Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
RGV Oral History Collection
Special Collections & University Archives collects and supports oral history research conducted with members of the community to preserve the cultural heritage of our region.
The Rio Grande Valley Oral History Collection consists of over 500 digitized oral histories recorded and collected by faculty, staff, students, and community members and donated to the University Library. Oral histories provide unique, and in many instances, otherwise unavailable written information, and as such provide valuable insight into life in the region, including immigration, military service, ranching, education, agriculture, border violence, sports, and much more.
Photo: Mrs. Gene Stroud was interviewed by our staff member, Sean Visintainer, in 2018.
Oral history interviews serve an important role in interdisciplinary research and generally:
- Focus on lived experiences
- Are retrospective/historical in nature
- Project a conversational tone
- Provide a unique narrative
- Reveal details of daily life
Other Oral History Projects @UTRGV
Border Studies Archive
The Border Studies Archive, a part of the University Library, houses collections focused on the folklore, histories and lives of people living along the U.S.-Mexican border in South Texas. Our collections include aural, material and visual documentation related to (1) Border Music, (2) construction of the Border Wall and Border Security more generally, (3) Latinas and Politics, (4) Spanish Land Grants, (5) Traditional Mexican American Folklore and (6) Visual Border Studies. In addition to these six areas, we have a growing list of Border Oral History Interviews.
CHAPS: Oral History Transcripts
Part of the Community Historical Archaeology Project with Schools Educational Tools
Department of History: Los del Valle
The Los del Valle Oral History Project, begun in 1993, includes edited autobiographical sketches of people from the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas and accounts of historical and cultural events that document the rich heritage of the area. The twenty one volume series includes personal interviews, photographs, film clips and music that convey the uniqueness of the area not usually found in traditional sources.
Mexican American Studies: Oral History Archive
The Mexican Amerian Oral History Project/Nuestra Historia is an ongoing project by Assistant Professor of History and MAS Faculty Affiliate Dr. Maritza de la Trinidad.
Voces of a Pandemic
Voces of a Pandemic is an oral history project conducted in collaboration with the Voces of a Pandemic project of the Voces Oral History Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Voces of a Pandemic is a partnership among over a dozen institutions across the country, dedicated to recording, preserving and disseminating the unique perspectives of Latinos/as during this crisis by giving voice to a population heavily impacted by the virus.
External Resources for Oral Projects
Civil Rights History Project
On May 12, 2009, the U. S. Congress authorized a national initiative by passing The Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-19). The law directed the Library of Congress (LOC) and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to conduct a national survey of existing oral history collections with relevance to the Civil Rights movement to obtain justice, freedom and equality for African Americans and to record and make widely accessible new interviews with people who participated in the struggle. The project was initiated in 2010 with the survey and with interviews beginning in 2011.
Occupational Folklife Project
The Occupational Folklife Project (OFP) began in 2010 as a multi-year project by the American Folklife Center (AFC) to document the culture of contemporary American workers during an era of economic and social transition. To date, fieldworkers across the United States have recorded more than 900 audio and audiovisual oral history interviews with workers in scores of trades, industries, crafts, and professions. The completed interviews have been incorporated into the American Folklife Center archive at the Library of Congress.
Search the Veterans History Project Database
The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.
StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. Since 2003 StoryCorps has been recording personal interviews.
TCU's Civil Rights in Black and Brown
Not one but two civil rights movements flourished in mid-twentieth century Texas, and they did so in intimate conversation with one another. While most research on American race relations has utilized a binary analytical lens—examining either “black” vs. “white” or “Anglo” vs. “Mexican”—Civil Rights in Black and Brown: Oral Histories of the Multiracial Freedom Struggles in Texas collects, interprets, and disseminates new oral history interviews with members of all three groups.
Online Research Request
Maximize your time and effort. Let our staff assist you with finding and accessing resources online.