“We are becoming more aware of what a significant part of our heritage is lost when our seniors die or become incapacitated without having their experiences and history recorded.”-Dr. Paul S. Shaw MD., from the introduction to his book They Said It In Salisbury, Twenty Interviews of Salisbury History and Folklore.
We are deeply indebted to our past President, Dr. Paul S. Shaw, who made great strides in recording oral histories from our seniors. He compiled the oral histories in a book called They Said It In Salisbury, 1994, which is available through the Salisbury Historical Society and on loan at the Salisbury Free Library.
In 2004 Gail Manion Henry continued the tradition and added four additional wonderful interviews to the newer printing of the existing They Said It In Salisbury. We are grateful for her part in continuing this tradition. There are now a total of 24 Oral Histories gathered.
Capturing an oral account can be as casual as sitting with a family elder or friend and recording a conversation about the past with their permission. It is always important to include an introduction to the recording- Interviewed persons name, Date, Place of Interview, and Interviewer. Within the talk, dates or approximate dates of events are helpful. On occasion, a topic may be touched upon in one interview with a follow up a short time later.
It is now possible to record folks on cell phones in a digital format and simply upload them into a computer for later transcription or uploaded to your computer or our website if desired.
Do you have a senior in your family or neighbor that might be willing to be interviewed? This interview can be for your own family’s use or for sharing as the case may be, with their permission.
If you have or do any interviews that you think may interest others in town please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is a most interesting experience to read a description of past days in Salisbury directly from the person who lived through them. We are given a taste of life at that time. As with all recollections there may be some factual errors or misinterpretations but even with that consideration they remain a valuable source of information about life and past times in our town. Their recollections, in their own words gives it an extra vitality.
There are quite a few guidelines online with formats that help to organize the interview and keep it rolling along. Some of these guidelines are very detailed and less casual. The more structured styles presented on some of the oral history websites do present very good guidelines and things to consider. If you are unfamiliar with the process of gathering oral histories, it is suggested you review some of the helpful online information before beginning or simply take a look at Dr. Shaws book.
Several excerpts from Salisbury’s oral history interviews can be found on this website through the following links: