Oral Histories


This oral history directory contains projects produced solely or in part by The Social Voice Project. It also contains notable oral history projects and collections by other producers in Western Pennsylvania that are of local and regional interest.  

Veteran Voices: The Oral History Podcast

Veteran Voices: The Oral History Podcast features conversations with those who tell veterans’ stories in creative and interesting ways, such as oral historians, authors, poets, playwrights, and photographers.

This podcast is a production of The Social Voice Project, an innovative public media initiative dedicated to capturing, preserving and sharing the voices and stories of our time through the first-hand, authentic accounts of lived experiences we call oral histories. The podcast was formerly produced by the award-winning Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative.

Argot: Audio Short Stories Podcast

Argot: Audio Short Stories Podcast is a collection of creative story vignettes adapted from the Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative Collection. These audio short stories are inspired by actual events. Argot represents some of the most heartfelt moments from veterans’ oral history interviews conducted throughout Western Pennsylvania

Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh Oral History Initiative

The Social Voice Project has been a leader in capturing, preserving, and sharing the experiences and stories of veterans with a Western Pennsylvania connection–from all eras and branches of service.

Listen to the complete collection of audio short stories, long-form interviews, and other audio recordings.  This collection is located at the Internet Archive, the world’s largest digital archive dedicated to free public access to digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly three million public-domain books

Veterans Breakfast Club

The mission of the Veterans Breakfast Club is to create communities of listening around veterans and their stories to ensure that this living history will never be forgotten. We believe that through our work, people will be connected, educated, healed, and inspired.

Every Veteran Has a Story: No matter who they are–or when or how they served–our veterans are valued and important members of our community. Their stories are our history, and the memories they share with the VBC are treated with respect and care.

There Is Power in Storytelling: Stories connect, heal, educate, and inspire. Stories bridge the divides that separate us and benefit both tellers and listeners.

Listening is the Best Way to Thank a Veteran: To listen actively, attentively, and without judgement is one of the greatest gifts one could give. When it comes to veterans’ stories, listening is also a civic obligation, the responsibility of every citizen to those who have served in the military.

Robert Morris University Oral History Center

The Oral History Center is a project of the History faculty in the Social Sciences Department at Robert Morris University.

Growing out of a joint effort between Robert Morris and Moon Township to get a local neighborhood included on the National Register of Historic Places, the Oral History Center facilitates research into recent American history, allows students to get involved in oral interviews, and serves as a repository of archival materials.

The Center is currently conducting the Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans Project (IAVP), which aims to preserve first-hand, on-the-ground histories of America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

NCJW – Pittsburgh Section: Oral Jewish History

National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), Pittsburgh Section Oral History Project provides a compelling insight into the growth of an important American Jewish community and the contributions made by the people interviewed. Over a span of 32 years, the NCJW conducted more than 500 oral history interviews focused on the Jewish community – the history, the traditions, the contributions – of its members.

The hundreds of interviews and thousands of hours of audiotape accumulated by a surprisingly small group of dedicated volunteers are an invaluable resource. The interviews provide windows into the Jewish community’s impact on academic, business, civic, cultural, medical, political, religious, and social evolution and development in Pittsburgh, as well as national and international events.

Rivers of Steel

As a National Heritage Area, Rivers of Steel is charged with telling the local stories that celebrate our region’s contributions to the nation’s diverse heritage. In service of this, Rivers of Steel has initiated an array of interpretive projects that support heritage conservation by collecting, cataloging, and disseminating those stories. Explore the information below to learn more about the people and places in the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.


Rivers of Steel is committed to honoring the legacy of our region’s steelworkers. Their stories are told through our exhibitions and echoed in our tours, but the most direct connection to those stories are when they are told by the workers themselves. Through an ongoing program to conduct and record oral history interviews of steel and industrial workers from the Pittsburgh Industrial District, Rivers of Steel documents those first-hand accounts. The videos, recordings, and transcripts are available to the public through the Rivers of Steel Archives. A valuable research tool for students, scholars, educators, and residents, the Steelworker Oral History project reflects the region, its people, and their heritage.

