their communities up to the early 1990s. The focus of the interviews is on efforts after the passage of major federal civil rights legislation in 1964 and 1965, including those related to Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty.

Regulatory significance: Many of the interviewees discuss issues that stem from overlapping regulatory jurisdictions at the local, state, and federal level. Health care, housing, employment, and agriculture are major themes, and some interviewees discuss environmental regulation to improve the health of the rural poor.

RepositoryDuke University, DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy

Interview dates: 1992-1994

Digital access: Video recordings of the oral histories are available for many interviews, and transcripts are available for almost all of them.


Eisenhower Administration Project

Project description: This project includes more than 350 oral histories from those who played major roles in the Eisenhower Administration (1953-1961), as well as the recollections of observers and of those knowledgeable about special aspects. In addition to General Dwight D. Eisenhower and members of his family, the list of participants below includes members of the White House staff, cabinet members, political advisers, members of Congress, administrators, scientists, journalists, ambassadors, military and civilian specialists, and others in a position to testify about trends and events of the period. In addition to memoirs done under Columbia’s aegis, the series includes twelve donated by Professor Herbert S. Parmet and sixty-eight acquired from the Eisenhower Library through an exchange agreement whereby both institutions share oral history transcripts about Eisenhower, his family, career and administration, under identical restrictions. [Description from finding aid]

Regulatory significance: Numerous interviews involve significant discussions of federal regulatory agencies and Eisenhower policies related to banking, agriculture, budgeting, and nuclear energy.

RepositoryColumbia Center for Oral History

Interview dates: 1962-1972

Digital access: Only abstracts. No online transcripts or audio at Columbia, but check the Eisenhower presidential library for specific interviews.

Physical access: For transcripts and audio, researchers may visit the Columbia Center for Oral History.


Texas Cotton Farmers

Project description: This project includes fourteen interviews with cotton farmers in central Texas. The primary focus is on technological change, industry organization, and global markets for cotton. Most interviewees discuss their family history and how they came to cotton farming before delving into specifics of farming and the cotton business.

Regulatory significance: Some interviews include discussion of cotton allotments, subsidy payments, farmer cooperatives, and international standard setting for cotton grades by industry organizations.

Repository: The Institute for Oral History at Baylor University

Interview dates: 2006-2007

Digital access: These interviews have digital transcripts available online.  (Two of the fourteen are not yet digitized.)

Physical access: For audio, researchers may visit the Institute for Oral History at Baylor University.


Minnesota Farm Economy Oral History Project

Project description: These eighteen interviews explore Minnesota farm life, particularly during the early 20th century. Interviewees discuss their roles and those of various agricultural organizations, and their work in banking and business development on Minnesota’s agricultural economy.

Regulatory significance: Some of these interviews explore the links between financial regulations and agriculture. They also address issues of private regulation through agricultural organizations and lobbying efforts to change agricultural regulatory practice, including price setting. Migrant labor and labor regulation also comes in a few interviews.

RepositoryMinnesota Historical Society

Interview dates: 1988-1992

Digital access: Transcripts, as well as audio and in some cases video, are available online.

Physical access: Audio tapes are kept at the Federal Reserve Bank Library in Minneapolis.


Minnesota Environmental Issues Oral History Project

Project description: This project contains more than 30 interviews with a variety of players in Minnesota environmental regulation. They explore issues such as timber wolf preservation, acid rain control, and forest management policies.

Regulatory significance: These interviews involve a wide range of environmental regulation issues, including use of lawsuits, tradeoffs with agricultural production, the involvement of nonprofits like the Nature Conservancy. Most of the interviewees were involved in these issues as activists and members of nonprofit organizations rather than as governmental regulators.

RepositoryMinnesota Historical Society

Interview dates: 1986-1990

Digital access: Transcripts and audio are available online, as well as photos of many of the interviewees.

Physical access: For any interview not available online, visit the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Red River Valley Sugarbeet Industry Oral History Project

Project description: This project contains 51 interviews with a variety of players in Minnesota sugarbeet industry. Interviews document the American Crystal Sugar Company’s operations in the Red River Valley farming region of Minnesota and North Dakota and the company buyout by the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association. Includes discussion on the sugarbeet industry, including labor, research, and changes in farming methods.

Regulatory significance: Many of the interviews deal with the growers association and its relationship with government regulators, especially attempts to keep a united front. Labor and transportation regulations are also addressed.

RepositoryMinnesota Historical Society

Interview dates: 1987-1990

Digital access: Transcripts and audio are available online, as well as photos of many of the interviewees.

Physical access: Original transcripts and sound cassettes are held by the Northwest Minnesota Historical Center, Moorhead.


Mississippi Headwaters Board Oral History Project

Project description: Per the finding aide, the Mississippi Headwaters Board was created to coordinate the identification and protection of the natural, cultural, historical, scientific, and recreational values of the first 400 miles of the Mississippi River. Its work centered on eight counties in north central Minnesota through which this portion of the river flows. The 14 people interviewed discuss their own river-related activities, as well as their observations on changes in recreational, commercial, and residential use of the river and its shoreline. Many of the interviews include comments on water quality, floods, droughts, dam construction, fishing, wildlife, and conservation.

Regulatory significance: Collection deals with many issues of local environmental regulation, including water quality ordinances, and trade-offs with business interests—particularly agriculture and development.

RepositoryMinnesota Historical Society

Interview dates: 1999-2001. Interviews conducted with people associated with the Mississippi River during the period 1910-1960.

Digital access: Transcripts are available online, as well as photos of many of the interviewees.

Physical access: The tapes are held by Mississippi Headwaters Board, Walker, Minnesota.