[This blog post was written by Matthew Peek, Military Collection Archivist for the State Archives of North Carolina.]
1st Lt. Bennis M. Blue (third from right) pictured during parachute jump training for the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 1978. Blue was the first female officer of the 82nd Airborne. From the Bennis M. Blue Papers, Cold War Papers, Military Collection.
The Military Collection at the State Archives of North Carolina is excited to announce the launch of the digital Veterans Oral History Collection through the North Carolina Digital Collections. The interviews, conducted since 2015 as audio interviews, are part of the Military Collection’s North Carolina Veterans Oral History Program, whose goal is to capture and provide access to the memories and experiences of the military servicemen and servicewomen from North Carolina, preserving them for the future scholarship. The collection is comprised of more than 1,100 oral history interviews, the majority of which are in analog formats and scheduled for future digitization. These initial 25 interviews—all conducted with state-of-the-art digital audio recorders used by the State Archives—document veterans from World War II to the Iraq War, as well as individuals serving during peacetime.
The interviews include: a U.S. Army helicopter crew chief who flew missions in Cambodia during the Vietnam War; women who served during the integration of the Women’s Army Corps into the regular Army in 1978; a U.S. Air Force Russian language specialist conducting radio communications surveillance by aircraft of Soviet Union radio communications from the northern Arctic coast of Russia during the 1970s; and a woman whose family farm was taken under eminent domain for the creation of Camp Butner in 1942. There are also interviews with Vietnam War intelligence officers, U.S. Air Force communications specialists during the era around the September 11th attacks and the early days of the Iraq War, and a U.S. Army Air Force as a tail gunner with the 14th Air Force in China during WWII.
Additional interviews will be added as they are conducted in the coming years. The audio is available for streaming only through the Internet Archive, linked through pages on the North Carolina Digital Collections. In the future, interview summaries with subjects and time dates will be uploaded, to increase access to the interviews. Digital copies of the interviews can be ordered through the State Archives’ Reference Unit under the duplication services for audiovisual materials.
Ever wonder about the intricacies of a North Carolina Senate session? Want to find out what was discussed prior to the passing of a certain bill? Now you can through the newly uploaded Senate audio hosted via the Internet Archive. Links to each legislation day are available through the North Carolina Digital Collection website under, Senate Audio. Audio files can either be streamed online or downloaded for listener convenience. This collection currently provides access to almost 300 days from 2006 through 2010. Recordings made prior to 2006 are held at the State Archives and made available through a fee-based, digitization-on-demand basis. More Senate-related materials can also be found in the Archives including the Senate Clerk’s Office journals (SR 66.28) which provide the daily minutes from 1777-1981.
Thirty films from the collections of the State Archives of North Carolina are now available online through the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s “Sights and Sounds” collection. The State Archives films join audio visual materials from ten other institutions in a digitization project funded by the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and the Knight Foundation. For a summary of the project, materials included, and institutions taking part, please see the recent Digital Heritage Center blog post announcing the results of the project.
The State Archives will be closed July 4 for the Independence Day holiday. We will be open on July 5-6, however, so if you were planning on visiting us on Friday or Saturday you don’t have to change your plans.
Other news that you may have missed:
The Charter, the newsletter of the State Archives of North Carolina, is now available online as a PDF.