Jimmy Carter Library

The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum website hosts an inventory of oral histories created by multiple research projects, and housed in several repositories, pertaining to the Carter Administration and Carter’s post-presidential diplomatic and humanitarian career. Selected interviews have transcripts available online.  The Carter Library’s full inventory of oral histories is available at their website.

A sampling of transcribed interviews identified materials from the Carter Library’s “Exit Interview Project” and the University of Virginia’s Miller Center “Carter Project” (also cataloged at the Carter library) containing significant content of interest to scholars of regulation. These interviews are especially useful for those interested in deregulation and in consumer protection.

National Archives personnel conducted exit interviews with Carter Administration staffers at all levels as they completed their terms in office. The bulk of these interviews occurred during and immediately following the transition between the Carter and Regan administrations. They focus primarily on administrative and legislative process, although they do offer some assessments of the administration’s overall accomplishments. The Miller Center’s interviews took place in the 1980s, and interviewees were high-ranking officials rather than lower-level staffers. These interviews focus on assessments of the administration’s work as well as economic and ideological approaches to regulatory policy.

Interviews pertaining to deregulation cover legislative and administrative processes during the Carter Administration as well as the political and ideological impetus behind the deregulation movement that characterized Carter’s legislative agenda. Topics include the deregulation of the trucking and airline industries.  Interviews, especially those from the Exit Interview collection, place heavy emphasis on the actions of the White House’s Office of Domestic Policy in achieving deregulatory goals. The details surrounding the passage of legislation deregulating the trucking and airline industries receive particular attention.

The Cater years also saw the defeat of a bill that would have created a cabinet-level consumer protection agency within the federal government. Interviews with officials associated with the Office of Consumer Affairs detail the failed attempt to pass the Consumer Protection Act, including negotiations with Congress, the degree to which the Carter Administration supported the bill. Also of interest are interviews that detail the administrative efforts of the Office of Consumer Affairs staff to increase the office’s standing to weigh in on behalf of consumers in the regulatory policy development of other agencies.

Other topics, which received less coverage, include the accident at Three Mile Island, the EPA, FDA, and OSHA.

Suggested Keywords:  Deregulation; Domestic Policy Office; ICC; FCC; Consumer Protection Act; Office of Consumer Affairs; Three Mile Island; NRC; EPA; Clean Air Act; Federal Energy Administration; OSHA

Summary by:  Elizabeth Brake

North Carolina Business History Project

Project description: These interviews are with leaders of traditional and emergent North Carolina industries, such as furniture, banking, tobacco products, textiles, poultry, food and food services, tourism, pharmaceuticals, computers, and steel. Interviewees describe the origins and evolution of their companies as well as the changes and problems they confront. They are also asked about the impact of businesses on the communities in which they operate and about the regional, national, and global developments that will affect their future prospects. [Description from the finding aid]

Regulatory significance: Many interviewees discuss government regulation of their businesses, often in a negative context and as an additional reason for competitive problems during the 1970s and 1980s.

RepositoryUniversity of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Interview dates: 1995 – 1997

Digital access: Transcripts for many of these interviews are available online.

Physical access: For access to all audio and archived material, visit the Southern Historical Collection at the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC.

Link: North Carolina Business History Project

Farm Safety Oral History Project

Project description: Thirty two interviews with farmers in Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee, focused on occupational health concerns. Topics include chemical use, work-place accidents, and availability of medical care in rural areas.

RepositoryUniversity of Kentucky

Digital access: Only brief abstracts available online.

Physical access: For access to transcripts and audio, visit the Special Collections Library at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.

Link: http://www.kentuckyoralhistory.org/series/18936/farm-safety-oral-history-project

Tobacco Production Technology and Policy Oral History Project

Project description: This project contains 55 interviews concerning the production of tobacco in Kentucky. Topics include tobacco farming practices, tobacco marketing, commercial farming, subsistence farming, farm mechanization, agricultural technology, government programs, division of farm labor, raising livestock, farm specializations, land use, family histories, education, and health issues.

Repository: University of Kentucky

Digital access: No online access

Physical access: For access to all transcripts and audio, visit the Special Collections Library at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.

Link: http://www.kentuckyoralhistory.org/series/18828/tobacco-production-technology-and-policy-oral-history-proJect%20%0d

Ronald Reagan Gubernatorial Era

Project description: This is the catch all for interviews housed at the Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) at UC – Berkeley related to Ronald Reagan’s gubernatorial administration from 1967 – 1975. ROHO also lists relevant interviews housed at other California repositories.

Regulatory significance: Interviews cover a variety of regulatory topics, including consumer affairs, financial regulation, health care, and farm labor conditions.

RepositoryUniversity of California – Berkeley

Interview dates: 1980 – 1989

Digital access: Transcripts for interviews housed at ROHO are available online.

Physical access: For access to all transcripts and audio, visit the Bancroft Library at UC-Berkeley, California.

Link: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/ROHO/collections/subjectarea/pol_gov/reagan.html

Interviews on Business History

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.

Repository: University of California – Berkeley

Interview dates: 1955 – present

Digital access: Transcripts for these interviews are available online.

Physical access: For access to all transcripts and audio, visit the Bancroft Library at UC-Berkeley, California.

Link: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/ROHO/collections/subjectarea/business/businesst.html

Washington State Oral History Program

Collection description: The Washington State Legislature maintains an oral history program that collects interviews with influential legislators, from the 1930s onward. Most of the interviews are conducted in a biographically oriented life history style, and are extremely long, running to more than 500 pages as transcripts. Interviewees address their experience in the Washington State Legislature as well as other experiences in the private sector and federal office.

