Center for Oral & Public History, CSUF

Center for Oral & Public History, CSUF Established in 1968, the Center for Oral and Public History is primarily a teaching, training, research, publication, and public service operation located at CSU Fullerton.
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Its archives hold over 6,000 oral histories.

Mission: The Center for Oral and Public History (COPH) - a component of the Department of History and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at California State University, Fullerton - embraces a two-fold mission. First, COPH collects and preserves the stories of distinctive individuals and diverse communities whose historical experiences have shaped the collective memory of Southern California, defined national and transnational identities, and reflected life in an era of globalization. Second, COPH undertakes and provides support services for public history projects, particularly those designed to share oral histories with students, scholars, and public audiences in Southern California and beyond. Ultimately, COPH seeks to combine the strengths of oral history and public history in order to build better connections between Cal State Fullerton and the communities - local, national, and global - to which it is tied.

Operating as usual

"During New Year's we were one of the first ones to get a television and every man in the neighborhood wanted to come ov...
12/31/2020

"During New Year's we were one of the first ones to get a television and every man in the neighborhood wanted to come over and watch the Rose Bowl game...We'd have like maybe 15 people sitting on the floor in the living room and every place else watching the game."
- Dena Ports, in her 2002 oral history, for our Personal and Family collection.
View the finding aid online: http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/personalfamily.php

Photo: Rose Bowl, 1953. Courtesy LAPL

On this day in 2009 Bob Terry was interviewed for our OC Pioneer Council oral history project. He talked about working i...
12/30/2020

On this day in 2009 Bob Terry was interviewed for our OC Pioneer Council oral history project. He talked about working in his father’s car dealership from the age of 7, cleaning and polishing vehicles, and recalled how an oil well was drilled under his father’s business in 1955, which helped pay for his college tuition.
Photo of Bob and his father Collins in 1958.

View the finding aid for this project online:
http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/OC%20Pioneer%20Council%20Finding%20Aid%20Abstracts.pdf

“Well, I was sick myself, of course. The biggest thing was to stay in bed. There was no antibiotic at that time either, ...
12/28/2020

“Well, I was sick myself, of course. The biggest thing was to stay in bed. There was no antibiotic at that time either, and people didn’t really know what could be done, what kind of defense there would be for it. So all they could do was take aspirin to make you feel better.”
-Claire Sharpless Marks remembers the 1918 flu pandemic during her 1984 oral history interview for our OC Pioneer Council project.

Photo: Information table in San Francisco, 1918. Courtesy, California State Library

On this day in 1966 the first Kwanzaa was celebrated in Los Angeles under the direction of Maulana Karenga, chair of Bla...
12/26/2020

On this day in 1966 the first Kwanzaa was celebrated in Los Angeles under the direction of Maulana Karenga, chair of Black Studies at CSULB. The seven-day holiday was created by Karenga as a celebration of African American family, community, and culture.
Ten years later Karenga was interviewed for our African American History project, and discussed his role in the Black Power movement.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday!
12/25/2020

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday!

Merry Christmas Eve! Photo: Newport Beach, 1950. Courtesy, OC Public Libraries.Check out the finding aid for our Newport...
12/24/2020

Merry Christmas Eve!
Photo: Newport Beach, 1950. Courtesy, OC Public Libraries.
Check out the finding aid for our Newport Beach oral history project online:http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/Newport%20Beach%20Community%20History.pdf

“We would go up and pick out the top of a cypress tree. My brothers would tie a rope around it, cut it, drag it down...a...
12/23/2020

“We would go up and pick out the top of a cypress tree. My brothers would tie a rope around it, cut it, drag it down...and that would go in the house as our tree. I can remember the cypress odor that would just permeate the house. I can’t believe this, but we even had candles that we would put on the tree.”
-Margaret Finley Blower shares her Christmas memories in her 1990 oral history, for our OC Pioneer Council project.

