University of California – Los Angeles

Repository description: UCLA’s Center for Oral History Research collects oral history interviews related primarily to the history of Southern California and the Los Angeles metropolitan region.

Regulatory significance: These interviews are particularly relevant to local regulatory issues involving Los Angeles as well as broader regional efforts to regulate land use and environmental resources, particularly water. See the complete list of projects.

Relevant projects:
Water for Los Angeles and California Water Resources Development
Seven Decades of Planning and Development in the Los Angeles Region
Environmental Activism in Los Angeles

Digital access: Transcripts are available for many of the oral histories. Audio availability is more limited.

Physical access: Interview transcripts and recordings can be accessed in person at UCLA’s Charles E. Young Research Library Department of Special Collections. Transcripts, but no recordings, of interviews conducted before 2006 are also available in the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley.


University of Florida

Repository description: The University of Florida’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program has more than 5,000 oral history interviews and was founded in 1967. It has aimed to preserve eyewitness accounts of economic, social, political, religious and intellectual life in the South. Major projects focused on Native American, African American, military, and Florida county-specific history.

Regulatory significance: The SPOHP has several collections related to regulation in the state of Florida, particularly as it has involved the environment and growth management.

Relevant projects:
Florida Water Management
Everglades Oral History Collection
Florida Growth Management Oral History Collection

Digital access: The SPOHP is in the midst of a digitization project, but currently, only a small percentage of the repository’s transcripts are available online.

Physical access: Archived materials are available at Pugh Hall at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.


University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Repository description: Founded in 1973, the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has collected more than 5,000 interviews. Many of the projects attempt to capture community change in the South through interviews with ordinary people, but some projects have focused on more elite political and economic actors.

Regulatory significance: The regulatory dimensions of many of these oral histories are rarely at the center of the SOHP’s projects, but several collections of interviews explore regulations related to race and agriculture. A few projects expose the views of southern businessmen regarding environmental and labor regulations, as well as the deregulation of international trade. Very few interviews pertain to day-to-day regulatory procedures from the regulators’ point-of-view.

Relevant projects:
Integration and Health Care in North Carolina
Tobacco, History, and Memory in eastern North Carolina
North Carolina Business History Project

Digital access: Transcripts for the bulk of the collection are available online. Audio for many interviews is online as well.

Physical access: Transcripts, audio, and other archival materials are available at the Southern Historical Collection at the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC.


Baylor University

Repository description: The Institute for Oral History at Baylor University has collected more than 5,000 oral histories since 1970. With a focus on Texas, the Institute describes its principle research areas as religion and culture, civil rights, music and theater, historic preservation, rural life, and women’s studies, as well as selected topics in economics, law, education, and politics. It also has significant holdings on Baylor University, Texas Baptists, Hispanic Baptists, and Waco and McLennan County, Texas.

Regulatory significance: This repository should prove valuable to researchers interested in agricultural regulation, including price setting, inspection, standard setting, and self-regulatory organizations; environmental regulation, particularly as related to the oil industry and agriculture; local regulation, especially related to historic preservation; and to a lesser extent labor regulation.

Relevant projects:
Texas Cotton Farmers

Digital access: Approximately 1,500 interviews have been transcribed digitally with pdfs available through the Institute’s digital collection. Digital audio is available for only a few interviews online.

Physical access: The collection is available to researchers and housed on the third floor of the Carroll Library at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.


University of Kentucky

Repository description: The Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky in Lexington houses almost 9,000 interviews. The program concentrates on twentieth century Kentucky history with an emphasis on political history, Appalachia, Kentucky writers, and agriculture. Many of them focus on state-specific industries: coal mining, horse racing, and distilling.

Regulatory significance: The projects and interviews that involve regulation are typically related to the state-specific industries of coal mining, horse racing, and distilling. Other regulatory topics include agricultural regulation, worker safety, and lobbying by trade associations.

Relevant projects:
Tobacco Production Technology and Policy Oral History Project
Farm Organizations Oral History Project
Farm Safety Oral History Project
Bourbon in Kentucky Oral History Collection

Digital access: This repository has numerous relevant projects that are not available online, though a growing number of its oral histories are available online.

Physical access: For complete access, visit the Special Collections Library at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.


The Bourbon in Kentucky Oral History Collection (18 interviews) involves some discussion of government regulation of the liquor. Thirteen interviews about the Buffalo Trace Distillery are accessible online as video with transcripts.


University of Texas – Austin

Repository description: The University of Texas at Austin does not appear to have a central oral history program, but it does house several oral history collections that have been produced at the university going back to the 1950s.

Regulatory significance: The collection on the oil industry is extensive and should shed light on early attempts to regulate its extraction, with some ancillary information on oil finance and transportation regulation. Less clear is the significance of the Texas House Speakers project.

Relevant projects:
Oral History of the Texas Oil Industry
Texas House Speakers Oral History Project

Digital access: A few oral history collections have some digital access, such as UT’s oral history project of the American latino experience. Older collections do not appear to have online access.

