Goroskop Maia 2012
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People Talking & Remembering
Talking and Remembering

Oral history is the collection of personal remembrances by an interviewer using a recording device such as a tape recorder or video camera. These first-hand accounts bring to light the everyday routines and perspectives on extraordinary events sometimes long past in a person’s life. Each interview stands on its own as a unique slice of history, as the person being interviewed recalls experiences and shapes them into responses and stories.

Woven together, interviews become a rich source of information about periods of time, events, communities and experiences that might otherwise be overlooked by historians or that are often poorly represented in documentary sources like newspapers, census records or formal photographs.

Tetra Tech, the main contractor to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Davids Island demolition project, conducted about two dozen oral history interviews, with Barbara Davis, New Rochelle’s City Historian, contributing two others. The purpose of the Fort Slocum Oral History Project was to collect and preserve memories of the post from a wide variety of people who lived, served or worked there, complementing historical information about the post available from other sources.


Thirty-one people ranging in age from 50 to 97 gave individual or group interviews to the project. Participants included individuals who were at Fort Slocum in every decade from the 1920s to the 1960s. The project also interviewed one worker involved in the recent demolition of Fort Slocum’s ruins.

Most of the project interviews occurred at participants’ homes across the United States, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and California. Two interviews were conducted by telephone with participants in Texas and California, two interviews took place in New Rochelle, New York, and one occurred on Davids Island.

 

Download the PDF of the Oral History report here