The OHS audio collections contain recordings on a variety of formats including reel tapes, cassettes, phonograph records, and wire recordings. The content of these recordings includes radio broadcasts, music, political speeches, and legislative sessions. There are also a variety of American Indian and folklife recordings within the collections. Most of the audio collections remain unprocessed, but many of the materials may be found in the Online Catalog. OHS is in the process of digitizing select items to facilitate both preservation and access.
Listen to Audio Online
Selected audio recordings from the OHS Research Center collection are now online. Listen to oral histories, American Indian materials, audio from the Martha Blaine collection, and more.
The Oral History Collection includes approximately 3,000 recorded interviews pertaining to a wide range of Oklahoma topics. The interviews date from 1956 to the present day. Most of the collection dates from the early 1980s to the late 1990s. The most common formats are: cassette, VHS, DVD, and digital. Recordings in this collection range from twenty minutes to eight hours, with the average being one to two hours.
Saturday access to oral histories must be requested by 3:00pm on Friday. Only select interviews have transcripts; these are available in the Online Catalog.
The Michael J. Hightower Oral History Collection
This collection includes audio tapes, transcriptions, and notes from the Oklahoma Bank and Commerce History Project. Michael J. Hightower has authored two books on the history of banking in Oklahoma. While researching for the books he conducted numerous oral histories and has donated these materials to the OHS Research Center.
Read interview transcripts and find out more.
St. Luke’s Methodist Sound Collection—A Case Study in Palmitic Acid
While processing the St. Luke's Methodist Church collection OHS staff found audio recordings damaged by palmitic acid.
Read a case study of this collection.
Orders & Fees
To order copies of items in audio collection see our Orders & Fees section for order forms and instructions.
Audio collection coverage is intended to be broad, general, and balanced, providing an extensive range of genres representing history related to Oklahoma. Please contact the Audio Department before bringing materials to the Research Center. Our staff will need to assess your donation to determine whether it is possible to accept the materials.
Contact the Audio Department
- Library of Congress National Jukebox - historical sound recordings online www.loc.gov/jukebox/
- Association for Recorded Sound Collections - a helpful resource for anyone with audio collections www.arsc-audio.org/
- Audio Engineering Society - a useful resource for standards www.aes.org/
- Voices of Oklahoma - features "voices and stories of famous Oklahomans and ordinary citizens." Visitors can listen to numerous interviews on this website. www.voicesofoklahoma.com
- Oklahoma State University - an extensive collection of oral histories. www.library.okstate.edu/oralhistory
- Metropolitan Library System Oklahoma Folklore Collection - includes interviews and audio recordings. cybermarsx.mls.lib.ok.us/folklore/folklore.asp
Do you have your own audio collection? The Oklahoma Historical Society has some tips for preserving these items, including:
- Give your collections a safe environment:
a. Maintain moderate and stable temperatures for all audio formats. Avoid storing in automobiles, attics, bathrooms, laundry rooms or any other location that could cause damage by humidity or heat.
b. Avoid storing collections in direct sunlight or fluorescent lighting, both will cause fading and damage.
- Store your collections in archival enclosures, folders, boxes, and other containers that will extend their life and protect them from dust and pollution.
- Avoid touching the surface of all media if possible. For even better protection, use white cotton gloves when handling.