An oral history is a personal history acquired from an active participant in a particular discipline — from someone who can make a meaningful contribution to the understanding of events in that field. The importance of such a history has increased because the facilitation of both communication and travel has diluted the written record. Phone calls, personal visits and email are often more convenient than detailed and elaborate correspondence. Such efficiency fragments historical evidence.
The oral histories have been divided into several smaller collections, as outlined below:
APA Past Presidents' Oral Histories Project
These interviews are divided into two parts:
These interviews were initiated at the request of the APA Board of Directors in 1986. Until 1998, the interviews were often conducted by past presidents with other past presidents. The interviews contain a wealth of colorful anecdotes and information about important transitions in American psychology and in APA.
Interviews in this section were primarily conducted by Dr. Wade Pickren, APA Historian since 1998. He used the guidelines generated by the Board of Directors as a starting point to explore these accomplished individuals’ lives and work in psychology. What emerges from these interviews is a sense of the vibrancy of the association, as well as a sometimes poignant recounting of difficult events.
APA Oral History Interviews
This collection is comprised of non-presidential oral history interviews of various APA members.
Division 45 Oral History Interviews
This collection is comprised of oral histories compiled for various members of Div. 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues).
APA Oral Histories Interviews: NIMH Project
These interviews were conducted as part of the project begun in 1999 to document the impact of National Institute of Mental Health on the development of American psychology after World War II. The companion print volume to these interviews is Wade E. Pickren and Stanley F. Schneider's “Psychology and the National Institute of Mental Health,” published by APA Books.
Together, this is a rich documentation of the Golden Age of American Psychology that is the foundation of research and practice today.
VA Oral Histories Project
These interviews were conducted with a number of the key participants, psychologists and psychiatrists, in the development of the Veterans Administration project to stimulate the growth of the mental health profession in the post-World War II era. The clinical psychology training program of the VA was crucial for jump-starting the rapid growth of clinical psychology since 1945.
The companion volume to these interviews is Rodney Baker and Wade Pickren's “Psychology and the Department of Veterans Affairs,” published by APA Books.
Interviews with prominent contributors to the field of psychology.