Committees: Oral History
Group Pages


  • Primarily a) to develop the MLA Oral History Project plan and conduct recorded oral history interviews of MLA members to document the history and accomplishments of MLA and its members and b) to have these interviews transcribed and deposited in the MLA Archives at the University of Maryland for future research and Association use.
  • To coordinate with MLA chapter and music-related oral history projects to provide opportunities for MLA colleagues to partner with others and to share project ideas, strategies, best practices, and results.
  • To provide education in conducting oral history projects using established professional practices to the MLA membership.
  • To promote awareness and use of the MLA Oral History Project materials to the MLA membership as deemed in the best interest of the Association.

MLA Chapter Oral History Project Assistance

The MLA Oral History committee has created two PDF documents to help MLA chapters conduct their own music-related oral history projects.  Whether you have conducted an oral history interview or not, these will help you get started with your chapter’s oral history project.  Please contact the MLA OH chair if you have any questions or if we can help you in any way with your project!

How to Conduct MLA Oral History Interviews

MLA Oral History Interview Questions


MLA Oral Histories date back to those conducted by Carol June Bradley in 1985 – 1988 for use in her many articles and books.  Among these are profiles of a variety of MLA members, and a history of the events leading to the formation of MLA in 1931 (published in the June 1981 edition of Notes).  Carol went on to publish her remarkable book American Music Librarianship: A Biographical and Historical Survey (see review in Notes, March 1991).

Besides oral histories held at the national level of MLA, many individual MLA chapters have conducted their own oral histories.  Details will be shared here as they become available.

Oral History resources are readily available online.  A typical list of resources may be viewed at the Chicago Area Archivists Oral History page. The Oral History Association also provides information about oral history best practices. Baylor University's Institute for Oral History also offers guidance for oral history projects.

List of MLA oral histories held at the MLA archives:



75th MLA Anniversary, Plenary Session

23-24 February 2006

Adkins, Marjorie

8 July 1996

Blotner, Linda Solow

10 February 1996

Boonin, Joseph

13 February 1998

Campbell, Frank C.

2-3 December 1986

Coral, Lenore

29 January 1997

Davidson, Mary Wallace

9 February 1996

Epstein, Dena

12 June 1988

Harrison, Lou

6 February 1993

Krummel, Donald M.

6 March 1994

Lichtenwanger, William

13 November 1992

Ludden, Bennet

6 December 1985

McClellan, William

12 July 1997

Meyers, Kurtz

9 March 1993

Miller, Philip L.

2 December 1986

Peterson, Melva

21-22 July 1988

Samuel, Harold

16 April 1996

Sommer, Susan "Suki" T.

6 March 1994

Sommer, Susan "Suki" T.

9 February 1996

Weichlein, William

13 December 1985


If you have a question about MLA oral histories, please do not hesitate to contact the Oral History Committee chair.

Chair, 2017-2021
Therese Z. Dickman
Member, 2016-2020
Marci A. Cohen
Member, 2016-2020
Kathleen Haefliger
Member, 2016-2020
Treshani Perera
Member, 2016-2020
Daryll Stevens
Member, 2017-2021
Ellwood Colahan
Member, 2017-2021
Lynne N. Weber
Member, 2018-2022
Robert S. DeLand
Member, 2018-2022
Sara Wallace


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About MLA

The Music Library Association is the professional association for music libraries and librarianship in the United States. Founded in 1931, it has an international membership of librarians, musicians, scholars, educators, and members of the book and music trades. Complementing the Association’s national and international activities are eleven regional chapters that carry out its programs on the local level.