“One year we had a cat and the cat was very curious about the tree...I guess he must have started clawing the tree as ca...
12/22/2020

“One year we had a cat and the cat was very curious about the tree...I guess he must have started clawing the tree as cats do sharpening their nails and brought the whole tree down…”
Gloria Schlaepfer shares her Christmas memories in her 2005 oral history, for our personal and family collection.
http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/personalfamily.php

Still putting the finishing touches on your holiday decorations? Just four days to go!Installing decorations in Huntingt...
12/21/2020

Still putting the finishing touches on your holiday decorations? Just four days to go!
Installing decorations in Huntington Beach, 1950. Photo courtesy OC Public Libraries.
Check out the finding aid for our Huntington Beach oral history project online:
http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/Huntington%20Beach%20Community%20History.pdf

On this day in 1990 George Dewey Osterman was interviewed for our OC Pioneer Council oral history project. A longtime El...
12/18/2020

On this day in 1990 George Dewey Osterman was interviewed for our OC Pioneer Council oral history project. A longtime El Toro storekeeper and postmaster, Osterman described some of the buildings and businesses in old El Toro (shown here); recalled the arrival of telephones and electricity; and discussed sheep ranching on the Moulton Ranch and elsewhere in the area.
View the finding aid for this collection online:http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/OC%20Pioneer%20Council%20Finding%20Aid%20Abstracts.pdf

Photo: El Toro Road, El Toro, 1927. Courtesy OC Public Libraries.

On this day in 1969, historian Don Meadows was interviewed for the third of three interviews conducted by Richard Curtis...
12/17/2020

On this day in 1969, historian Don Meadows was interviewed for the third of three interviews conducted by Richard Curtiss, for our Orange County oral history project. He shared memories of the Long Beach earthquake in 1933 and the flood of 1938, which affected Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties.

View of Anaheim City Hall during the 1938 flood. Photo Courtesy Anaheim Public Library.

View the finding aid for this project online:http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/Orange%20County.pdf

On this day in 1978 Seytsu Takahashi was interviewed for our Japanese American oral history project. An Issei Buddhist b...
12/16/2020

On this day in 1978 Seytsu Takahashi was interviewed for our Japanese American oral history project. An Issei Buddhist bishop at Koyasan Temple in Little Tokyo, Takahashi recalled his wartime experiences and internment in Fort Missoula, Montana; Livingstone, Louisiana; and Crystal City, Texas.

Listen to the interview online:
http://digitalcollections.archives.csudh.edu/digital/collection/p16855coll4/id/595/rec/4

Photo: Exterior of Koyasan Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.

On this day in 2007, USMC fighter jet pilot Eugene Holmberg was interviewed for our El Toro MCAS oral history project. I...
12/15/2020

On this day in 2007, USMC fighter jet pilot Eugene Holmberg was interviewed for our El Toro MCAS oral history project. In his interview Holmberg talked about his interaction with former El Toro Marine, Lee Harvey Oswald; described his experiences with the USMC in Japan, including 1950s flight operations; and shared his opinion on the closure of El Toro.
Search the finding aid for this collection on our website:http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/abstract%20document-El%20Toro.pdf

Aerial view of the Marine Corps Transport Squadron area at the Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro. Photo courtesy Santa Ana Public Library.

On this day in 2007, CSU Fullerton Department of History Professor, Allison Varzally interviewed Carl N. Karcher. The fo...
12/14/2020

On this day in 2007, CSU Fullerton Department of History Professor, Allison Varzally interviewed Carl N. Karcher. The founder of Carl’s Jr. Restaurants talked about growing up on a farm in Ohio; operating his first hotdog carts in Los Angeles; and the growth of his restaurants––including, locations, competitors, innovations, and menu.

On this day in 1986 artist and businessman Stanley Porter was interviewed for our Fullerton oral history project. He dis...
12/11/2020

On this day in 1986 artist and businessman Stanley Porter was interviewed for our Fullerton oral history project. He discussed the former agricultural community, once dominated by oranges and walnuts; recalled the arrival of electric lighting; and shared details about his family history, dating from the 1870s.
http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/Fullerton%20Community%20History%20Finding%20Aid.pdf

Harvesting oranges in Fullerton, 1926. Courtesy LAPL

“I remember we had to walk across an open area and a guard tower to get to school...” Ronald Tanimoto, interviewed for o...
12/10/2020

“I remember we had to walk across an open area and a guard tower to get to school...”
Ronald Tanimoto, interviewed for our Japanese American oral history project, 1992. As a child Tanimoto was incarcerated with his family at Crystal City.
Listen to the full interview online:
http://digitalcollections.archives.csudh.edu/digital/collection/p16855coll4/id/12384/rec/1

Hand-drawn map of Crystal City internment camp, Texas.
Courtesy of Densho, the M. Nakagawa Collection

On this day in 1995 CSU Fullerton Department of History grad Alex Kindell interviewed Billy Zoom for her Surf Music oral...
12/09/2020

On this day in 1995 CSU Fullerton Department of History grad Alex Kindell interviewed Billy Zoom for her Surf Music oral history project. Zoom talked about moving to California in the late 1960s and discussed the music scene, including punk, rock-a-billy, and the surf music revival of the early 1980s. He also recalled his experience as a musician playing with several bands, including his band, “X”.

