Interview with Donald A. Ritchie, September 25, 2015

Project: Interviewing the Interviewers Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Donald Ritchie, Senate Historian Emeritus, reflects on his involvement in the field of oral history, as well as his participation in the Oral History Association. He talks about becoming familiar with oral history during his research for his dissertation on James Landis, and how he became involved in the wider field of oral history. He talks about being hired by the Senate Historical Office, and beginning to participate in the Oral History Association. He describes the administrative structure of the organization, as well as the creation of the International Oral History Association. He talks about becoming program chairman, some of the early issues within the organization, and the beginning of long-range planning within the OHA which led to various changes.

Ritchie discusses some of the early issues within the field of oral history, including Columbia University's practice of recording over its tapes once an interview had been transcribed, which was part of the larger debate on the importance of the aural aspects of oral history. Another debate concerned the subjects of interviews and whether they should be prominent people or ordinary citizens. He talks about the impact of technology on the field of oral history, and some of the technical problems that can occur during interviews.

Ritchie discusses his involvement in the creation and revision of guidelines for oral history, as well as the conflict that occurred when the IRB began imposing restrictions on the use of oral history in research. He discusses his process for writing the book "Doing Oral History," as well as the revisions he made in later editions.

Ritchie talks about his thoughts on the future of oral history, as well as his reflections on the field's past. Throughout the interview Ritchie tells personal anecdotes about people within the field of oral history, as well as many specific meetings of the Oral History Association.

Interview Accession

2015oh416_ii003

Interviewee Name

Donald A. Ritchie

Interviewer Name

Douglas A. Boyd

Interview Date

2015-09-25

Interview LC Subject

Oral history.

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Ritchie, Donald A. Interview by Douglas A. Boyd. 25 Sep. 2015. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Ritchie, D.A. (2015, September 25). Interview by D. A. Boyd. Interviewing the Interviewers Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Ritchie, Donald A., interview by Douglas A. Boyd. September 25, 2015, Interviewing the Interviewers Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt712j685w90