The Ball State University Libraries Complete the Middletown Digital Oral Histories Project
The University Libraries successfully completed the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Digitization Grant project for 2006-2007 in June. The LSTA funds were used to digitize, transcribe, and make available collections of oral histories in the Ball State University Digital Media Repository, http://libx.bsu.edu/.
The complete Middletown Digital Oral History Collection contains digital audio and transcripts of 188 interviews and is now available globally at http://libx.bsu.edu/MidOrHist/midorhist.php
for research and classroom use. The oral history collections include:
• Black Middletown Project, 35 interviews conducted with African-Americans in Muncie by Rutledge M. Dennis and Vivian W. Gordon from the University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University respectively in 1981.
• Black Muncie Project, 23 interviews conducted with African-Americans in Muncie by Mr. Hurley Goodall, Ball State professor J. Paul Mitchell, and Ball State graduate students between 1971 and 1978.
• Middletown Jewish Oral History Project I, 20 interviews conducted with members of Muncie’s Jewish community by Ball State professors C. Warren Vander Hill and Dwight
Hoover in 1978-1979.
• Middletown Jewish Oral History Project II, 24 interviews conducted with members of Muncie’s Jewish community by Ball State professor C. Warren Vander Hill in 2003-2004.
• Other Side of Middletown Project, 56 interviews conducted with African-Americans in Muncie by Ball State professor Eric Lassiter and a group of students as part of a collaborative ethnographic project and funded by the Virginia Ball Center for Creative Inquiry in 2003.
• St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church Project, 10 interviews conducted with members of the St. Francis of Assisi parish in 2006.
• St. Lawrence Catholic Church Project, 10 interviews conducted with members of the St.
Lawrence parish in Muncie in 2006.
• St. Mary Catholic Church Project, 10 interviews conducted with members of the St. Mary parish in Muncie. The oral histories were selected for the grant project based on the lack of representation of the African-American, Jewish, and Catholic populations of Muncie in the original Middletown study conducted by Robert and Helen Lynd in the 1920s. Students and scholars now have increased access to these resources through the Internet.
This project was truly a University Libraries-wide effort. In particular, staff from throughout the library contributed to the time-consuming and difficult task of transcribing many interviews. Special thanks go to all of the individuals involved in making this a successful grant project.