On this day in 2012 Margarita Cuaron was interviewed for our Grassroots Politics project. She discussed her role in the ...
12/08/2020

On this day in 2012 Margarita Cuaron was interviewed for our Grassroots Politics project. She discussed her role in the East Los Angeles Walkouts of 1968 and the lack of educational opportunities at Garfield High School, which prompted her and other students to organize.
Search other interviews in this collection online:http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/Grassroots%20Politics%20Project.pdf

Cuaron is shown here at the opening of “¡Ya Basta! The East L.A. Walkouts and the Power of Protest” at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, 2018; Photo by Javier Guillen

“We grew up in a hurry the morning of December 7, 1941. We all grew ten years, I’ll tell you.”Arthur G. Herriford, in hi...
12/08/2020

“We grew up in a hurry the morning of December 7, 1941. We all grew ten years, I’ll tell you.”
Arthur G. Herriford, in his 2003 oral history. Herriford was stationed at Pearl Harbor and shared his eyewitness account of the attack, which occurred on this day 79 years ago.

Herriford’s interview is part of our personal and family collection. View the finding aid here:
http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/OHP_77_Finding%20Aid_Personal%20and%20Family_updated.pdf

On this day in 2005 Lance Porter was interviewed for our European Experiences in WWII oral history project. A British ta...
12/04/2020

On this day in 2005 Lance Porter was interviewed for our European Experiences in WWII oral history project. A British tank commander, Porter reflected on his experience of D-Day, and shared his views on Winston Churchill, British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, and Adolph Hitler.
View the finding aid online:
http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/OHP_76_European%20Experiences%20Finding%20Aid2.pdf

Photo: Omaha Beach; June 6, 1944. Courtesy, NARA

On this day in 2007 Sotero Rodriguez, Jr. was interviewed for our El Toro MCAS oral history project. Rodriguez recalled ...
12/03/2020

On this day in 2007 Sotero Rodriguez, Jr. was interviewed for our El Toro MCAS oral history project. Rodriguez recalled enlisting in the USMC in 1942; the initial construction of El Toro in 1943 and life on base; and recalled the Pacific Theater campaigns of WWII, including the Gilbert Islands (shown here).
Read more about the interviews in this project online:http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/abstract%20document-El%20Toro.pdf

WPA CSUF
12/02/2020

WPA CSUF

On this day in 2016 Kelly Cooper was interviewed for our Women, Politics, and Activism oral history project. As the first female member of the Los Angeles Local 11 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Cooper reflected on the gender imbalance of women in the trades; talked about her daughter’s involvement in IBEW (shown here), and shared advice for women entering the field.
Listen online: http://www.fullerton.edu/wpaarchives/narrators/index.php/109

This #GivingTuesday we extend our deepest thanks to to everyone who has helped support the Center for Oral and Public Hi...
12/01/2020

This #GivingTuesday we extend our deepest thanks to to everyone who has helped support the Center for Oral and Public History over the years.
Your support allows us to continue to collect and preserve oral histories from diverse individuals and communities, for generations to come.

To donate: https://giving.fullerton.edu/giving.aspx?szAccount_no=30400

"Every evening we would sit there and we would listen to his speeches. . . My goodness, everybody felt so enthused, they...
11/30/2020

"Every evening we would sit there and we would listen to his speeches. . . My goodness, everybody felt so enthused, they’ve just got to do something. He roused everybody."
-Rose McDonald discussing Winston Churchill, born this day in 1874.
McDonald's 2012 oral history is part of our "From Hitler's Europe to the Golden State" project in our WWII collections:
http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/wwIIcollections.php

Happy Thanksgiving, from all of us at COPH!
11/26/2020

Happy Thanksgiving, from all of us at COPH!

Consider participating in #TheGreatListen this Thanksgiving! Whether you are celebrating together or apart you can still...
11/25/2020
The Great Thanksgiving Listen

Consider participating in #TheGreatListen this Thanksgiving! Whether you are celebrating together or apart you can still record an interview with a family member, to be preserved in the StoryCorps Archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
Find out more here:
https://storycorps.org/participate/the-great-thanksgiving-listen/

Our call for a national movement to empower high school students to create an oral history of the contemporary United States by recording an interview with an elder.

