Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Northwest Ohio Veterans Oral History Project

Julie Mayle at the Athenaeum
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Hayes Center’s Manuscripts Division recently launched its Northwest Ohio Veterans Oral History Project. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, and make accessible the personal remembrances and recollections of America’s veterans through personal narratives, correspondence, and visual materials. The project focuses on veterans who served from before World War II to the present day conflicts of Afghanistan and Iraq.

This fall Manuscripts Assistant Julie Mayle attended Giving Voice, a conference hosted by the Athenaeum of Philadelphia. The national conference brought together historians and preservation experts to discuss best practices in collecting veterans’ experiences. Julie also learned strategies for preserving audiovisual materials; making them accessible to students and educators; developing exhibits and educational programming.

Julie has begun interviewing veterans in their homes and at various locations. She makes an audio recording of the interview, which, along with scans of photographs, military documents, letters, and diaries, are preserved as part of the Hayes Presidential Center’s Local History Collection. Julie has also uploaded the audio recordings and scans of veterans’ photographs and documents to Youtube and Historypin where anyone can access them and listen to the audio recording. They are also linked on the Hayes Center’s website.

Our local history is an invaluable resource for our community. It offers an open doorway to our past and to the extraordinary individuals who have helped create our community’s story. Although no tribute can truly match the magnitude of our veterans’ service and sacrifice for our nation, we can preserve their remembrances and learn from their experiences.

Julie prepares a packet containing a typed transcription of the interview and a CD of the digital files for each veteran. All of the originals are returned. However, the Hayes Presidential Center would be pleased to accept veterans’ donations of their original letters, photographs, diaries, and documents. Through the years, numerous veterans have donated their collections to the Hayes Center. They are part of the permanent holdings in the Local History Collection.

If you or anyone you know are or were a military veteran and would like to participate in the Hayes Center’s project, please contact Julie Mayle or Curator of Manuscripts Nan Card at 419-332-2081 or email or

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