Publication Date

March 8, 2010

Perspectives Section

AHA Activities

Post Type

Archives & Records



We have recently been rounding up online oral history projects on AHA Today, rediscovering projects we’ve posted about before as well as unearthing new resources. The site we feature below was so rich with content that it merited its to set it up as its own post.

Studs Terkel: Conversations with America
The late Studs Terkel was a jack-of-all-trades, once serving as “a playwright, a radio news commentator, a sportscaster, a film narrator, a jazz columnist, a disc jockey, and a musical festival host,” but he is most notably known for his role as a radio network personality with impeccable skill to get people to open up and share their raw stories, which eventually earned him a Pulitzer Prize. The site organizes hundreds of Terkel’s recordings around the book in which they were published (descriptions taken from site with minor adjustments):

The Studs Terkel Program: Terkel’s WFMT radio program in Chicago enabled him to explore civic interests and the arts, and to make important connections between the past, the present, and the future.

Division Street: America (23 records): Division Street: America is Studs Terkel’s look at twentieth century urban life in and around Chicago.

Hard Times (71 records): Terkel interviewed hundreds of people across the United States for his book on the Great Depression of the 1930s. In 1973, he selected several interviews that were included in his book to be broadcast in eleven parts on the Studs Terkel Program on WFMT radio. This gallery includes the interviews in those programs.

The Good War (33 records): In The Good War Terkel presents the good, the bad, and the ugly memories of World War II from a perspective of 40 years of after the events.

Race (112 records): For this book Terkel interviewed a cross-section of Americans about their views on race. Though many interviews center in Chicago, people discuss experiences growing up in various locations, their migration experiences from the southern United States, and how they understood racial changes at different points in their lives.

Talking to Myself (10 records): In Talking to Myself, Studs Terkel recounts some of the formative and entertaining incidents from his own life. He was a University of Chicago Law School graduate (1934), a civil service employee, a stage, radio, and movie actor, playwright, jazz columnist, disc jockey, panel moderator, lecturer, film narrator, music festival host, radio news commentator and sportscaster, network personality (“Studs’ Place,” “The Great American Dream Machine”), and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. For more than 40 years he was heard on Chicago’s fine arts radio station WFMT; where each morning he hosted “The Studs Terkel Show.”

Greatest Hits (5 records): A collection of Studs Terkel’s most memorable recordings selected by the author.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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