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Guide to Oral Histories in Medicine and the Health Sciences


The Medical Library Association
Oral History Project: Voices of the Past


65 East Wacker Place, Suite 1900
Chicago, IL 60601-7246


(312) 419-9094, ext. 27

Fax number

(312) 419-8950

Website URL

Contact Person

Mary M. Langman
Coordinator, Information Issues and Policy, (312) 419-9094, ext. 27
Medical Library Association
65 E. Wacker Place, Ste. 1900,
Chicago, IL 6060


Access and Services

To determine services, please contact your regional medical library at or contact MLA Headquarters at 312/419-9094, ext. 27.


The goal of the MLA Oral History program is to encourage the use of oral history interviews to study the history of health sciences librarianship and the history of the Medical Library Association. The association established the program in 1977 to provide one basis for the history of American medical librarianship and the Medical Library Association by recording in their own voices the memories, reminiscences and experiences of medical librarians. An Ad Hoc Committee on the Feasibility of an Oral History Program recommended establishing a project to provide the basis for a history of the Association and for an understanding of the dynamics of medical librarianship in the 20th century.

Interviews began in 1977, and to date approximately 55 histories have been conducted, transcribed, edited, and distributed to the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.


To date, approximately 58 histories have been completed and published. Collection of interviews is ongoing. When histories are printed, bound, and distributed, information is posted to the web site and distributed to the MLA membership through MLA Focus.

Collection Description

Information on the project and a list of interviews can be found at Topics relate to the history and practice of medical librarianship and the Medical Library Association.

Material Type


The collection is available to the public through the Regional Medical Libraries in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine: Access by Canadian and other international users can be made upon request to the Medical Library Association. See contact information above.


The collection contains audio transcripts, but these are available only upon special request through the Medical Library Association, (312) 419-9094. The web page includes summaries of the histories.