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Oral Histories & Narratives of US Veterans

Research & Explore Online Veteran Oral History Collections

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Learn about the personal experiences and memories of U.S. Veterans in the online digital collections of these oral history projects, programs and collections dedicated to recording and preserving the experiences of veterans and civilians in the United States from the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf.

1. Veterans History Project

This ongoing project of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress has collected over 55,000 first-hand accounts of U.S. Veterans from World War I (1914-1920), World War II (1939-1946), the Korean War (1950-1955), the Vietnam War (1961-1975), the Persian Gulf War (1990-1995) and Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts (2001-present). Almost 5,000 of these narratives and oral histories have been digitized and can be explored online.

2. The World War I Document Archive

This internationally focused archive of primary documents from World War One has been assembled by volunteers of the World War I Military History List (WWI-L). Browse documents, diaries, photos and personal reminiscenses.

3. Rutgers Oral History Archives of World War II

The personal experiences of US veterans have been recorded and preserved based on in-depth interviews of Rutgers University alumni and/or New Jersey residents who served on the home front and overseas during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cold War. Over 469 oral histories are online for browsing and/or searching.

4. Korean War Educator Foundation's Oral History Project

Over 81,000 hours of tape-recorded Korean War memoirs have been collected through the work of Lynnita Brown and the Korean War Educator Foundation, although less than 1,000 hours of these have been transcribed to date. The online Memoirs Index provides access to over one hundred full-length interviews and short excerpts.

5. The Vietnam Center and Archives Oral History Project

Two full-time Oral Historians and three to four part-time transcriptionists have been documenting the stories of Vietnam and the wars in Southeast Asia since 1999. Anyone who was involved in those wars can participate, including American veterans, anti-war protestors, former allies or enemies of the United States, government employees and family members of the veterans. You can listen to available interviews and read transcripts online, or learn how to interview veterans for the project.

6. U.S. Naval Institute Oral History Program

The U.S. Naval Institute's Oral History program records interviews with current and former Navy and Coast Guard personnel, primarily those who have made history in the naval profession. Interview transcripts are not available online, but the memoirs can be purchased or rented, or individual pages of transcriptions dealing with a specific topic can be obtained.

7. What did you do in the war, Grandma?

Twenty-six Rhode Island female veterans who served during World War II were interviewed by students in the Honors English Program at South Kingstown High School.

8. 70th Infantry Division Association

Video and audio interviews, digital documents, photos, maps and 3 reels of combat footage, discovered in the National Archives, featuring the 70th Infantry Division of World War II.

9. 91st Bomb Group (H) Memorial Association

Over 50 personal stories are featured on this site, along with photos, music and memorabilia are presented by the 91st Bomb Group (H) Memorial Association of World War II.

10. Coast Guard Oral History Program

Explore oral histories, memoirs and other first-hand accounts of Coast Guard History. The oral histories are primarily from World War II, but also include stories from Vietnam, Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, and general Coast Guard experiences.

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