The Allegheny Front Oral History Collection

The Allegheny Front is an award-winning public radio program covering environmental issues in Western Pennsylvania, airing on WESA in Pittsburgh and on stations throughout the region.

The Allegheny Front began in 1991 on WYEP 91.3 FM as a new urban environmental consciousness was strengthening in Pittsburgh. As originally created by volunteer Lucy Laffitte, who coined the name after the major escarpment in the Allegheny Mountains east of Pittsburgh, the program provided environmental news, events and interviews with people active in the local environmental community.

Occupy Youngstown Oral History Project

The Occupy Oral History Project collects statements from Occupy participants and supporters about why they feel the Occupy movement and related issues are important in today’s social and political climate.

The Youngstown State University Oral History Collection

The Youngstown State University Oral History Collection, begun in 1974, collects and preserves first-person narratives of northeastern Ohioans who have participated in, or closely observed events which have significantly affected both the state and nation. The Oral History Collection houses over eleven hundred interviews including personal narratives focusing on World War II, Vietnam, Youngstown College (University), Greek, Puerto Rican, Romanian, Russian and Italian culture, industry (steel, pottery, brick, labor relations, coal, and railroads), politics, the Holocaust, and religion.

The Youngstown State University Oral History Program seeks to foster a critical, yet democratic understanding of northeastern Ohio–its history, culture, problems, and prospects. Human beings make sense of their lives in story. Oral history allows us to use those first-person narratives to explore the private dimensions of public careers, add new voices to the historical record, track the creation and recreation of historical memory, and present history to the public in creative new forms. A sense of urgency informs our work, for the stories we preserve in tape and transcript will soon be irretrievably lost.

Voices of Our Region

Voices of Our Region is an oral history project that captures the life, love and passion of 57 area residents, across cultures and three generations, living with disabilities. Each audio recording provides a candid, non-scripted story of the struggles and triumphs an individual with disabilities experienced while seeking self-determination and equal opportunity.

Beginning in April 2008, Judith Barricella, then director of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Disability Connection, along with a colleague and Tony Buba, acclaimed local film producer and director, traveled hundreds of miles across Allegheny, Westmoreland, Beaver and Washington counties to record the stories. The premiere event was on November 11, 2008 at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.

Voices of Our Region DVD is available for loan through the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

Braddock Films

Tony Buba has been producing documentaries since 1972 in both long and short formats. Since getting his M.F.A from Ohio University in 1976, Tony has worked on several feature films, including George Romero’s Martin and Dawn of the Dead. In addition to his behind-the-scenes roles, Tony has appeared onscreen as well. In Dawn of the Dead, he is a featured motorcycle raider who gets his arm torn off at a blood pressure machine. He also has a cameo in the Sundance hit, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Tony incorporated Braddock Films in 1992, and beyond producing personal work, has been involved in creating award-winning documentaries in the Pittsburgh area.

Veterans of Beaver Valley

This collection of 71 veterans oral history interviews is produced and published by the Beaver County Times. Titles include: Anthony and Elda Lamia; Betty English; Bill Russo; Brandy Horchak-Jevsjukova; Carl Walpusk; Charles Gilbert; D-Day; David Saras; Don & Sean Snowden; Edward Anderson; Edward Cilli; Ernie Traylor; Gene Bowser and Ed Glenz; George Haught; Gino Piroli; Guy Prestia; Harry Pease and Charlie Herdt; James Sims; Jim McGeehan; Joe Boscia; John Wilson; Keith Staneart; Lewis Villa; Memorial Day; Michelle Wilcox; Monique Raquet Jones and Paul Jones; Pete Marovich; Raymond West; Remembering those who are gone; Robert Pirohovich; Roger Soriano; Ronald Heitzenrater; Sean Higgins; South Pacific stories; Stephen Crano; Stephen Domitrovich; The McConnell brothers; Thomas Townsell; Tony Korbar; Vazken Alemian; Beaver County Veteran’s Affairs; Walter Mintus; Walter Reddy; William Hoch; William Miracle

Digital Storytelling as Public History

Digital stories created by honors students at California University of Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania..

Digital Storytelling as Public History

Digital stories created by honors students at California University of Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania..

Other Notable Oral History Projects

More Local Oral Histories