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Oral History Collections=

Oral History Collections

Overview of the Oral History Collections

The Tamiment Library holds more than 80 oral history collections containing hundreds of interviews with labor leaders, rank-and-file workers, and political activists; audio tapes of speeches, concerts, conferences, memorial meetings, union meetings and other public and private events; and commercial recordings such as radio broadcasts.

These carefully researched interviews are an important part of the library's collections. Paul Buhle's Oral History of the American Left and Debra Bernhardt's New Yorkers at Work are the core oral history collections.

Finding OH Collections

Browse Collections List - Browse an alphabetical list of the library's Oral History Collections in this research guide. The list includes links to finding aids, catalog records, or brief descriptions of the collections.

Some of the collections have been fully processed and cataloged, while others await processing and cataloging.

Cataloged Collections - Some, but not all, of the oral history collections in the Tamiment Library have been cataloged at the collection-level in BobCat. Find them by searching on an individual's or organization's name, subject, or keyword, and limiting to archival holdings. To browse records for the cataloged oral history collections online, do a Basic search in BobCat in the Call Number index under "Oral Histories." There will be links to electronic finding aids for the fully processed oral history collections.

Processed Collections - While the majority of the collections have not yet been cataloged in BobCat or described in finding aids, most of them have minimal descriptions and are accessible to researchers. See the list of oral history collections below to identify collections.

Finding Specific Interviews

To see if the library holds an oral history interview with a specific person or the recording of a particular event, consult the unpublished index to the oral history collections available in the Library. The index lists all interviews in the processed collections by interviewee or event, identifies the collection that contains the interview, gives the date the recording was made, indicates whether a transcript or index is available, and notes whether the interviewee has signed a release form to allow duplication of the interview tape or transcript. After finding an interview in the index, consult the finding aid for the collection if additional information is needed, and request the tape(s), CD(s), and/or transcript(s) on an archival request form.

Transcripts and Indexes

Many of the oral history interviews have been indexed, summarized and/or transcribed. Consult collection finding aids and the unpublished index to see if these are available for specific interviews.

Requesting OH Collections

Researchers may request oral history interviews at the reference desk and listen to them in the Avery Fisher Center on the second floor of Bobst Library. If recordings are on CD, researchers may listen to them in the Tamiment Library's reading room using their own laptops with headphones.

Please note that because of preservation concerns, user copies must be made before researchers may listen to recordings. If a researcher wishes to listen to a recording on site, there is no charge for making a user copy if one is needed. If a researcher wishes to purchase a copy of a recording for reference use outside the library, there is a $10 fee per item. Turn around time is two to three weeks. Please note that the Tamiment Library can NOT make copies of recordings for off site use unless there is a signed release form on file for the recording. For more information, please contact us at


Please note that donor restrictions govern the use of some interviews in the collections and advance permission may be required before access is possible. Finding aids and collection descriptions will identify any restrictions.

As noted above, user copies must be made before researchers may listen to recordings. Contact us at for information.

Help for Unions Developing OH Projects

Unions wishing to develop their own oral history projects may contact Tamiment for assistance. Please contact Chela Weber (212-998-2631; for more information about the oral history collections.

Oral History Collections List

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, District Council 37 Audio (part of the AFSCME, District Council 37 Records collection, WAG 265)

American Federation of Teachers (OH-08)

Asian Garment Workers in NYC (OH-18)

Asian Women United (OH-74) (inventory available)

Association for Union Democracy: Women's Project Records (OH-83) (unprocessed)

Bauman, Mordecai Audiocassettes (OH-55) (inventory available)

Belfrage, Mary and Cedrick (OH-70) (unprocessed)

Bellush, Bernard and Jewel Collection - District Council 37 AFSCME (OH-23)

Bernhardt, Debra (OH-43) (RESTRICTED)

Boni, Albert Interview (OH-62)

Bookchin, Murray (OH-56)

Breitman, George - Tapes (OH-38)

Brooks, Andree Aelion (OH-77) (unprocessed)

Building Trades (OH-45) (inventory available)

Burton Hall Union Democracy Oral History Project (OH-34)

Camp Midvale (OH-15)

Civil Service Technical Guild, Local 375 AFSCME (OH-22)

Cohen, Robert - Interviews: When the Old Left Was Young (OH-79) (inventory available)

Council of Administrators and Supervisors (OH-76) (unprocessed)

Communications Workers of America (OH-26)

Communist Party USA Oral History Collection (OH-65)

Democratic Socialists of America Audiocassettes (OH-58)

District 65 United Auto Workers (OH-19)

Drucker, Peter - Interviews (OH-37)

Ewen, Frederic (OH-52)

