Project description: This is the catch all for interviews housed at the Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) at UC – Berkeley related to water resources in California. Most of the interviews are with government officials, politicians, conservationists, and academics.
Regulatory significance: These interviews deal in depth with regulatory strategies to conserve water and improve water quality across the 20th century. Interviewees include managers of the Metropolitan Water District, the Department of Water Resources, and various policy entrepreneurs.
Regulatory significance: Some interviews discuss state and federal agriculture, natural resource, and conservation policies and programs. Interviewees include AAA officials, land owners, farmers, and participants in local soil conservation and irrigation districts. See especially interviews on the AAA and cotton with Wofford Camp and Cully Cobb.
Project description: This is the catch all for interviews housed at the Regional Oral History Office at UC – Berkeley related to land-use and planning. These range from interviews with architects, ranchers, land developers, conservationists, state attorneys, and government planners.
Regulatory significance: These interviews provide considerable insight into the evolution of local and regional land-use planning from a wide variety of perspectives. Resource management—particularly water and soil—is a heavy focus, as is coordination among various agencies and levels of government. One set of interviews focuses on the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Several interviews look at resource management and land-use planning in other countries, including Greece, China, Israel and parts of Africa and Latin America.
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 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.
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: This project began in 1967 with the main objective to collect, document, house, and make available for research source material surrounding the development of the computer. The project collected taped oral interviews with individuals who figured prominently in developing or advancing the computer field.
Regulatory significance: At least some interviews speak to issues of private regulatory processes related to standardization of computer language, hardware, etc. A fuller survey of this collection is needed to assess the degree to which it addresses governmental regulation of the computer industry.
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.
Project description: Conducted by PBS Frontline with Duke University’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy, this collection of more than 20 interviews includes many prominent academics, businessmen, and regulators regarding the financial crisis of 2007-2008.
Regulatory significance: These interviews are some of the first available specifically on the financial crisis of 2007-2008. The series presents a variety of perspectives on the crisis and the role of regulation (and deregulation) both in causing the crisis and in its response.
Digital access: Edited transcripts are available online, though navigating them is made more cumbersome by the construct of the Frontline website. Approximately eight interviews are available in full as video.
Project description: These 44 interviews involve people on all sides of a controversy in western Minnesota over the routing of power lines. Per the finding aide, “the controversy escalated as costs of the project rose and additional frustration was created by cumbersome review processes, and by what many protesters saw as excessive concern by the federal and state governments for wildlife areas and highway right of way at the expense of protection for productive farmland.”
Regulatory significance: This project effectively captures a kaleidoscope of views over what tradeoffs regulators should make. Interviewees include politicians, regulators at the Department of Natural Resources, affected farmers, and board members of the electric cooperatives.
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.
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.
Project description: This collection of 17 interviews focuses on the growth of the medical device industry in Minnesota.
Regulatory significance: Many of these interviews discuss regulation of the medical device industry by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Discussions also involve liability, non-U.S. regulation in Europe and South America, and the role of trade groups and state support for the industry.