Learn More about the Collection
The voices of the past live on in the H. Furlong Baldwin Library’s collection of more than 650 oral histories that are available for public use. The oral history collection contains interviews, recorded events, speeches, research papers, and other items from 1969 on. Many of the oral histories also contain supplemental materials including tape indexes, interview summaries, newspaper and periodical clippings, ephemera, and photographs.
Visit our Digital Collections to view a sampling of materials from the oral history collections.
Browse or search the oral history guides and inventories in our Finding Aid Database.
Major Oral History Projects and Series
McKeldin-Jackson Project, 1969-1977
The McKeldin-Jackson Project examines the Maryland civil rights movement of the mid-20th century through the medium of oral history by focusing on the experiences of Lillie May Jackson and Theodore R. McKeldin. The project was sponsored by the Maryland Center for History and Culture and was supported in part by a grant from the Maryland Committee for the Humanities and Public Policy.
Baltimore Neighborhood Heritage Project, 1978-1982
The Baltimore Neighborhood Heritage Project is a collection of 234 interviews from residents of seven Baltimore neighborhoods. The interviews focus on complex topics like migration and immigration, racial and ethnic identity, national and local events, community and family life, work, religion, and neighborhood history. These materials were originally part of the Baltimore City Life Museum but were split up and transferred to the Maryland Center for History and Culture’s H. Furlong Baldwin Library and the University of Baltimore’s Langsdale Library when the museum closed in 1997.
Baltimore Interfaith Series, 1974-1976
The Baltimore Interfaith Series is a collection of interviews with Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish religious leaders conducted by Dr. Lenora Nast in preparation for her doctoral dissertation on the role of the clergy in Jewish-Christian relations in Baltimore from 1945 to 1975. Topics include methods to achieve interfaith understanding; the role of politics and the media in interfaith activities; organization and goals of various religious and interfaith organizations; the civil rights movement; the 1963 Gwynn Oak Park demonstrations; and Vietnam War protests.
Requesting Oral Histories
Patrons may request copies of transcripts and audio recordings.
Photocopies of printed materials: 25 cents per page, with a $10 service charge.
Digital files of audio recordings: digitized files are provided at no cost; $10 fee for new digitization.
Copies of transcripts, other printed material, and audio recordings can be requested by filling out the Oral History Reproduction Request Form.
For MCHC policies on acquiring permission to use material from the oral history collections for print or media publications, please see the Oral History Permission to Publish Form.
About the Oral History Collection
The Oral History Office at the Maryland Center for History and Culture was established in 1971. The office never had a full-time staff, with most of the interviews conducted by volunteers and students. Interviews were also obtained from private donors who had conducted interviews for their own purposes but sought a permanent repository for the materials. Local programs, either with short-term funding or ongoing in schools or libraries, have deposited tapes at MCHC or given copies from their collections.
For the first few years of its existence, the Oral History Office conducted interviews primarily on an individual basis. Later, larger-scale interview projects were conducted that coalesced around various themes including civil rights, religion, arts and culture, and sports. The first planned collection of oral histories was the East-West Expressway Collection in 1974.
In 1981 the Oral History Office was terminated due to financing. Since then, additions to the oral history collection have been acquired through donations and by projects conducted by the Education Department at MCHC. The H. Furlong Baldwin Library staff is currently working on inventorying and preparing these oral histories for public use.