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Guide to Oral Histories in Medicine and the Health Sciences


Duke University Medical Center Archives


Box 3702
Durham, North Carolina 27710


(919) 383-2653

Fax number

(919) 383-1649

Website URL

Contact Person

Jessica Roseberry, Oral History Program Coordinator
(919) 383-2653


Access and Services

Electronic transcripts, photocopying.


The oral history program actively seeks to collect oral histories from people who can relate relevant information about Duke University Medical Center and Health System. These people include doctors, administrators, nurses, staff, community members, politicians, etc., but the focus of the interviews is on the culture and growth of the medical center and health system and how that culture and growth intersects individual lives. The oral history program endeavors to support the existing and planned collections of the Duke University Medical Center Archives, where the oral history collection is housed. There may be times when, by purposeful design, the oral history program seeks to collect stories from people who are not represented in the documentation within the archives but whose stories are nevertheless important in understanding the history of the medical center and health system. The oral history collection consists of stories that are useful for researchers studying the history of Duke and researchers studying overall medical culture and advances.


Between 200-300 interviews. About 1-3 new interviews added per month.

Collection Description

Primarily audio cassettes with transcripts; newly developing emphasis on digital recordings. Some "other" media forms: U-Matic, reel-to-reel, wire recordings, etc. Earlier recordings primarily are of doctors and administrators with a smaller emphasis on leadership in the School of Nursing. More recent additions endeavor to add a more solid emphasis on workers, women, and minorities. Larger topics included in collection: health care administration; history and culture of: Duke School of Medicine, Duke Hospital, Duke School of Nursing, Duke Health System; scientific advances and discoveries; national trends in medicine; women and minorities at Duke Medical Center; student life; medical culture; Durham, North Carolina and surrounding areas.


Material Type

Primarily audio. Video forms are five years old or beyond, and some media forms are not supported.


Some restrictions at request of individual interviewees, some older interviews do not have release permission.


Almost all of the oral histories in the collection are transcribed, although some do not have release permission. A few transcripts are available on the Web with more to follow.