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Oral History Program

A page within Oral History Program

Who are we?

Established in 1968, UWL’s Oral History Program (OHP) collects, preserves, and promotes the use of local oral history recordings related to western Wisconsin and the Upper Mississippi River Valley. Our collection contains over 800 unique interviews.

Oral history generally refers to the collection of personal stories from people who have observed history and are attempting to make meaning about their lived experiences.  Our collection plays a crucial role in preserving the collective memory of our region. Students preparing to work in the OHP lab

As a scholarly sub-discipline within the field of History, oral history includes the study of pre-interview research, interviewing methods, ethical considerations, and interpretation of oral primary sources.  UWL students can learn these skills in HIS 300: Oral History Interviewing & Interpretation. 

OHP works with Murphy Library Special Collections and Area Research Center to preserve our oral history materials including audio recordings and transcripts. These materials are available to researchers, community members, and interviewees' family members.  Our collection can be searched using the Murphy Library Catalog. 

We are involved in a multi-year project to make many of our oral histories available online. A small portion of our collection is currently available at Murphy Library Digital Collections. 

If you would like to learn more, contact us at:

Collection Strengths 

  • Immigration and ethnic history
  • Early-mid 20th century urban and labor history
  • Environmental history
  • UWL institutional history
  • Veterans’ experiences
  • Women’s history
  • Rural Wisconsin history
  • La Crosse music scene 

We also have several small, but significant, collections focused on the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, Syrian and Lebanese-American identity in La Crosse, Hmong immigration and Hmong-American community building in La Crosse.


Donations to the Fredricks Fund come from generous people like you. They benefit students, faculty, and community members, and allow our program to:

  • Provide workshops
  • Train and employ student workers
  • Transcribe and digitize existing interviews
  • Add additional voices to OHP’s interview collection
  • Offer consultation and other services to organizations around the region
  • Build partnerships with individuals, organizations, and businesses whose work supports the mission of OHP.

Your donations are crucial for the continued success of this program. Thank you!


For online donations go to:

Make checks payable to Fredricks Fund and mail to:
UWL OHP Director; 401 Wimberly Hall; 1725 State St; La Crosse, WI 54601