Raising Our Voices: Histories in Sound



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Home >> Special Collections & University Archives >> New Notable >> Raising Our Voices: Histories in Sound

SCUA is proud to debut our newest online exhibit and digital project! Entitled “Raising Our Voices: The History of San Diego State and San Diego in Sound,” this extensive online archive of oral histories and audio/video recordings has been made available through the generous support of the Library and of the Friends of the Library, and we are proud to bring it at last to the community!

Special Collections and University Archives holds nearly 1000 audio and video recordings in varying formats which document the history of San Diego State and the city of San Diego. The majority of the recordings are in the form of oral histories and interviews with more than 800 individuals. The breadth and depth and diversity of opinions and expression in the collection, covering a wide variety of subjects, is truly astounding. This collection of spoken word and related recordings is one of the richest and most significant collections of research material held by the Library. Unfortunately, the recordings were very much at risk due to the degradation of magnetic audio tape and other fragile audio/visual formats. Since the recordings are one-of-a-kind, patrons could not listen to the master recordings until duplicate use copies were created, which meant that this extraordinary body of material was heretofore hidden to SDSU students, faculty, and other researchers.

The mission of this grand project was to uncover these recordings, preserve them, and make them fully available to users. Project archivist Kerwin So carried out a massive digitization of over 250 recordings, equaling over 230 hours of audio/visual content! Recordings were selected for content, summarized, and matched with any existing supplementary materials, such as transcripts, photographs, slides, and ephemera. The result is a exceptionally rich online exhibit and digital project which covers a huge number of topics on San Diego State history and the history of San Diego.

The collection consists of four series pertaining to San Diego State University: Faculty Oral Histories, Alumni, Guest Speakers on Campus, and highlights from the University Archives Multimedia Collection. Included in the SDSU series are oral history interviews and talks given by notable faculty and alumni, such as Art Linkletter, Harry Steinmetz, Everett Gee Jackson, Allan Anderson, and Elizabeth Chater. Interviews with early Normal School and Lab School alumni are featured, as are notable events in campus history, such as JFK’s 1963 commencement speech, and the recording of the speech of George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party, and the near-riot that followed, in 1962. Multimedia highlights include KFMB's extensive coverage of JFK's 1963 visit to San Diego, as well as recordings of campus events in the 1930s and more.

Ten series are included in the San Diego portion of the collection: American Indians, Chicano History, History of San Diego Art, The Great Depression, San Diego Zoological Society interviews, Twelve Who Shaped San Diego (a series of radio programs on KPBS), Veterans, Vietnamese Refugees, Women in Politics, and “We Were There,” a local history project which covered topics such as San Diego neighborhoods and the local aviation industry.

Some of our favorite recordings in the exhibit include: oral histories of San Diego State College professor Everett Gee Jackson, Belle Baranceanu, and Leda Klauber in which they discuss the emerging San Diego art scene in the 1930s and 1940s, interviews with World War I veterans, accounts of local survivors of the Great Depression, and an interview with Chicana activist Sonia Lopez.

We’re still putting a few finishing touches on the exhibit, but please enjoy getting lost in these wonderful histories in sound as much as we have! Look for a full index to the recordings and a processed Oral Histories and Recordings Collection coming this Spring.

Contact Us

Special Collections & University Archives Contact

Location: SDSU Library & Information Access, Love Library Room 150
Phone: 619.594.6791
Email: askscua@sdsu.edu

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