The Ward M. Canaday Center

for Special Collections

The University of Toledo

Finding Aid

Veterans Oral History Project Collection


Size: 13 lin.ft.

Provenance: Transferred from Dr. Tom Barden, College of Arts and Sciences

Access: open

Related Collections: Veterans History Project, Library of Congress

Processing Note:  The Veterans Oral History Project collection is an ongoing collection, and the inventory will be continuously updated.

Copyright: The literary rights to this collection are assumed to rest with the person(s) responsible for the production of the particular items within the collection, or with their heirs or assigns.  Researchers bear full legal responsibility for the acquisition to publish from any part of said collection per Title 17, United States Code.  The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections may reserve the right to intervene as intermediary at its own discretion.

Completed by:  Debra Marinski, September 20, 2005; updated by Tamara Jones, January 2012

Historical Sketch

            The national Veterans Oral History Project was established in 2000 with a bill passed by Congress, and is overseen by the Library of Congress and the American Folklife Center. Many local satellites of the project contribute to the larger collection.  These local organizations include museums, veterans organizations, history and military associations, universities, archival repositories, and libraries.  
            The project is a national effort to collect, catalog, and make available to the public the memories and experiences of veterans from America’s wars through audio and visual interviews and the compilation of memorabilia including letters, diaries, maps, photographs, movies, and slides.  The veterans may have served in any of the military branches including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and the Merchant Marines.  Civilians, men, and women are encouraged to participate. 
            According to the Library of Congress, “The mission of the Veterans History Project is to collect the memories, accounts, and documents of war veterans and of those who served in support of them from World War I, World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf wars, and to preserve their stories of experience and service for future generations.”  The goals are to support public learning, get more individuals and institutions involved, and to create a national catalog. 

            The interviewing process has been designed to describe not only the interviewees’ wartime experiences but also their experiences before, during, and after the war, “how the veteran’s service influenced his or her postwar life,” the social aspects of life in the military, and their personal feelings and emotions about their experiences.  

Scope and Content Note

            The Veterans Oral History Project Collection documents the University of Toledo’s involvement in the national project.  It includes files and interviews from veterans from Northwest Ohio who participated in U.S. wars.  To date, most of the interviews have been with veterans of World War II.  The interviews are conducted by volunteers.  The interviewing process is ongoing and the collection is continuously being added to and the inventory updated. 

            The collection is in two series: background files and oral histories.   The background files include copies of all of the paperwork completed by the veterans prior to the interview.  This includes biographical data, the release forms from both the veteran and the volunteer interviewer, and an outline of the topics covered during the interview.  Also included in some files, are copies of manuscript materials documenting the war experiences of the veterans and photographs taken at the time of the interview.

            The original audio tape and paperwork have been forwarded to the Library of Congress for permanent preservation as part of the national Veterans Oral History Project.

Series List


Background Files
5 linear ft.
Arranged alphabetically by last name.
The files include the name, date, and location of the interview, biographical information, release forms (interviewer and interviewee), a photograph of the interviewee, checklist, and manuscript data sheet and photograph log when applicable.


Oral histories
8 linear ft.
This series includes the audiotapes of the interviews.  The name, birth date, interview date, and location of the interview are written on the tapes. 




Last Updated: 6/9/16