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Audio Collections

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.

Search the Online Catalog

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.

Listen on Youtube

Oral Histories

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 files. 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 pm 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.

Donations

Audio collection coverage is intended to be broad, general, and balanced, providing an extensive range of genres representing history related to Oklahoma. Please contact us before bringing materials to the Research Center. Our staff will need to assess your donation to determine if it is possible to accept the materials.

Contact the Audio Department

Diane Wasser
405-522-6674
dwasser@okhistory.org or japryse@okhistory.org.

Useful Links

Preservation

Do you have your own audio collection? The Oklahoma Historical Society has some tips for preserving these items, including:

  1. 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.
  2. Store your collections in archival enclosures, folders, boxes, and other containers that will extend their life and protect them from dust and pollution.
  3. Avoid touching the surface of all media if possible. For even better protection, use white cotton gloves when handling.
For more information visit the Library of Congress collections care page www.loc.gov/preservation/care/record.html or the Oklahoma Cultural Heritage Trust http://www.culturalheritagetrust.org