Interviews with older North Dakotans, and others who participated in significant events in the history of the state, are available on audio cassette at the State Archives. The oral history interviews were conducted from 1974 through June 1977, and sponsored by the North Dakota American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, the State Historical Society and the North Dakota Farmers Union. The Project staff compiled 1214 interviews with North Dakotans from all walks of life. The State Historical Society copied 3,581 photographs belonging to North Dakotans, which are accessible in the collections. Nearly 80,000 miles of North Dakota highways were travelled by the staff and they were always invited back for a second visit. It was a massive and successful effort that provided a wealth of information for present and future generations. A conversational approach was established in recalling and recording experiences, opinions, and incidents from 1890 to 1940. A few interviews have been transcribed, but most remain only on audio cassette and are available for listening. The Governors' Mansion, family histories, biographies, and local events are topics included in the anecdotes and stories compiled in this collection.
Native Americans of North Dakota are a special part of the Oral History Project. Drawing upon oral tradition, older Native Americans recall ceremonies no longer used. Extensive cultural change is recorded in their accounts.
The Oral History Project interviews were conducted by Larry Sprunk and Robert Carlson from 1974 to 1977, with the date of each interview recorded. Statements of introduction provide the location of the interview, the name of the person being interviewed and the name of the person guiding the conversation. Sound quality will vary with each tape depending upon background noise level, vocal projection of the person being interviewed, or the position of the microphone in relation to the speaker. The audio tapes remain unedited.
A selected number of transcribed excerpts of interviews were published in the State Historical Society's journal, North Dakota History, Spring 1976, Vol. 43, No. 2 and Fall 1977, Vol. 44, No. 4 issues. Lack of funding stopped further transcription of additional audio tapes.
An inventory to the collection provides information on the background of the project, scope and content of the collection, and a listing of the files in the collection. An index to the interviews conducted as a part of this project provides the date, time, and length of each interview. The information is arranged by name, by county, and by date of interview. Copies of portions of the index can be provided for copying and handling charges. Tape length can be supplied once the name of the person is provided.
Individual audio tapes are currently being digitized. (see Charges For Reference Services).
Individual audio tapes Interviews can be ordered and put on a CD or downloaded via our FTP web site. The charge per file is $5. Please contact the reference desk with the name of the person and interview number, if known, to order.
612 East Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
Museum Store: 8am - 5pm M-F; Sat. & Sun. 10am - 5pm.
State Archives: 8am - 4:30pm., M-F, except legal holidays, and 2nd Sat. of each month, 10am - 4:30 pm.
State Historical Society offices: 8am - 5pm M-F, except legal holidays.
phone: (701) 328-2666
fax: (701) 328-3710