Fleischman, Harry - History of American Socialism and Other Topics (OH-25)

Fleischman, Henry - History of American Socialism and Other Topics - Addendum (2005) (OH-53) (inventory available)

Foner, Phil - History of the American Labor Movement (OH-46) (inventory available)

Gender Relations in the Building Trades [closed/permission required] (OH-20)

Gerson, Simon W. (OH-54) (inventory available)

Glazer, Joe - Labor Songs (OH-41)

Guantanamo Media Collection (OH-82) (inventory available)

Harrington, Michael (DSA) Tapes (OH-48) (inventory available)

HERE Local 6 (OH-69) (unprocessed)

Hispanic Apparel Union Officers (OH-04)

Institute for Senior Action (IFSA) (OH-71) (unprocessed)

International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Pullman Porters (OH-21)

Isserman, Maurice - Which Side Were You On? The American Communist Party During the Second World War: Interview Transcripts and Summaries (OH-51)

Isserman, Maurice Interviews (OH-36)

IUOE/IUE/UE (OH-72) (unprocessed)

Jackson, James E. Lecture Audio Tapes (OH-57) (inventory available)

Jewish Labor Committee (OH-27)

Katz, Daniel - International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (OH-49)

Kelley, Robin Kelley - Hammer and Hoe (OH-40)

Labor Songs Collection (OH 16)

Lower East Side Oral History Project (OH-33)

Marcantonio, Vito (OH-84) (unprocessed)

Marine Workers Historical Collection (OH-30)

Marzani, Carl Oral History Collection (OH-42)

Miscellaneous Historic Sound (OH-35)

National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET) Local 15 (OH-32)

National Organization for Women: NYC Chapter (OH-44)

New York City Central Labor Council AFL-CIO (OH-07)

New York City Central Labor Council Meeting (OH-10)

New York City Immigrant Labor History Project (OH-14)

New York City Taxi Driver's Union (OH-28)

New York City Waterfront (OH-60)

New York State AFL-CIO (OH-17)

New Yorkers at Work (OH-01)

Newspaper Guild of New York (OH-67) (unprocessed)

Open Media Collection (OH-78) (inventory available)

Oral History of the American Left-Series 1: Main Collection (OH-02.1)*

Oral History of the American Left-Series 2: Fred Zimring/Barrows Dunham Collection (OH-02.2)

Oral History of the American Left-Series 3: David Leviatin/Reynolds Hills Collection (OH-02.3)

Oral History of the American Left-Series 4: Filmmakers' Tapes (OH-02.4) (The collection is arranged in eleven series: I. Seeing red; II. The Life and Times of the Rosie Riveter; III. A Crime to Fit the Punishment; IV. Tighten Your Belts, Bite the Bullet; V. Anarchism in America; VI. Free Voice of Labor; VII. Trouble on Fashion Ave.; VIII. The Case of the Legless Veteran; IX. Peekskill Work in Progress; X. Columbia Student Strike of 1968; XI. Transcripts of Completed films)

Oral History of the American Left-Series 5: Tamiment Institute Tapes (OH-02.5)

Oral History of the American Left-Series 6: Aleine Austin / Monthly Review and Highlander Folk School Tapes (OH-02.6)

Oral History of the American Left-Series 7: RESTRICTED TAPES (OH-02.7)

Oral History of the American Left-Series 8: Higley Hill Collection (OH-02.8)

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives (OH-73) (inventory available)

Out in the Union: Gays and Lesbians in the Labor Movement, Miriam Frank (OH-39)

Postal Workers Union, New York Metro Area (OH-03)

Produced Audio Tapes and Records (OH-24)

Professional Staff Congress (OH-61) (inventory available)

Public Events in the Tamiment Library (OH-05)

Social Service Employees Union (SSEU) Local 371 (OH-63) (inventory available)

Socialist Workers Party Audio Collection (OH-80) (unprocessed)

Songs of Social Justice (OH-16)

Southern Tenant Farmers Union (OH-29)

Spargel Production Rosie the Riveter Media Collection (OH-81) (unprocessed)

Squatters Collective Project (OH-68) (unprocessed)

Stewardesses for Women's Rights (OH-12)

Tamiment Playhouse Alumni (OH-31)

Taxi Rank and File Coalition (OH-13)

Transport Workers Union (OH-11)

Transport Workers Union Local 100 / Goldstein Interviews (OH-47) (inventory available)

United Federation of Teachers (OH-09)

United Federation of Teachers - Series 2 (OH-09.2)

War Resisters League (OH-50) (inventory available)

WHAM! (OH-66) (inventory available)

Women Hospital Workers (OH-06)

Women Writing Women's Lives (OH-59) (unprocessed)

Updated 07/31/2012

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