The current director of the project is Dr. Caroline Kline, Research Assistant Professor at Claremont Graduate University. She maintains the website and promotes and curates the project. The founder of the project is Dr. Claudia L. Bushman. The project is run under the umbrella of theHoward W. Hunter Foundation, which also funds the endowed Mormon Studies chair and Mormon Studies program at Claremont Graduate University in Southern California.
Is this affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
While we focus on Latter-day Saint women's histories, the project is not affiliated in any with with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and operates independently of the church.
What is the relationship between the project and Claremont Graduate University?
The collection is housed at the Honnold Library on the campus of the Claremont Colleges. Claremont Graduate University has one of the few Mormon Studies programs in the world and is quickly becoming a place where scholars of religion come to learn about Mormonism. We are pleased to be a part of that and are supported by the Howard W. Hunter Foundation, which endows the Mormon Studies program as well as the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies.
What is the purpose of this project?
The purpose is to add to the available information about LDS women in the twentieth century. The voices of women are under-represented in the collections of material about the church. This particular collection will provide a resource for the study of women in recent LDS history and will stand as a body to be interpreted in the future.
Whose histories do you record?
Any women connected to Mormonism. We are looking for anyone, from age 18 to 108, who is interested in recording their experiences in their homes, family life, church life, work, and in their roles as homemakers, students, missionaries, single women, career women, converts, disaffected members, etc. If you have a story (and everyone has a story!) we would love to record it.
Who can interview or collect these histories?
Anyone! We only ask that you watch our short video on how to interview- this will familarize you with our methods and tools so that histories submitted to the project will all be consistently collected. This video will also give you the information that you need to pass on to your interviewee.
We encourage women to interview other women. You will be amazed by how this process is transformative not only for the woman whose story is being told but also for the interviewer who is welcomed into another person's life. We also encourage interviews to be done in group formats, such as book or discussion groups.
Can I interview my teenage daughter? How can the Young Women be involved?
While we encourage women of all ages to tell their stories and to listen to one another, we can only accept histories from women 18 and older into the collection. However, Young Women are welcome to volunteer with the project! Click here for more information.
How are these histories used?
Once a history is submitted to the Mormon Women's Oral History Project, it is formatted, names are removed (see below for more detail) and each history is given a number and archived in bound volumes in the special collections of Honnold Library at Claremont Graduate University.
Scholars, students, amateur historians and other interested parties can request access to the collection and will often read through them to use as source material in books, articles and other publications. Graduate students have used the collections as sources for their theses and dissertations. The hope is that the collection will become the go-to source for stories about LDS women in the twentieth century in the historical record.
Are names attached to these histories?
Once a history is received by the project, the interviewee's name is removed and the history is assigned a number. Bound volumes that are accessed by outside parties do not include the names of those interviewed. This restriction is in place until the year 2040, after which names will be reattached to the histories. In the meantime, when these documents are quoted, names within the text and identifying places are edited out.
We do not accept anonymous submissions- each history must have a name and a signed waiver giving the project permission to use the history as we wish down the line. This is to ensure authenticity- our collection is made up of real LDS women and their voices will be preserved.
Can I access the collection online?
Not at this moment. We are currently working to digitize past submissions. Histories collected from this point forward will be digitized so that a digital archive will be available to scholars and students unable to visit the collection in person.
I've lived a pretty ordinary life, do you really want my story?
Absolutely! There is a serious dearth of information in the historical record about everyday women's lives, their views, their experiences. We've come to find, in recording and archiving over 200 histories, that there is not a single one that is ordinary. There is not a single one that is not important.
The project is made possible by support from the Howard W. Hunter Foundation and the Mormon Studies program at Claremont Graduate University.
Additionally, the project is able to continue through the generosity of people like you! We are an all-volunteer organization and always need help with the costs of printing, binding, archiving, maintaining the website, and traveling to give training seminars and presentations. Please consider making a donation to help with our costs.