Columbia University has one of the largest archives of recorded histories in the world, and it is open to the public. We conduct or collect approximately 300-500 new hours of interview each year – which we then add to that archive. We hold over 8,000 interviews; over 1,000 of these are biographical interviews of major figures in philanthropy, government, human rights, media history, public health, science and medicine. We also conduct large-scale research and urban history projects as well as government and institutional histories. The Oral History Archives hold one of the largest oral history collections on the New Deal in the country, an expansive history of Social Security Administration, interviews with leaders of the American Civil Rights movements, women’s liberation and equality movements, anti-war movements, legal history, women in the visual arts, the Republican era in China, 1930s Argentina, and more.
Search Our Collections
Use the Archive
Learn how to search the archives, and the policies guiding use of our archival materials on our How to Use the Archives Page.
Discover Our Projects
We have a massive collection of “project-based” interviews on such topics as philanthropy, government, social movement organizing, the arts, and more.
Click below to learn about some of our projects.
Explore Our Online Exhibitions
Increasingly, you can listen to audio and read interview transcripts from our collections, found via the Oral History Portal, from your computer. We also make special presentations or exhibitions of projects, on dedicated pages.