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Oral History Project

Earlier this year, we launched a project to record the oral histories of prominent AAC members. With the help of Cyns Nelson, owner of Voices Preserved, we were able to record eight oral histories during the Annual Dinner in February. Among the recordings we collected were those of Jed Williamson, Gail Bates, Jim McCarthy, Bob Craig, and Ted Vaill.

Nelson helped us develop the processes for securing written consent, recording, transcription, and archiving. The next step is to catalog and make the recordings available on the web.

James Mills of Specialty News was also present during the making of those first eight recordings. Mills edited Dee Molenaar’s recollections of the near disaster on K2 in 1953, which resulted in what is arguably the most important event in mountaineering history: The Belay. You can find that podcast here.

As we’re building the Library’s own collection of oral histories, we find important recordings on the web. One example is AAC Honorary Member George Lowe recounting his formative climbing years and ascents in Alaska (notably on Mount Foraker’s Infinite Spur). We’ve added a sidebar on this blog to collect applicable recordings as we find them. In the coming months, OCLC will help us catalog the Library’s own collection oral histories and those on the blog sidebar.

-Gary Landeck


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