Charlene L. Martin and Maureen Ryan Doyle, Co-Chairpersons of the Worcester Women’s Oral History Project (WWOHP), presented a session entitled Community Engagement through Oral History, at the Massachusetts History Conference on June 4 at the College of the Holy Cross. Their talk focused on developing and sustaining an oral history project featuring community involvement. Last year, WWOHP collaborated with five Worcester organizations that work with immigrants and refugees to gather the stories of women who have emigrated from Colombia, Algeria, Brazil, China and Burma to the Worcester area. That effort, working with the Clemente Course in the Humanities, Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester, The Educational Bridge at Notre Dame Health Care, Refugee Artisans of Worcester, and Worcester Refugee Assistance Project, culminated in a public program attended by more than 100 people last December.
Established in 2005, WWOHP has collected, transcribed, and preserved more than 350 oral histories of Worcester-area women from all walks of life. The mission of WWOHP in part is to discover the connections between the past and the present for the benefit of the future. The permanent repository for these oral histories is the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute of Harvard University. Many transcripts are also available on the WWHP website.