This week, I want to write briefly about the nature of the oral history materials in Garcia’s collection. Oral history materials in this collection take the form of consent and release forms, interview transcripts, and conference programs and brochures. Of the six boxes in the processed collection, oral history materials take up nearly a full box if you include transcripts from interviewers other than Garcia himself.
Garcia interviewed many prominent figures and former UFW members, including a former UFW lawyer, and participants of the Coachella Valley Unified School District student walkout (see blog “Chicanx History in the Coachella Valley” or “Missing Voices”). As I look through the transcripts, especially a few of the longer ones, I must wonder if Garcia transcribed these interviews himself or hired a research assistant. One of the transcripts weighs in at just over 200 pages. These oral histories were crucial to his research, and it has been very interesting to read through a few of them. At least, some of the shorter ones.
Now that the processing is done, I am working on creating a container list. The container list is an excel spreadsheet which outlines the folder titles, dates, and notes that will be incorporated into the finding aid. As I create the list, I must go back through some folders to make sure I add any important notes, such as significant points of interest for researchers or in some cases warnings about violent content and explicit language. This process can tedious, but it is important. However, I can be sure that it is not as tedious as transcribing hours of interview tapes. I’ll leave that to the oral historians (or, more likely, their research assistants).