Project description: This is the catch all for business history interviews housed at the Regional Oral History Office at UC – Berkeley. These are interviews with major West Coast players in a wide variety of industries and business sectors: textiles, shipping, banking, agriculture, import-export businesses, etc. Most of the interviews are extensive life histories and transcripts run to hundreds of pages.
Regulatory significance: A large swath of these interviews at least touch on regulatory issues related to the specific industries that the interviewees worked in. This is a very rich collection for exploring the perspective of business on government regulation. Of particular note on financial regulation is an interview with Walter E. Hoadley, former Federal Reserve system director.
Project description: These interviews were conducted in 1981 by the official historian of the Soil Conservation Service, Douglas Helms. The interviews were with “long-time employees,” some of which joined the SCS at its inception in 1935. Employees worked across the country, ranging from Oregon to Alabama.
Regulatory significance: Topics include: National Environmental Policy Act, watershed management, the work of the office of the administrator of the Soil Conservation Service, soil classification system, ways of achieving farmer participation in conservation programs, Civilian Conservation Corps, Great Plains Conservation Program, Strip Mine Commission, forest management, and relationships between SCS and Congress and state governments.
Repository: Iowa State University
Interview dates: 1981
Digital access: No online transcripts or audio.
Physical access: For transcripts and audio, visit the special collections department at Iowa State University.
Project description: The Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society has a collection of more than 150 oral history interviews with judges and lawyers who played significant roles with the circuit, which covers the states in the western U.S. including Alaska and Hawaii. Copies of many of the interviews are available at other repositories, particularly the Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley.
Regulatory significance: No specific information about the content of interviews are available in the finding aid, but this collection could likely contain information on federal regulations as applied and enforced in the U.S. West. This is likely a significant source for judicial rulings on environmental and land-use regulation.
Interview dates: 1987 – present
Digital access: No online access
Physical access: Copies of interview materials may be requested from the historical society, located in Pasadena, California. Visitors must contact the organization in advance. Some materials are available at other institutions. See the finding aid for specifics.
Project description: The Middle District of Florida Historical Society has sponsored an oral history project on federal judges of the Middle District Court, whose jurisdiction includes Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville. About a dozen interviews were conducted by staff members at the University of Florida’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.
Regulatory significance: No specific information about the content of interviews are available in the finding aid, but this collection could likely contain information on federal regulations as applied and enforced in Florida.
Interview dates: 1987-2009
Digital access: No online access
Physical access: Interview materials should be on location at the historical society in Orlando, Florida, but researchers are encouraged to call in advance of any visit.
Project description: The National Institutes of Health have conducted more than 100 interviews, some conducted by the History Associates and some conducted by oral historians on staff at the Office of NIH History.
Regulatory significance: Many of the interviews are highly technical discussions of medical techniques and research, but some of them discuss the evolution of safety regulations for hospitals, medical devices, and diseases like HIV/AIDS.
Interview dates: ~1964-2009
Digital access: Transcripts of many of the interviews are available online.
Physical access: Researchers will need to call or email to make an appointment to visit the Office of NIH History in Bethesda, Maryland.
Collection description: The FDA began its oral history program in the mid 1970s, interviewing staff members towards the end of their careers. Per the oral history program’s description, “Though the program’s early focus was on agency staff directly connected to enforcement work, the History Office today collects oral histories from staff at all levels and across the agency.” More detailed information on the program can be found here.
Regulatory significance: This is a rich collection that explores in great detail the regulatory process from frontline monitoring to higher level rule-making.
Dates: 1974 – present
Digital access: Partial and full transcripts of many of these interviews can be found on the FDA website.
Physical access: Tapes and transcripts of the oral histories are deposited in the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine, in Bethesda, Maryland.
Collection description: According to EPA Order 1000.27 the “EPA History Program” dated March 1992, the EPA must conduct an Oral History Program. Michael H. Gorn and Dennis Williams served as the first historians of the EPA, and conducted the five oral history interviews with administrators and a deputy administrator.
Regulatory significance: Though few in number, the interviews provide rich details on the early history of the EPA and its structural dynamics. Many interviews include comments on the EPA’s relationship with the White House, Congress, OMB, regulated industries, public interest groups, and state and local government. They also include insightful discussions of regulatory conflicts over pesticides, industry emissions, crises like Love Canal, and scientific determinations.
Project description: The FTC catalogues oral histories with eight former commissioners. Only one of these interviews was conducted by the FTC; the rest were conducted for presidential libraries and universities.
Regulatory significance: Some of these interviews deal at length with regulatory issues at the FTC during the commissioners era and beyond—see especially the interview with Mary Gardiner Jones, and to a lesser extent, those with Stephen Spingarn and Lowell B. Mason. Others, such as the interview with Leon Higginbotham, deal mostly with Washington personalities and the longer political biography of the interviewee (particularly in connection with the presidents they served under).
Interview dates: Widely varied
Digital access: Transcripts are available online for interviews with Mary Gardiner Jones (1964-1973); Leon Higginbotham (1962-1964); Stephen Spingarn (1950-1953); Lowell B. Mason (1945-56).
Physical access: Interviews in various repositories, including presidential libraries and Columbia University.
Repository description: The Chemical Heritage Foundation has collected over 425 oral history interviews with leading figures in chemistry and related fields at its Center for Oral History. Projects include the chemical history of electronics, the chemical industry, polymers, and women in science.
Regulatory significance: At least one project is explicitly focused on the creation and implementation of the Toxic Substances Control Act. A few other interviews appear to speak to public and private regulation of chemicals.
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Dates: 1981 – Present
Digital access: Most digital transcripts are only available for a $5 fee.
Repository description: The Forest History Society’s oral history collection includes over 250 interviews with individuals involved in forest management and timber industries. Interviews were first recorded in the 1940s and the project is on-going.
Regulatory significance: At least 16 of these interviews directly address topics of forestry regulation and the impact of other environmental regulations on the practice of forest management by the Forest Service. The impact of the 1911 Mills Act and the 1960 Multiple-Use Forestry Act receives particular attention in multiple interviews. Other topics include public regulation of privately owned forests, uses of public land and timber, and the effects of the Clean Air Act, the clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species act on the activities of the Forest Service. Also of interest is the process through which interest groups, such as the Sierra Club and Chambers of Commerce participate in the policy making process.
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Dates: 1940s – Present
Digital access: Some transcripts available online, some only summarized, and interview compilations available for purchase
Project description: Per the finding aid, these five interviews provide the current and past presidents of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis with the opportunity to reflect on what they perceive to be the key historical events and managerial decisions that have influenced Bank history. The interviews address topics such as policy development and implementation, organization, staffing, building issues, special initiatives, and major operational events.
Regulatory significance: These interviews are instructive regarding financial regulation, particularly as it relates to agriculture and the linkages in the Federal Reserve.
Project description: This collection contains dozens of interviews regarding Marlboro cigarettes, with a heavy focus on how cigarette advertising changed over time both in the U.S. and in other countries. The broad range of interviewees included executives of Philip Morris, advertising agency personnel from Leo Burnett, photographers, production staff, sales and marketing personnel, and Marlboro cowboys.
Regulatory significance: Uncertain, as the interviews are not available online, but this collection likely speaks to health and safety regulation of cigarettes, and particularly cigarette advertising.
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.
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.