California State University, Fullerton, Center for Oral and Public History

California State University, Fullerton, Center for Oral and Public History

The Center for Oral and Public History (COPH)—a component of the Department of History and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at California State University, Fullerton—embraces a three-fold mission. First, COPH collects and preserves the stories of distinctive individuals and diverse communities whose historical experiences have shaped the collective memory of Southern California, defined national and transnational identities, and reflected life in an era of globalization. Second, COPH undertakes and provides support services for public history projects, particularly those designed to share oral histories with public audiences in Southern California and beyond. Third, COPH trains CSUF students in the research methods of collecting oral histories, interpreting these histories, and presenting important regional, national, and global stories to the public. Ultimately, COPH seeks to combine the strengths of oral history and public history in order to build better connections between Cal State Fullerton and the communities—local, national, and global—to which it is tied. With more than 5,000 recorded interviews and related transcripts, photographs, and other materials, COPH maintains the largest oral history archive in the state of California. The collection stands out nationally for its grassroots nature and the wide range of communities represented. The genesis of this archive came with the creation of a student-driven oral history program at Cal State Fullerton in 1968. Today, we continue to train students to create oral histories and generate new collections. We recognize that certain obligations accompany ownership of these collections, in particular the maintenance of a suitable storage environment and access for users, including students, scholars, educators, community members, journalists, filmmakers, and policy makers. We endeavor to employ the most appropriate, up-to-date technologies to achieve both of these ends.

Collections at this institution