Twelve oral history interviews of Wesleyan community members, including faculty emeriti and administrators, are available at Olin Library. Transcripts and recordings have been deposited in Special Collections and Archives, and Leith Johnson, university archivist, has worked to make the transcripts available on WesScholar. (A link to the collection of memoirs will also be available from the Wasch Center website.)
The set includes an extensive interview with Bill Firshein, the Daniel Ayres Professor of Biology, Emeritus, who passed away in December 2015. In this interview, Firshein related a whole complex of matters having to do with his Wesleyan career—his work as a scientist, his Jewish identity, his relationship with the administration, his colleagues, his hobbies and avocations. Another treasure in the collection is an interview with Bob Rosenbaum, who just completed his 100th birthday celebration in November. Rosenbaum is a University Professor of Sciences and Mathematics, Emeritus. He also served as academic vice president, acting president, and chancellor at Wesleyan.
“Should anyone undertake a history of the last 50 years of Wesleyan, going forward, these oral histories will be invaluable resources,” said Karl Scheibe, director of the Wasch Center. “And if no such history emerges, the oral histories will be even more important for the detail they contain and the perspectives they represent.”
Heather Zavod and Christine Foster, freelance writers who have contributed to Wesleyan magazine, are working on a new set of interviews this year, thanks in part to funding from the Friends of the Wesleyan Library and the library. The new participants are Jelle DeBoer, John Driscoll, Rick Elphick, Dick Buel, Duffy White, and Allan Berlind.
(This article was originally printed in the Spring-Summer edition of Check it Out, a publication from Wesleyan University Libraries and written by Karl Schiebe.)