Chinese Oral History Project & Papers

Chinese Oral History Project is highly well-known in Chinese scholarly communities in the world, particularly in the Greater China Area. Most of the Chinese oral history collections are stored at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Columbia Center for Oral History. Most of them can be searched and discovered by using CLIO, WorldCat, Oral History PortalArchival Collections Portal and through meeting and discussing with librarians.

Major Chinese oral history collections include the following:

For more background information and relatively detailed descriptions of the contents of these collections, articles such as Chinese Oral History Collections at Columbia: Toward Better Access (Journal of East Asian Libraries, 140) and its later Chinese version 歷史寶藏:哥倫比亞大學中國口述歷史研究資源 (A Treasure for Historical Studies: Research Materials of Chinese Oral History at Columbia University) (《圖書資訊學刊》, 5 (1/2)) by the librarian may be helpful. Yet, theses articles were written many years ago, some of the library records of the collections may have been updated, changed, or, in a few cases such as Zhang Xueliang Oral History as of 2013, are closed to public access. Yet, Peter H.L. and Edith Chang papers, 1930s-2001 are available and accessible.

Thanks to the enormous efforts of unhiding hidden collections made by Columbia archivists and librarians under the libraries' new strategic directions since 2016, the well-known China-related oral histories have been processed and cataloged, with results shown in the rich records and contents of the above linked collections and more and improved finding aids to use. 

In addition to searching CLIO, WorldCat, Oral History Portal, and Archival Collections Portal, please contact the Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Columbia Center for Oral History if you have questions about accessing these collections.

The Chinese Studies Librarian may be contacted for further information.


Chengzhi Wang, Ph.D.
Chinese Studies Librarian
307M Kent Hall
(212) 854-3721