Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History Wins State Award for Historic Preservation

Newswise — WACO, Texas — Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History has won the Texas Historical Commission’s 2011 Award of Excellence in Preserving History.

The award will be presented at the commission’s annual banquet April 1 in Austin.

The institute was nominated by William McWhorter, military historian for the commission, who in his nomination cited the “consummate service” of the institute during the past four decades.

The institute “has established itself as the benchmark in Texas for providing a voice to previously under-represented segments of this state that document memories representing the diversity and historical significance of Texas history,” he wrote.

The institute creates and archives oral histories, preserving a sound recording and typed transcript of interviews with eyewitnesses to Texas history.

It also has earned “an impressive reputation for multidisciplinary outreach to both academic scholars and community historians by providing professional training, education tools and research opportunities,” McWhorter wrote.

Besides offering workshops in oral history techniques, the institute encourages oral history scholarship through fellowships and graduate assistantships.

McWhorter hailed the institute’s role in training workshops for the commission’s Military Sites Program’s “Here and There: Recollections of Texas in World War II.”

Among several archived collections at Baylor are “Building History: The Mart Black History Project” and “Country Churches in Texas,” chronicling the survival of rural congregations in the era of urbanization.

Staff members of Baylor’s Institute for Oral History are Dr. Stephen Sloan, director; Lois E. Myers, associate director; Elinor Mazé, senior editor; Becky Shulda, administrative associate; and Michelle Holland, editor.

McWhorter commended Sloan, Myers and Mazé, rotating lecturers in the institute’s training workshops statewide, for their professionalism as well as their “enthusiasm, grace and humor.”

The THC’s Award of Excellence in Preserving History honors an individual, organization or project that has significantly contributed to the understanding or preservation of Texas history. It recognizes achievements in preservation planning, historic site identification, preservation of significant archival or artifact collections or research that leads to a greater understanding of state or local history.

Contact: Terry Goodrich, Assistant Director of Media Communications, Baylor University, (254) 710-3321

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