Historic Charleston Foundation’s Oral History Project began in 2003 as a staff initiative which grew from the realization that Charleston was rapidly losing members of the generation involved with the founding of Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF). At that time, the decision was made to videotape hour-long interviews with former trustees and other pioneers in the preservation movement in Charleston. The goal was to document memories about the founding of HCF and, at the same time, record first-hand accounts of life in Charleston in the early 20th century as well as local preservation efforts during that period. More recently, HCF’s efforts have expanded to include interviews with residents of specific neighborhoods who speak about neighborhood history and their experiences with neighborhood changes over time; owners of historic homes who purchased their home through one of HCF’s revolving fund programs; and Charleston craftspeople whose restoration work has contributed to Charleston’s preservation legacy.
More oral histories will be added as they become available.
The collection of oral histories capturing the history and sea island culture of Edisto Island, South Carolina, stems from two different periods. Two of the interviews (Alice Stevens and Marion Murray) were recorded in the 1990s. The remaining interviews were conducted in 2016. The purpose of the interviews was to gather impressions of Edisto’s unique way of life from a variety of perspectives. These interviews represent the first installment of an ongoing project. The oral history project with Edisto’s most elderly citizens and continues to conduct further interviews to get a broad overview of life on a sea island along the coast of South Carolina.
The Voices of the Santee Delta project's primary purpose will be to record an oral history of this significant biological and historic area. The Santee Delta was once the location of an important branch of the Rice Kingdom, and a slave labor force whose descendants have provided a lasting Gullah culture. The voices are diverse, in ethnicity and occupations, and include biologists, plantation owners, guides, plantation managers, cooks, long time residents, and others. The oral histories (recordings and transcriptions) will reside in a collection at the South Carolina Historical Society.
The “Somebody Had to Do It” project is a multidisciplinary research project documenting the experience of the first African American children to attend formerly all-White schools through video oral histories. The Project takes its name from the often-stated response of the no longer young activists who stepped forward, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, to end educational apartheid. More oral histories from the project will be added as transcriptions are completed.
Founded in 2008, The Citadel Oral History Program seeks to deepen understanding of the Lowcountry’s rich history and culture through the gathering and presentation of recorded memories from area residents. The Program has three main objectives: 1. Program staff and their associates conduct interviews with people from all walks of life in order to promote the study of The College and the region. The resulting recordings and transcriptions are made available to the public as part of The Citadel Oral History Program Collection at the Citadel Archives and Museum and select interviews are made available through this website. 2. Through regular course offerings and independent research projects, COHP provides opportunities for students to experience the challenges and rewards of conducting and preserving oral history interviews. 3. In the interest of promoting best practices in oral history research, COHP offers training through community workshops and consultations. The COHP is also among the founding organizations of the Lowcountry Oral History Alliance, a regional group that promotes oral history research.
The first interviews to be made available online are a part of the "Citadel WWII Alumni History Project." With generous support from the Humanities Council of South Carolina, the Citadel Oral History Program collected thirty interviews with Citadel alumni regarding their experiences during WWII. Journalist and historian Jack Bass conducted the interviews during the Fall of 2008.They serve as a powerful testament to the veterans’ experiences and their critical contributions to the war effort. The digital recordings and transcripts are part of The Citadel Oral History Program Collection at The Citadel Archives and Museum.
For ease of access, this collection can be browsed by series and subseries.
- The Citadel in War and Peace
- Women in World War II
- Charleston and the Long Civil rights Movement
- Working Charleston
- Las Voces del Lowcountry
Interviews with Charlestonians of various backgrounds, recorded in the 1970s and 1980s. The subjects talk about growing up in Charleston and cover such topics as preservation, race relations, the Exposition of 1901, and Charleston's involvement in World War I and World War II.
The Jewish Heritage Collection Oral Histories, archived in Special Collections at the College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library, offer an inside perspective on the lives of Jewish residents of South Carolina’s cities and small towns. The majority of interviews focus on first- and second-generation Americans of the twentieth century, and address topics such as immigration, assimilation, antisemitism, making a living, and religious life. The collection also includes interviews with survivors of the Holocaust and liberators of the camps at the end of World War II, as well as a variety of presentations and panel discussions that cover subjects relevant to the history of Jewish South Carolinians. For interviews not yet online, go to jhc.cofc.edu to see a complete list of oral histories available in Special Collections.
The College of Charleston Oral Histories collection seeks to preserve the history and culture of the South Carolina lowcountry through recorded interviews with area residents. Currently highlighted are interviews with production managers, directors, performers and behind-the-scenes contributors from Spoleto Festival, USA in Charleston, SC.
The Avery Research Center houses a variety of oral history interviews, largely documenting African American experiences in the Lowcountry. Oral history projects include the Avery Normal Institute documentation effort and the Sea Island Preservation Initiative.