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Oral History

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NEWS
November 29, 1987 | By Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times
Nancy Reagan wanted automobile license plates personalized with her initials, NDR. So Verne Orr set out to fulfill her wish. After all, he was director of the state Department of Motor Vehicles and she was the wife of his boss, the governor. But Michael K. Deaver, then a top aide to Gov. Ronald Reagan and later deputy chief of the White House staff, told Orr to drop the idea. Deaver was afraid the plates would make Mrs. Reagan's car easily identifiable to terrorists. A month later, she called back and asked Orr, "How is my license plate coming?"
ENTERTAINMENT
August 11, 1989 | By Richard Fuller, Special to The Inquirer
Twenty years ago - from Aug. 15 to 17, 1969 - four young chaps put on a musical weekend party that changed the psyche of this Vietnam War-troubled country. A lot of oldsters didn't think young men and women who liked drugs and loved music could behave under such crowded and muddy conditions. That those older folks were wrong is just one reason for an essential book on the event, Woodstock: The Oral History by Joel Makower (Dolphin/Doubleday, $16.96), a large-size trade paperback of 361 pages, including many photographs and hundreds of interviews presented in an ongoing narrative.
NEWS
November 16, 1998 | By Byron W. Woodson Sr
If there's a moral in the recent scientific discoveries concerning Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, it might be - for my family, anyhow - that oral history is at least a match for science. A few years ago, out of love and admiration for my grandfather, Howard D. Woodson, my mother, Minnie S. Woodson, undertook a remarkable voyage of genealogic discovery. She was intrigued by my grandfather's inner drive and by the oral history of our family, which held that Thomas Woodson, my great-great-great grandfather, was the first son of Jefferson and Hemings.
NEWS
April 5, 1987 | By Michael Hirsh, Associated Press
From the mountains hereabouts, they used to mine the coal that fired the steel in a long-gone day when the Allegheny Valley was smithy to American industry. But now, all that is left to mine is nostalgia, and the lode is rich. Larry Evans, former steelworker, feels there is still something to profit future generations in the boarded-up mill towns decaying along the river banks, embarrassments to image-makers who tout a new, high-tech Pittsburgh as far removed from the gritty past as a glass skyscraper from a blast furnace.
NEWS
February 4, 1993 | by Frank Dougherty, Daily News Staff Writer
"History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. " - Winston Churchill Oral history, that loquacious witness that testifies to the passing of time, has a great future in Northeast Philadelphia. Augustine Birrell's observation of history as a "great dust heap" is being dismissed as nonsense by oral historians from the Wissinoming Historical Association.
NEWS
April 11, 1994 | By Mary Anne Janco, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
During World War II, Robert Warr, now a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, was in the Pacific working as an air control officer with a specialized unit that intercepted Japanese planes at night. Marnie Linton, who was living in Phoenix, Ariz., recalled visiting a Japanese-American relocation center in Arizona, where she saw rows of Quonset huts and barbed wire. Despite the sparse living conditions, they had planted lovely flower gardens in front of their temporary homes, she said.
NEWS
October 31, 1988 | By Nels Nelson, Daily News Theater Critic
To those fortunate enough to have survived it with limbs, mind and bodily facilities intact, World War II was not an unalloyed horror. Many considered it, in retrospect, the highlight of their lives, a time of unbounded excitement against which the relatively humdrum years that followed could only pale. Quite ordinary men and women were pried out of the ruts to which society or their own limitations had consigned them. They were afforded unparalleled opportunities to travel at government expense (if often to destinations not high on their wish lists)
NEWS
July 4, 1995 | By Kristi Nelson, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
The three women who gathered at the public library here Thursday to share their memories of the borough had varied experiences and different perspectives, but all had the same overall feeling about the small town: They enjoy living there. The oral history presentation was organized by Howard Zogott, director of the Yeadon Public Library, who said he wanted the program to be for the children of Yeadon, as a way to develop "a sense of who they are and where they are. " The lightly attended session turned out to be more like an overheard conversation among three long-time residents who were sharing outtakes of their lives.
NEWS
May 10, 1988 | By John Corr, Inquirer Staff Writer
The letter was formal, impersonal. Yet it instantly transported her back to that day, 50 years ago, when she received the glorious news that she, Frances Parry, a poor girl from a modest Pittsburgh neighborhood, would be going to college in Philadelphia. The letter invited her to come to the National Archives in Washington, to talk about her life and her 1938 essay on the U.S. Constitution, the essay that won her a college scholarship and changed her life. Parry, now Frances Parry Dorworth, and the four other winners of the Pennsylvania essay contest held in honor of the sesquicentennial of the ratification of the Constitution participated in an "inter-generational oral history session" last week with high school students who won prizes in last year's bicentennial essay contest.