Physical access: Transcripts, audio, and other archival materials are available at the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas.


California State University – Fullerton

Repository description: The Center for Oral and Public History at California State University, Fullerton has collected more than 5,000 interviews since 1968, when students helped push for an oral history program. Though much of the collection focuses on southern California and community histories, it also has numerous projects related to other areas of the U.S. west.

Regulatory significance: Researchers interested in local regulation of business and land use development as well as those interested in environmental and labor regulation will find several relevant projects.

Relevant projects:
Colorado Coal Mining Project
Brea-Olinda Community History
Kaiparowits Power Project in southeastern Utah
Various other community history projects

Digital access: Very little of the collection is available online in the form of either transcript or audio. Relatively few project abstracts are currently available, but more of them should be by the end of 2013. Researchers should call for more information; transcript pdfs are made and e-mailed for a small fee.

Physical access: All materials are available at the Cal State Fullerton library, Fullerton, California.


Duke University

Repository description: Duke University houses at least two collections of oral history, at the Sanford Public Policy School’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy and at the Rubenstein Rare Books and Manuscript Library, where oral histories collected by numerous academics—most of them associated with Duke—are housed.

Regulatory significance: The most significant collections of oral histories pertinent to regulation are at the DeWitt Wallace Center. The Behind the Veil collection at Rubenstein explores African American daily life during the Jim Crow era, and some interviews address regulation (and the lack thereof) of employment discrimination and agriculture.

Relevant projects:
Russian Reform
Southern Rural Poverty Project
Financial Crisis Project
Behind the Veil Project

Perspectives on Modern Regulatory Governance Project (interviews conducted by Edward Balleisen; hosted by the Regulatory Oral History Hub)

Digital access: All of the projects listed above have some digital access, though of varying completeness.

Physical access: For access to Rubenstein material, visit the library on Duke University’s West Campus, Durham, NC.

LinksDeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy; Rubenstein Library

University of Virginia – Miller Center

Repository description: The Miller Center at the University of Virginia specializes in presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history. Starting with the Carter administration, it has conducted official oral histories regarding presidential administrations, as well as special projects on Edward Kennedy and Jack Kemp. The Miller Center also links to numerous oral history interviews with administrations prior to Carter that are housed at presidential libraries. In addition to its collection of presidential oral histories, the Miller Center transcribes White House tapes.

Regulatory significance: These interviews offer deep glimpses into the weeds of presidential administrations, including actions with regulatory dimensions. These oral histories focus much more closely on administrative events than on life histories, and the interviews are conducted in teams while interviewees have the option of bringing former assistants.

Relevant projects:
Herbert Hoover
Lyndon B. Johnson
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
George H.W. Bush
William J. Clinton
George W. Bush
Edward Kennedy

Digital access: A significant portion of these interviews offer online transcripts and in some cases audio and video. Some interviews are embargoed or restricted.


University of California – Berkeley

Repository description: The Regional Oral History Office at the University of California – Berkeley has collected more than 4,000 oral histories since 1954. Projects have spanned a wide array of topics, from medicine and technology to government and the arts, but many of them have a focus on the West and California specifically.

Regulatory significance: This is one of the most significant repositories of oral histories related to regulation—particularly business and environmental regulation—that also provides online access to the bulk of its collection. In addition to the projects listed below, see the complete subject listing.

Relevant projects:
Interviews on Business History
California and Regional Land-Use Planning
Interviews on Agricultural History
Interviews on California Water Resources
Ronald Reagan Gubernatorial Era
Slaying the Dragon of Debt

Digital access: Most of these projects provide online access to complete interview transcripts.

Physical access: Audio, transcripts, and other archived materials from these oral histories are available at the Regional Oral History Office in the Bancroft Library at UC-Berkeley, California.


Columbia University

Repository description: Founded in 1948, the Columbia Center for Oral History is the oldest and largest oral history program in the world, with more than 8,000 interviews. The Center was started by historian Allan Nevins, whose interest in the biography of leading political and business figures is reflected in the many projects housed at Columbia that explored presidential administrations, federal agencies, and other bureaucratic interiors. Unfortunately, almost none of the interviews are accessible online.

Regulatory significance: No other repository appears to feature interviews that span time period and regulatory issue as fully as the combined projects at Columbia. Highlighted projects are listed below, but the collection houses many other interviews significant for understanding regulation, such as a 1964 interview with James Landis. Interested researchers should consult the repository subject index to help locate relevant interviews. Center librarians can assist with searching for specific names via an index of names mentioned in oral histories.

Relevant projects:
Federal Communication Commission Project
Social Security Project
Women in the Federal Government Project
Unemployment Insurance Project
Eisenhower Administration Project
Forest History Society
International Negotiations Project
Mining Engineers Project
World Bank Project
Benedum and the Oil Industry Project

Digital access: Only abstracts are available online for most collections.

Physical access: Transcripts and audio files may be accessed at Columbia University’s Butler Library, New York, NY. Some interviews, including older interviews, have restrictions. For unrestricted transcripts, researchers can order a photocopy.