About the Project

About the Regional History Project, UC Santa Cruz

The Regional History Project was started in July of 1963 at a time when the Santa Cruz campus of the University of California was still in the planning stages. Its major purpose was to interview longtime residents of the Central California Coast area whose comments would add significantly to the sketchy and inadequate written history of the region. A number of the interviews have concentrated on the economic history of the area (e.g. redwood lumbering, coastal dairying, apple packing and shipping) although such interviews also cover the social and cultural history of the region. In 1967 the Project expanded its scope to include a series of interviews on University history and the Lick Observatory. As oral history projects in the country have proliferated so has student and academic interest. This office now works closely with both students and faculty, as well as with community historical organizations, in introducing oral history methodology and in encouraging the use of interviewing as a method for supplementing our local and regional archives.

Regional History employs one full-time documentary historian who does preparatory research, topic and interview selection, interviewing, editing, and teaching and lecturing small groups. Although we are a small project, we have continued to reach out to both the academic community and the communities in this region to inform people about oral history, and in many cases, to help in the formation of volunteer oral history projects by providing consultation services and expertise.