The Beulah Culbertson Archives and Special Collections partners with individuals across the university to house and provide access to several oral history collections that document the experiences of groups at the university and in the community. These oral histories are preserved in digital format and made available on a PC in the reading room.
LGBT+ Alumni Oral History Project
The LGBT+ Alumni Oral History Project is an ongoing, annual project with the goal of documenting the experiences of former students of Mississippi University for Women/Mississippi State College for Women with diverse gender and sexual identities. Interviews take place during Homecoming in the spring, the first having taken place in 2019. Alums are invited to sign up for an hour-long interview which will be conducted by current students. The audio of these interviews are recorded, transcribed, and transferred to the Beulah Culbertson Archives and Special Collections, where they will be made available in person and online to researchers. Alums who are interviewed have the option to request their interviews be closed for a set period of time of their choosing.
All interviews must be transferred to the archives with a deed of gift form, and all interviewees must read and sign an informed consent form before being interviewed.
Alumni are also encouraged to donate their records, photographs, and other materials to the archives in order to help us further document the The W's LGBT+ community for students, research, and the preservation of history.
Interviews take place on Friday afternoon during Homecoming. Interviewers are assigned an interviewee and the two meet in one of several rooms around campus chosen for comfort and discretion. Interviews typically last around one to two hours but the interviewee can stop the interview at any time. Interview questions are submitted to interviewees ahead of time though sometimes interviewees are asked extemporaneously to clarify or add detail. The interviewee may revoke their consent at any time at which point the interview will be deleted.
Once the interview is completed, the archives may contact the interviewee to ask for clarification of basic facts, but interviewees will not be able to amend their answers after the interview is completed.
Interviews and transcripts will be made available to researchers by visiting the Beulah Culbertson Archives and Special Collections as they are transcribed and references to sensitive third parties are pseudonymized. They will be posted online and made freely available as resources become available. Some interviews have been closed by interviewee request and will become available when those restrictions expire.
The advisory group sets goals for the project, guides its progress, and builds relationships and recruits interviewers and interviewees. The group is comprised of:
Nichole Bonaventure-Larson, Collection Development Librarian
Dr. Amber Handy, Director of the Kossen Center for Teaching and Learning and Associate Professor of History
Dr. Erin Kempker, Professor of History
Dr. Bridget Smith Pieschel, Professor of English
Derek Webb, Special Collections Librarian and University Archivist
Dr. Brandy Wilson, Assistant Professor of English
Integration Project Oral Histories
During the run-up to the 50th anniversary of desegregation in 2016, history students conducted oral histories with several notable figures from the first years of racial integration at The W. Together with another collection of desegregation oral histories held at the Billups-Garth Archives at Columbus-Lowndes County Public Library, these interviews give a much deeper history of the struggles and victories of the first African American students at The W than can be seen from other archival sources. The collection includes ten audio interviews in .WAV format, many with transcripts, along with some ancillary material.
Interviews and transcripts will be made available to researchers by visiting the Beulah Culbertson Archives and Special Collections. They may be posted online and made freely available as resources become available.
Columbus World War II Veterans
This collection contains the audio files for oral interviews of Columbus area World War II veterans for Professor Tom Velek's HIS 463 class in 2000 and 2003. The digitized versions of cassette recordings are converted into .WAV format and number 32 audio files. Not all of the cassettes have been digitized. Undigitized cassettes will be digitized as resources permit, but interested researchers may view the cassette collection, use a cassette on the archives' portable cassette player, and request a cassette be digitized.