WPA CSUF
11/24/2020

WPA CSUF

On this day in 2014 Rose Espinoza was interviewed for our Women, Politics, & Activism oral history project. Espinoza talked about founding Rosie’s Garage, a nonprofit offering academic after school programs in North Orange County.
A longtime La Habra resident Espinoza has served as the city's mayor four times and this November was re-elected as a member of the La Habra City Council.
Listen to her interview online: http://www.fullerton.edu/wpaarchives/narrators/index.php/29

On this day in 2015 Doug Burpee, colonel for the USMC, was interviewed for our EL Toro MCAS oral history project. He rec...
11/23/2020

On this day in 2015 Doug Burpee, colonel for the USMC, was interviewed for our EL Toro MCAS oral history project. He recalled memories of flight school and taking his first flight; choosing helicopters over fixed-wing; and discussed his conversion from Episcopalian to Islam, and what’s it’s like serving in the US military as a Muslim.
View the finding aid for this project on our website:http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/abstract%20document-El%20Toro.pdf

On this day in 2018 CSU Fullerton Department of History grad Veronica Grammier interviewed Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief o...
11/20/2020

On this day in 2018 CSU Fullerton Department of History grad Veronica Grammier interviewed Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff for former OCDA, Tony Rackauckas. Schroeder discussed her background and experience in politics; her work on Reagan's 1984 presidential campaign; and shared her thoughts on the future of the Republican Party in Orange County, and the future of women and Asian women in the Republican Party.

WPA CSUF
11/18/2020

WPA CSUF

On this day in 2015 Zoe Nicholson was interviewed for our Women, Politics, and Activism oral history project. Nicholson reflected on her history as an activist, particularly in movements concerning peace, labor, LGBTQ and women’s rights.
Visit the collection online: http://www.fullerton.edu/wpaarchives/

COPH mourns the loss of beloved CSUF history professor, Dr. Nancy Fitch, who passed away on November 15.  Dr. Fitch will...
11/17/2020
In Memoriam — Nancy Fitch | CSUF News

COPH mourns the loss of beloved CSUF history professor, Dr. Nancy Fitch, who passed away on November 15. Dr. Fitch will not only be remembered for her contributions to the field of history, but also for her continuous support and dedication to her students during her 32 years at CSUF.

Nancy Fitch, professor emeritus of history who served the university for 32 years, died Nov. 15. She is remembered for her exceptional support of

On this day in 1968 artist Virginia Woolley was interviewed for our Laguna Beach oral history project. She recalled the ...
11/17/2020

On this day in 1968 artist Virginia Woolley was interviewed for our Laguna Beach oral history project. She recalled the city's history as an arts colony; discussed its annual Festival of the Arts; and shared details on important painters and local artists.
Her own work is shown here in "Laguna Haze, trees in a coastal landscape." Oil on board.

On this day in 1989 Katherine Brick was interviewed for our WASP oral history project. Brick recalled joining the Women ...
11/12/2020

On this day in 1989 Katherine Brick was interviewed for our WASP oral history project. Brick recalled joining the Women Airforce Service Pilots in 1943 and training at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas (shown here). Brick also discussed the types of aircraft flown; discrimination; and women in aviation since WWII.
View the finding aid online:
http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/Finding_Aid_WASP.pdf

On this #VeteransDay we thank all of those who have served our country in war or peace. COPH's U.S. Military collections...
11/11/2020

On this #VeteransDay we thank all of those who have served our country in war or peace.

COPH's U.S. Military collections include oral histories from veterans recalling their personal experiences. View the finding aids online: http://coph.fullerton.edu/collections/militaryconflict.php

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Join us for the 2nd Annual Orange County Archives Bazaar: Murals, Memories, and Meaning-Making at the Hilbert Museum (10/26, 11am-5pm). The event will bring libraries, special collections, archives, museums, historical societies, and other cultural heritage institutions together to showcase material from their collections and highlight the known and unknown stories of Orange County. Program information is now available on the Event Page. RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/478732519377664/
Center for Oral and Public History @ CSUF - a great resource
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Question: What are the top ten jobs for public historians with PhDS? Place your reply in the comments below.
The CFP for the Oral History Network of Ireland's forthcoming conference has been extended until 12 May, 2017...Details at the following link... http://www.oralhistorynetworkireland.ie/ohni-conferences/2017-conference/2017-cfp/