Veterans History Project
 
 
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Veterans History Project

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We are proud to be a national partner of the Veterans History Project, an initiative of the Library of Congress. As such, we have agreed to participate in the collection and cataloguing of oral and written histories of World War II veterans, as well as veterans of the Manhattan Project. We are proud to be a part of such an important project.

Background

There are 19 million war veterans living in the United States today, but every day we lose 1,500 of them. Motivated by the urgent need to collect the stories and experiences of war veterans while they are still among us, the United States Congress created the Veterans History Project. The authorizing legislation, sponsored by Representatives Ron Kind, Amo Houghton, and Steny Hoyer in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senators Max Cleland and Chuck Hagel in the U.S. Senate, received unanimous support and was signed into law by President Clinton on October 27, 2000. Public Law 106-380 calls upon the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress to collect and preserve audio- and video-taped oral histories, along with documentary materials such as letters, diaries, maps, photographs, and home movies, of America's war veterans and those who served in support of them.

The Veterans History Project covers World War I, World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf wars. It includes all participants of those wars--men and women, civilian and military. It documents the contributions of civilian volunteers, support staff, and war industry workers as well as the experiences of military personnel from all ranks and all branches of service--the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard and Merchant Marine.

Knowing that this and future generations of Americans have much to learn from those who served, we at the Library of Congress and the American Folklife Center have embraced this project. We encourage you to read the information and instructions on this Web site and to join us in making the Veterans History Project a success.

Our Five-Star Council

Assisting us in our work is our Five-Star Council. This is a group of prominent leaders invited by the Librarian of Congress to advise the project and bring it increased visibility nationwide. Members of the Five-Star Council include veterans, elected officials, historians, and journalists, each with a relevant personal connection to this endeavor.

What You Can Do

All Americans are encouraged to participate. By interviewing a veteran or war worker as part of the Veterans History Project, you honor those who served our nation during difficult and dangerous periods in our past. You are participating in a national project initiated by Congress to promote public learning and to encourage discussion across the generations about our nation's wartime activities. Interviewers might be veterans comparing their experiences with fellow veterans who fought in previous wars. They may be students talking with veterans and home front supporters within their local communities as part of school projects. Or they may be grandsons and granddaughters coaxing grandparents to share their memories of America at war.

Sharing stories and gathering reminiscences will have an immediate impact on both you and the narrators who participate in your interviews. Even if you should forget your tape recorder, video camera, or notebook, you and the men and women with whom you speak would not leave the interviews empty-handed. Veterans and war workers will take away a sense of pride in their contributions to America's war efforts. They will gain the satisfaction of knowing that they are passing on to you firsthand knowledge about the realities of war and the everyday acts of sacrifice and heroism that accompany it. You and others who conduct the interviews will also be enriched. You will leave with a better understanding of our nation's past and a newfound respect for the men and women who served their nation during wartime.

Please Help Us Preserve the Nation's Memory

The immediate personal benefits of interviewing a war veteran should not be underestimated. But don't let your involvement end there. It is essential to recognize, as Congress did, the importance of preserving a permanent record of your interviews for future generations of Americans to consult. Please follow carefully the instructions in the Project Kit to ensure that your recording lasts and will be accessible to researchers and the public, both now and in the future. Plan to donate your interview to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress or to one of our partner institutions in your area who will help us preserve the National Veterans History Collection. Your cooperation will greatly assist the Library of Congress and the American Folklife Center in organizing and making publicly available this large and important collection.

The Library of Congress will create a catalog of all oral histories and other documentation collected as a result of the Veterans History Project, including those items preserved at other sites by participating partners. The names of all veterans and civilians who are interviewed or whose letters, diaries, and other documents are donated to the National Veterans History Collection will appear on this Web site in the future. The Library will also develop online presentations of selected portions of the collection for its popular American Memory Web site as an educational resource for the American people.

How You Can Begin

We invite both veterans and non-veterans to join our Volunteer Corps. Volunteers are the individuals who interview war veterans and identify documents to donate. If you are a veteran, you possess a valuable resource in your war memories and military knowledge, and we especially encourage you to participate as both an interviewer and an interviewee. Our Project Kit contains all the information and forms you need to participate as a volunteer interviewer.

Become An Official Partner

Groups are also encouraged to participate in the Veterans History Project. Libraries, museums, and civic groups can start their own local projects. Veterans associations, military and history organizations, institutions of higher education, and ongoing veterans oral history projects can become Official Partners of the Veterans History Project, at which point their names and addresses are added to our List of Official Partners. Teachers and students, participants in after-school programs, and youth groups may become Official Youth Partners

Contact Information

MAIL ADVISORY

The delivery of mail to the Library of Congress via the U.S. Postal Service has been suspended since October 17 because of security concerns. We are accepting deliveries from commercial services such as UPS and Federal Express, which are unaffected by the current postal ban. Until normal mail service resumes, you may wish to contact us via email, fax, or telephone at the addresses and numbers below.

If you sent the Veterans History Project partner forms, requests for information, or interviews and collection materials since mid-October, we regret that we have not yet received them. All mail is being held safely off-site until a new processing facility and handling procedures have been established. You will receive a response from us as soon as possible once our mail delivery resumes. We appreciate your patience.

Veterans History Project
Phone:
Message Line:
FAX:
Email:
Web Site URL:

(202) 707-4916
1-888-371-5848
(202) 252-2046
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http://www.loc.gov/folklife/vets/
Ellen McCulloch-Lovell
Director
(202) 707-4916
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Peter Bartis
Project Manager
Contact for Military and Veterans Organizations
and Associations
(202) 707-4919
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Sarah Rouse
Program Officer
Contact for Museums, Libraries, Civic Organizations, University and Classroom Programs
(202) 707-0213
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Janice E. Ruth
Program Officer

Contact for Archives, Libraries, and Women's Organizations
(202) 707-4918
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Virginia Sorkin
Program Officer

Contact for Veterans Affairs Organizations, World War I Veterans, and Special Events
(202) 707-4412
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Tim Roberts
Administrative Officer
Contact for Administrative Assistance
(202) 707-4916
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More Information

PLEASE MAIL INQUIRIES OR MATERIAL TO:
The Veterans History Project
American Folklife Center
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave., SE
Washington DC 20540-4615

Mission Statement

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 during 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.

Goals:

  • To stimulate opportunities for public learning, by inviting, advising, and supporting individuals and groups as participants in the Veterans History Project.

  • To engage veterans associations, military organizations, institutions of higher learning, historical societies, civic groups, and ongoing veterans oral history projects as partners in the effort to identify, interview, and collect documents from war veterans and those who served in support of them.

  • To preserve and present the collected materials to the public, through the National Digital Library Program, exhibitions, publications, and public programs.
  • To identify existing and ongoing veterans oral history programs and archives, and recognize and work with them to expand the Library's Veterans History Project initiative.

  • To create a comprehensive, searchable national catalog of all oral histories and other documentation collected as a result of this project.

How You Can Help

We are looking for volunteers who would be willing to assist us in locating and contacting World War II veterans for the purpose of recording (audio or visual) their experiences. Although our main focus remains on Manhattan Project veterans (both civilian and military), we have agreed to participate in the collection of data from ALL World War II veterans. This will include civilians who worked in support of the armed forces during World War II.

This is a particularly good opportunity for high school students to participate in a community service and at the same time broaden their knowledge of one of the most important events of the twentieth century.

Please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress

 
 
 
 

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