Veterans History Project

The Institute of Historical Survey Foundation (IHSF) has created a division at the Archive which is devoted to the gathering, preserving, recording and publishing evidence of historical and antiquarian interest of a military nature for the purpose of promoting academic research and promulgating historical information focusing on the service of our nation's military veterans throughout history.

 

VETERANS HISTORY PROJECT - CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF INTERVIEWS

The VHP encompasses the requirements stipulated by the Library of Congress, including the submission of data files containing the voice recordings of each interview. This was made possible by the procurement of four digital voice recorders which enabled IHSF to quickly download files into computers, and more importantly, has provided the ability to interview veterans off-site, in their homes or other locations, if necessary.

IHSF continues to train additional interviewers and transcribers in anticipation of an increase in interviews, enabling multiple interviews at locations and times most convenient to the veteran being interviewed. Additional trained transcribers reduced the turn-around time from date of interview to completed rough draft.

IHSF has spread the word about VHP to various military organizations by conducting talks and developing media such as posters and brochures.

Accounting for the interviewers' and transcribers' time, office supplies such as recorders, data discs, paper, computer supplies, postage and correspondence with the Library of Congress, each interview costs IHSF between eighty and one hundred dollars. Since the VHP is not funded by the Library of Congress, and there are currently no available grants to cover costs, the entire program must be funded by generous donors.

Since its establishment at the Institute of Historical Survey Foundation, the Veterans History Project has interviewed more than 250 veterans. We have developed the program and the infrastructure that will support an ever increasing number of interviews, so the potential is virtually unlimited! Please contact us with any questions at military@ihsf.org.

 

Our Goal

The goal of the Veterans History Archive is to gather and preserve documents, photographs and other artifacts which provide a glimpse into the personal histories of our local veterans. To date, IHSF has received hundreds of items ranging from the Civil War to World War I, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. These include Civil War diaries, WWI correspondence, photographs of aerial bombing raids in WWII and Base Camps in Vietnam, as well as 8 millimeter movies from Vietnam. Generous veterans have donated diaries and scrapbooks including maps, medals, flags and even several World War II and Vietnam uniforms!

 

One Veteran’s Gift

George Anderson “Andy” Fisher was a tailgunner in a B-24 bomber during the China- Burma- India theatre of operations during World War II. During his military service he saved virtually every document given him: Photos, orders, menus from restaurants where he ate while on R&R and training documents detailing the accomplishment of tasks required of a B-24 crew member. He brought his scrapbook in to IHSF and we were privileged to scan several of his documents, including the one below.

Photograph of B-24 Crew in China-Burma-India theatre of operations during World War II,
donated by George A. Fisher.

 

The IHSF facility (see the "About" page)

The Archive at the Institute of Historical Survey Foundation is a state-of-the-art repository for photos, documents, books and miscellaneous artifacts. The storage area is climate and humidity controlled in order to provide the best environment for gifts of any kind and of any age and, as a result, will retain their current state for many years to come.

 

Veterans History Project

The Veterans History Project is a subdivision of the Veterans History Archive whose purpose is to conduct interviews with veterans and preserve those stories as a personal enhancement to the published military history of our great nation. In 2000, The United States Congress created the Veterans’ History Project (VHP) as part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. In 2002, IHSF became a partner of the Library of Congress in this endeavor, and since then has conducted more than one hundred fifty interviews. Officers and enlisted men and women, serving as commanders, medics, nurses, infantrymen and airmen in US bombers and many other duties, have donated their time to be interviewed. Stories of heroism, bravery and daily life all have enriched our understanding of America’s conflicts by providing a social history of the efforts of the men and women of our Armed Forces. These stories have been methodically collected, documented and forwarded to the Library of Congress for inclusion in the nationwide Veterans History Project database for scholars and laymen alike.

The history of America’s service men and women and those who support them during times of conflict is an integral part of the history of our country. The Veterans History Project (VHP) at IHSF is conducted under the auspices of the Library of Congress, Washington DC, with a goal of collecting and preserving those histories for generations to come.

Each veteran's interview is approximately ninety minutes in length, and the basic questions are provided to each interviewee prior to the interview. Once the interview is completed, either at IHSF or elsewhere on-site, it will be transcribed, reviewed by the service member and, once finalized, provided to the service member as well as the Library of Congress (LOC). The LOC then enters the service information and transcription on the nationwide database located at www.loc.gov/vets. IHSF also accepts service related items for preservation and archiving. You are invited to bring along your war memorabilia, so they can be also be preserved for future generations.

Frequently Asked Questions

 
What happens to my interview and other donated items?

The items that you donate to the Veterans’ History Project are housed in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress and/or the Institute of Historical Survey Foundation. Your stories and collateral materials are available to you, scholars, students and anyone else visiting the Library of Congress web site after a six month processing period. In fact, once the transcript of your interview is finalized, we will provide you a copy.

How do I access the VHP Web site?

The web address for the Library of Congress VHP web site is www.loc.gov/vets (Click on Search the Veterans’ Database). Once your interview transcription is completed, IHSF will forward your biographical information and interview to the Library of Congress, where your information will be used to create a web page containing your service history and other information, as well as instructions on how to obtain copies of the transcripts of your interview.

What can I do?

First of all, grant IHSF an interview! You can also help by spreading the word about VHP to your fellow veterans. We are always looking for volunteers to help the program by interviewing or typing interviews. Finally, since IHSF is a nonprofit agency, donations are sought to help offset the cost of the program.

A Program in its Infancy

The United States Congress created the Veterans’ History Project (VHP) in 2000 as part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. In 2002, IHSF became a partner of the Library of Congress in this endeavor, and since then has conducted more than one hundred-fifty interviews. Officers and enlisted men and women, serving as commanders, medics, nurses, infantrymen and airmen in US bombers and many other duties have donated their time to be interviewed. Stories of heroism, bravery and daily life all have enriched our understanding of America’s conflicts by providing a social history of the efforts of the men and women of our armed forces.

 

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