NEWS
November 9, 2007 | By Dianna Marder INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
"Tell me," Vera Cramer Hershenberg urged her 80-year-old father. "Tell me about where you grew up, and why you became a doctor. Tell me how you want to be remembered. " And with that, David Cramer's story, of a Jewish doctor tending to African American families in North Philadelphia during race riots in the late 1960s, poured out. "I was never afraid," he said. "When the riots started, my patients came and sat on my steps and made sure nothing happened to me or my office. " Cramer, of Center City, was speaking to his oldest daughter, but he was speaking for posterity - for his grandchildren and for everyone else's.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
July 2, 2013 | By Darran Simon, Inquirer Staff Writer
For two days in 1967, Glassboro police Capt. Philip J. Coppolino stood outside the Hollybush Mansion on the Rowan University campus, scanning the crowd, helping to provide security for the two world leaders holed up inside trying to defuse Cold War tensions. The face-to-face encounter between President Lyndon B. Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin became known as the Glassboro Summit. It has been celebrated since by Rowan University - then Glassboro State College - and referenced in historical accounts.
NEWS
February 10, 2013
Mark Palmer, 71, a forceful and influential diplomat who served as U.S. ambassador to Hungary during the collapse of communism, and who was a chief author of President Ronald Reagan's 1982 speech declaring that Marxism was headed toward "the ash heap of history," died Jan. 28 at his home in Washington. He had melanoma, his wife, Sushma Palmer, said. From his first visit to the Soviet Union when he was 19, Mr. Palmer recognized that the Russian people were different from the Soviet government.
NEWS
October 7, 2012 | By Samantha Byles, Inquirer Staff Writer
Local historians can jump into the longstanding controversy of whether Betsy Ross stitched the first American flag at a new mini-exhibit at the legend's house. Defenders of Betsy Ross, whose story as the mother of the American flag first splashed into popular consciousness in the 1870s, have been warding off questions about her place in American history for more than a century. Ross's place in history as the mother of the flag grew out of a meeting that she had in late May 1776 with Gen. George Washington and fellow flag committee members Robert Morris and George Ross, her late husband's uncle.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 29, 2012 | By Howard Gensler
IT SEEMS LIKE Forbes publishes one of its highest-paid-celebrity lists every few weeks, but maybe that's just because Oprah Winfrey is always on top. So what if OWN is searching for viewers the way presidential candidates are searching for undecided voters, Oprah still topped this year's Forbes celebrity-earners list, netting $165 million in the fiscal year ending in May. Yes, it's $125 million down from the year before, but here at Tattle,...
NEWS
June 26, 2012 | By Barbara Boyer, Inquirer Staff Writer
Developer William Levitt created what he thought was "utopia" for the veterans of World War II as he used his wealth to buy farmland in Bucks County and turn it into affordable suburban living with simple homes, schools, and parks. "It was wonderful," said Army veteran Albert Wargo, who in 1956 bought his slice of the American Dream with his wife, June, both 88. Now married 65 years and living in North Wales near their three children, the two returned Sunday to Levittown to participate in the community's 60th anniversary and offer an oral history.
SPORTS
May 14, 2012 | Chuck Darrow
At this point in time, it's almost beside the point to refer to WIP-FM (94.1) as a mere "radio station. " Sure, that's what it is, technically speaking. But a quarter-century after it first got involved with sports-related programming (while it was still on the AM dial), the outlet has established itself as something more than just another over-the-air outlet. Instead, it can be argued that WIP has become so embedded in the culture of the Delaware Valley that it has taken on the status of a public utility.
NEWS
October 24, 2011 | By Edward Colimore, Inquirer Staff Writer
Cpl. Terry Roberts and four other Marines were patrolling near Vietnam's demilitarized zone one day in 1968 when they walked into a deadly ambush. Pinned down by an overwhelming force of North Vietnamese, they called for help. It came from many miles away. A strange, frightening roar like a freight train overhead was followed by the explosive thumps of 3,200-pound shells that shook the earth beneath them. Enemy soldiers were literally vaporized, the attack stopped, and Roberts' life was saved.
NEWS
February 19, 2011 | By Gustavo Solis, Inquirer Staff Writer
Those were some days, Helene Dixon is fond of recalling, when she and her friends used to swim across the Schuylkill while they were growing up in Gladwyne during the Depression. They'd grab a bite to eat at her father's general store, and off they'd go. When it was time to rest, they would sit on rocks and look at the Gladwyne Colony Insane Asylum, pretending that the fortress on Mill Creek Road was one of their houses. But then, they got spooked. "The patients used to escape all the time," Dixon says.
NEWS
November 25, 2010 | By David O'Reilly, Inquirer Staff Writer
Every Thanksgiving, Grandfather gets up from the table and spends the afternoon at the piano, singing folk songs from the old country. Did you ever wonder what memories the music unlocks? Did you ever ask him? The days surrounding Thanksgiving, when many a far-flung family draws near, are an opportune time to turn on a recording device and invite relatives to share stories from their lives. That's the annual reminder from StoryCorps, a national oral history project that since 2008 has designated the day after Thanksgiving as a "National Day of Listening.
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