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Policy for Access to Oral Histories

Smith College Special Collections

Oral History Releases

Access to oral history interviews is governed by agreements between the person telling their story (the narrator), the person conducting the interview (the interviewer), the organization responsible for administering interviews, and Smith College Special Collections. Because some oral history interviews contain sensitive information, one or several parties may have requested that the interview will not immediately be available for research. Information about which interviews are accessible for research and which are not can be found in our online finding aids. If all parties have agreed to make an oral history available, we can provide access.

We have been collecting oral history interviews for many years. In some cases, our information about whether all parties have consented to make an oral history available may be ambiguous. If you would like access to an interview to which we do not have agreements, we will do our best to contact the narrator and interviewer to obtain a release. This process may take several weeks or even months, depending on how difficult it is to contact all parties. If we cannot secure permission, access to oral histories may be restricted until all parties are deceased.

Stakeholder Rights

If you have participated in an oral history interview that is now at Smith College Special Collections and you have questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at We are eager to respect the interests of oral history participants.