The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program is an affiliated program of the University of Florida's Department of History. Its collections include approximately 4,000 interviews and more than 85,000 pages of transcribed material, making it the largest oral history archive in the South and one of the major collections in the country. The transcribed interviews are available for use by research scholars, students, journalists, genealogists, and other interested groups. Researchers have used our oral history material for theses, dissertations, articles, and books.
The Program's major collection has more than 900 interviews with Native Americans --including Seminoles, Cherokees, and Creeks. Other holdings include such diverse subjects as African Americans in Florida, civil rights activities in St. Augustine (1964), women in Florida, pioneer settlers, a history of Florida education, the citrus industry, and the Florida Highway Patrol.
Other significant collections include Florida politicians, Florida newspapers, Growth Management in Florida, a history of the University of Florida, the UF Law School, the UF Medical School, the Civilian Conservation Corps, African Americans in the Korean War, Florida business leaders, the history of Florida's Water Management Districts, and the UF Women's Studies Program.
Though the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program records and archives audiotapes of its interviews, only transcripts are currently available in this digital collection. Transcriptions contain interviews with Italian immigrants in Ybor City; farmers along the Suwannee River, Florida "Crackers," and 178 conversations with rural women from all across America. Transcripts also feature interviews with such distinguished Floridians as Walter L. "Red" Barber, sports announcer; Dr. Robert Cade, inventor of Gatorade; former governors Farris Bryant and LeRoy Collins; former University of Florida presidents, and U.S. Senator Bob Graham.
The Program also houses sound archives which include University of Florida-related speeches; video tapes of television interviews with prominent individuals, such as Dean Rusk, William C. Westmoreland, and George McGovern; Native American slides and photographs, and 350 recordings of music including concerts, folk music, and Native American chants. Selections from these ancillary collections are targetted for future digitization and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program website includes a catalog with summaries of selected interviews for all collections as of 2004.
The Matheson Museum houses a library, archives and museum with an extensive collection of Florida and local history books and periodicals, and a growing collection of local historical maps, photographs, papers, and museum objects. The digital collections of the Matheson Museum represent a fraction of these holdings.
The Museum’s oral history collection includes 125 interviews of Alachua County residents from all walks of life. Topics include family history and genealogy, the home front experience during the World Wars, schools and businesses, development, race relations and integration, the University of Florida, and the experience of daily life and culture in Gainesville and Alachua County over a 100- year time span. The oral history program is ongoing, with several new interviews added annually.