[Ads-l] Antedating of "Oral History" (Modern Meaning)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Sep 30 10:33:21 UTC 2023

The 1946 citation below seems to fit the modern notion of "oral
history" based on the description in the 1996 citation below.
Definitions vary. Some modern definitions suggest that interviews
should be recorded in audio or video format. Wikipedia suggests that a
transcription is adequate.

Date: February 1, 1946
Journal: New York Folklore Quarterly
Volume 2, Issue 1
Publisher: New York Folklore Society, Cooperstown, New York
Author: Elaine Lambert Lewis
Start Page 278, Quote Page 284
Database: ProQuest

[Begin excerpt]
A frequent customer was Joseph Ferdinand Gould — a folklore collector
if there ever was one — who often carried with him parts of his vast
"Oral History of the World."
[End excerpt]

Year: 1996
Book: The Dream and the Deal: The Federal Writers' Project, 1935-1943
Author: Jerre Mangione
Quote Page 178
Publisher: Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, New York
Database: Google Books Preview

[Begin excerpt]
. . . Gould was then combining his Project assignments with his Oral
History of the World, a presumably vast compendium of conversations he
had with everyone he encountered.*

* The question of how much material was contained in the Oral History
of the World confounded Gould's friends and became a matter of
speculation for many years afterwards, particularly in the New Yorker
magazine, where Joseph Mitchell advanced the theory that Gould had
perpetrated a giant hoax.
[End excerpt]


On Fri, Sep 29, 2023 at 9:33 PM Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:
> oral history (modern meaning) (OED 1950)
> 1949 _History_ n.s. 34:75 (JSTOR)  Members of its staff were expected not merely to produce narratives based upon written operational reports and other records but also to gather what was termed "oral history."
> Fred Shapiro
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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