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.