Stories from the Collection: Columbia University Oral History Research Office. (Media Reviews)

By Boyd, Doug | The Oral History Review, Summer-Fall 2001 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Stories from the Collection: Columbia University Oral History Research Office. (Media Reviews)


Boyd, Doug, The Oral History Review


STORIES FROM THE COLLECTION: COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH OFFICE. Produced by Charles Hardy III. New York: Columbia University, 1998. CD-ROM, 70 minutes. Sale: $10. Oral History Research Office, Columbia University, 801 Butler Library, Box 20, 535 W. 114th St., MC 1129, New York, NY 10027. (212) 854-7083. oralhist@libraries.cul.columbia.edu.

Though the official title of this work is Stories From the Collection, an alternative title could very well have been Columbia's Greatest Hits. Typically, the release of a "greatest hits" compilation marks the end of a long and distinguished, yet usually declining, career. The life of Columbia's oral history program has, indeed, been long and distinguished. However, the release of this CD, as a part of their fiftieth anniversary celebration, clearly indicates Columbia's continued importance to the field of oral history while showcasing the powerful material contained in this collection.

Stories From the Collection is a compilation of voices ranging from early interviews conducted by program founder Allan Nevins. One hears such notables as Thurgood Marshall discussing his appointment to the United States Supreme Court; Aldino Feliciani, the publisher of an anarchist journal in Bologna, Italy; Helen Suzman, a member of the South African parliament discussing meeting Nelson Mandela for the first time; or Fred Astaire describing the filming of the famed sequence of dancing on the ceiling in the 1951 film Royal Wedding.

Each individual track varies from two and a half to seven minutes in length. The CD is framed on either end with what is titled "A Medley of Voices," quickly crossfading brief samples of multiple voices that offer intriguing bits of information. The voices included in these medleys are those of numerous recognizable and impressive individuals, including Hubert H. Humphrey, James Cagney, Joan Ganz Cooney, Gene Kelly, Kitty Carlisle Hart, and Edward Koch. The technique is a classic radio device functioning to "hook" the listener as well as frame the overall piece, and in this particular instance it works exceptionally well. Of course, this is no surprise given that the producer is Charles Hardy, a talented individual well known for effectively using radio to present oral history.

The production quality of Stories From the Collection is commendable. The subtle performative nuances of both the oral historian and the interviewee are left intact. For example, track two ("The First Interview") contains an excerpt of an interview conducted by Allan Nevins. The clip artfully begins with the initial click of the tape recorder commencing its recording. As Nevins delivers his introductory statement, the levels are far too low, and they are quickly and rather awkwardly adjusted.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Stories from the Collection: Columbia University Oral History Research Office. (Media Reviews)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?