Library System: Oral History Collection, 1999-2000

RECORD GROUP: Other County Records
SERIES: Library System: Oral History Collection
DATES: 1999-2000
VOLUME: 2 boxes of mss., 122 minidiscs, 115 audiocassettes


Under the direction of Flora T. Higgins, the Monmouth County Library began a project entitled, “Remembering the Twentieth Century: An Oral History of Monmouth County, NJ” in January 1999. Ms. Higgins gradually transferred most of the materials in the collection to the Monmouth County Archives during the course of the project.

The project was supported financially by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders; Freeholder Theodore J. Narozanick was honorary chair of the Planning Committee. Howard Green, Research Director of the New Jersey Historical Commission, was significantly involved in project planning.

During the course of the project, approximately 100 individuals were interviewed by 16 interviewers. Ninety-two of the interviews were transcribed and published in a book available in the Archives reference collection and on the Monmouth County Library’s web site under the title, “Remember the 20th Century: An Oral History of Monmouth County.”

In a corollary effort, the Monmouth County Archives conducted an archival repository survey and compiled a database of oral history interviews with Monmouth County residents available in other repositories, in particular, Rutgers University. The database also includes records for the narrators in the Monmouth County Library’s oral history project.


The Monmouth County Archives holds the original 122 minidiscs produced during the project. Interviews were conducted using Sony minidiscs, from which audiocassette copies, also in the Archives, were made for use in transcription.

In addition to the sound recordings, there are two manuscript boxes with a folder for each person interviewed. The folders contain release agreements and, in some cases, other materials, such as notes made by the interviewer, copies of clippings and articles about the narrator, and draft transcripts. A few folders pertain to individuals for whom written material was collected by the project director but who either were not interviewed or the oral history was not completed. In addition, there are folders pertaining to project management and to Monmouth-related interviews at other repositories that were not part of the Monmouth County Library’s project. A printout of the entire list of interviews in the database (including both project interviews and the interviews at other repositories) is included in the collection and in the paper version of this guide.


Use of the collection is primarily through the web site or book version of the published transcripts. A very detailed index to the transcripts is in the back of the book. For a list of these interviews, see

The manuscript portion of the collection is unrestricted, except that, with regard to draft transcripts and audio recordings, quotations must be made from the published, edited versions where available. The original master recordings on minidisc are stored in a vault for preservation purposes only; audiocassette copies are available for listening.

The paper version of this guide, available in the Archives reading room, includes a printout from the database listing oral histories with Monmouth County residents that were not part of the Monmouth County Library’s project and are on file in other archival repositories. These oral histories are not in the Monmouth County Archives. Archives staff can provide the contact information if needed. The paper version of this guide also includes information about the few uncompleted interviews that were part of the Monmouth County project.