IEEE Global History Network

Repository description: The IEEE Global History Network has collected almost 500 oral history interviews, principally with electrical engineers.

Regulatory significance: A private organization, IEEE is one of the most significant standard setting bodies for electrical technology in the world. Most of the oral histories focus on the development of computers and other highly technical electrical innovations, but some projects will be of particular interest to researchers interested in private regulation and standard setting. Many of these also discuss government’s role in influencing these standards. Relevant projects include interviews with past presidents, discussion of the merger of AIEE and IRE to form the IEEE in 1963, and dozens of interviews focused on standardization.

Dates: Late 1960s – present

Digital access: Selections, if not full transcripts, of most interviews are available online.

Physical access: Researchers should contact the IEEE History Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey.


Chemical Heritage Foundation

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.


Forest History Society

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.


Minnesota Historical Society

Repository description: With over 1,300 interviews, the Minnesota Historical Society has one of the most extensive oral history collections among repositories that are not universities. Generally focused on Minnesota people and issues, these oral histories typically were conducted by professionally trained oral historians and stretch back to the late 1940s. A high proportion center on business and development.

Regulatory significance: As many of the historical society’s projects have focused on particular industries or development projects, this repository has an unusually rich collection of oral histories involving business regulation, including labor, product safety, and agriculture. It also features oral histories that address land use regulation and environmental issues.

Relevant projects:
Minnesota Powerline Oral History Project
Minnesota Farm Economy Oral History Project
Minnesota Environmental Issues Oral History Project
Red River Valley Sugarbeet Industry Oral History Project
Mississippi Headwaters Board Oral History Project
Pioneers of the Medical Device Industry In Minnesota
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Minnesota Psychiatry

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

Dates: 1948 – present

Digital access: Almost all interviews, including audio and transcripts, are available online. Some interviews include video that is currently only accessible at the historical society’s library.


Securities and Exchange Commission Historical Society

Collection description: A website operated by the Securites and Exchange Commission Historical Society,, hosts over 100 oral histories conducted with former SEC officials and employees. Interviews were largely conducted by the company History Associates. Most entries feature both audio and an edited transcript of the interview.

Regulatory significance: Many interviews delve deep into details of SEC operations. Contains valuable information about all phases of the regulatory process, but particularly rule-making, monitoring, and enforcement.

Location: SEC Historical Society, Washington, DC

Dates: 1964 – present, the majority after 2000.

Access: Open to the public.

Digital access: Most transcripts and audio available online.


Interviewees: More than 160