About the Houston Oral History Project

The Houston Oral History Project is an effort to record and preserve the dynamic history of Houston through the stories and experiences of its residents. It is a collaboration among the Mayor’s Office, the Houston Public Library and the University of Houston.  The Project consists of several parts:

    • The Mayor Bill White Collection: Mayor White commissioned 100 initial interviews, directing that it include well-known political, business and civic leaders as well as witnesses to the events that shaped our city. Historians from the University of Houston, Texas Southern University and Rice University offered guidance and helped develop the initial list of interviewees. Extensive research was done for each interview, professional recording equipment was used and, in many cases, renown community members acted as interviewers.

      The mayor also wanted to make these living histories more useful and accessible to students, academics and historians, so searchable transcripts have been included. All of the interviews have been entered into the digital archives of the Houston Public Library System, under the direction of Dr. Rhea Lawson, copies will also reside with the University of Houston. The library thanks David Goldstein who managed this project.

    • The Neighborhood Voices tapes: In the summer of 2008, citizens came to Houston Public Library locations throughout the city to record their own brief recollections about life in Houston.

    • HMRC Oral Histories: The Houston Metropolitan Research Center of the Houston Public Library recently digitized more than 200 oral histories from the 1970's and 1980's. Created under the direction of Louis Marchiafava, the collection contains interviews with artists, musicians, civil rights activists, politicians and civic leaders who helped define the growth and history of the city.

      Digitization of the collection was funded by a TexTreasures grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission with matching funds from the Friends of the Texas Room, the Houston Oral History Project and the Houston Public Library Foundation.

    • Building Houston Oral History Project: This collection is the result of a partnership between the William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library, a branch of the University of Houston Libraries, and the Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. It includes the oral histories of people who strongly impacted the built environment in the Houston Area. Architects, developers, scholars and philanthropists discuss their work, projects and the influences that shaped Houston. Each subject is interviewed by an architect or architectural scholar who frames the discussion and provides context.


Special Thanks and Acknowledgments

Jill Jewett
Emily Todd
Veronica Juarez
David Goldstein
Suzanne Mascola
Syma Zerkow
Helvia Martell
George Eggleston
Frank Michel
Judith Hiott
Marie Wise
Roland Lemonius
Minnette Boesel
Jim McGrath
Dr. Joe Pratt
Veronica Mosley
Charles Stephenson
Adept Word Management Transcription Experts
Safe Sound Archive