Regulatory significance: These interviews cover a gamut of regulatory issues at the state level, including labor regulation, environmental regulation, and the role of lobbyists.

Location: Washington State Legislature in Olympia, Washington

Dates: 1983 – present

Access: Open to the public

Digital access: Transcripts for all but the most recent interviews are available online, as well as other digital material including photos and biographies.

URL: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/oralhistory/

Interviewees: ~24

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.

Linkhttp://dewitt.sanford.duke.edu/rutherfurd-living-history/southern-rural-poverty-collection/

Unemployment Insurance Project

Project description: This project of 15 oral histories provides a survey of the history and development of the Unemployment Insurance Service in the United States. The interviewees discuss the relationship of unemployment insurance to the Social Security Board, to the Department of Labor and to organized labor. They offer useful background on various areas of New Deal activity.

Regulatory significance: This collection deals with a number of regulatory issues related to rule-making, monitoring, and enforcing of unemployment insurance, with interviewees who worked on unemployment insurance from the 1930s up to 1980. According to the project abstract, the participants describe policy development for unemployment insurance in terms of eligibility requirements, disqualification, merit and experience ratings, duration, benefit formulas, and supplemental and temporary extended benefits. There are interesting comparisons of state and federal programs and the degree of control in each case, together with examples of lobbying on state and national levels, and problems of financing the programs.

RepositoryColumbia Center for Oral History

Interview dates: 1980-1982

Digital access: Only abstracts. No online transcripts or audio.

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

Linkhttp://oralhistoryportal.cul.columbia.edu/document.php?id=ldpd_4074555

Interviewees: Ralph Altman; Joseph M. Becker; Geraldine Beideman; Saul Blaustein; Philip Booth; Eveline M. Burns; Ewan Clague; Wilbur J. Cohen; Edward L. Cushman; Margaret M. Dahm; Robert B. Edwards; Robert C. Goodwin; William Haber; Curtis P. Harding; Russell Hibberd; J. Eldred Hill, Jr.; Edward L. Keenan; Leonard Lesser; Wilbur D. Mills; William U. Norwood; William Papier; Beman Pound; George S. Roche; James M. Rosbrow; Harold Rosemont; Murray A. Rubin; Marion Williamson.

Social Security Project

Project description: This project had the dual aim of presenting personal recollections about the origins and early years of social security in the United States, and of exploring the legislative history of medicare. Pioneers in the social insurance movement tell about many who were prominent in its early years, including John B. Andrews, John R. Commons, and Frances Perkins. There are descriptions of the activities and personnel of the American Association for Labor Legislation and the American Association for Social Security. Special emphasis is given to experiences with the Committee on Economic Security and the growth and organization of the Social Security Board. Recollections of early attempts to enact government health insurance, the work of the Committee on Costs of Medical Care and the Committee on Economic Security, the National Health Conference of 1938, the Wagner Bill, 1939, the Wagner-Murray-Dingell Bill, and the Forand Bill, 1957, provide background about the precursors of the medicare program. The bulk of the Medicare recollections focus on the period 1960-65. Included are interviews of members of the Social Security Administration, the Kennedy entourage, organized labor, the National Council of Senior Citizens, the United States Senate, the insurance industry, Blue Cross, the House Ways and Means Committee, the American Hospital Association, and American Medical Association. [Description from the finding aid]

Regulatory significance: This collection will be of immense value to researchers interested in the origins of social insurance programs in the United States for the elderly, specifically the Social Security Act of 1935 and the 1965 revision that resulted in Medicare. Several interviewees reflect on the role of the American Medical Association and other lobbyists who tried to influence the acts, and should shed light on the evolution of co-regulation (regulation in this case of medical care by both public and private entities). Given the range of interviewees, this collection should also be a rich source for a wider range of regulatory activity across other agencies and levels of government.

RepositoryColumbia Center for Oral History

Interview dates: 1965-1967

Digital access: Only abstracts. No online transcripts or audio.

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

Linkhttp://oralhistoryportal.cul.columbia.edu/document.php?id=ldpd_4072542

Colorado Coal Mining Project

Project description: The Colorado Coal Mining Project consists of approximately 20 interviews focused on the mining of coal and on coal mining communities in Colorado. Of primary concern are the 1914 coal miners’ strike and the Great Depression.

Regulatory significance: Three interviews discuss working conditions, mine safety, and the effect of mining regulations on worker safety.

Repository: Center for Oral and Public History, California State University – Fullerton

Interview dates: 1970-1971

Digital access: No online availability.

Link: http://coph.fullerton.edu/coloradoCoalMining.asp

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.

Linkhttp://collections.mnhs.org/voicesofmn/index.php/10002533

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.

Linkhttp://collections.mnhs.org/voicesofmn/index.php/10003897

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Collection description: At least two projects have collected interviews with former EEOC administrators and staff. In 1999, students at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) conducted eight oral history interviews with former EEOC staff members. Additionally, the EEOC conducted video interviews with about a dozen EEOC staff members and other stakeholders for its 35th anniversary.

Regulatory significance: Some of the interviews contain rich information regarding the evolution of the EEOC, on the ground investigations and enforcement, its relationship with employers and labor unions, and intraoffice conflicts.

Dates: 1999-2000

Digital access: Transcripts—some full, some partial, and some merely summary—of interviews conducted through Southwest Texas State University are available online. The links to video interviews conducted by the EEOC appear to be broken, and full transcripts are not available.

Interviewees: ~20