The Maria Rogers Oral History Program consists of a collection of more than 1,000 audiotaped and videotaped interviews with long-time residents and other people knowledgeable about the history of the city and county of Boulder in Colorado.
The collection, which is housed at the Boulder Public Library's Carnegie Branch Library for Local History, provides a richly detailed account of both the daily life and the major events of the history of Boulder County.
Interviews, most of which have been conducted by volunteers in the Maria Rogers Oral History Program, cover a wide range of people including pioneers, settlers, cattlemen, farmers, homesteaders, housewives, university professors, activists, attorneys, physicians, coal miners and teachers.
The interviews of these men and women consist of personal reminiscences and recollections which give the flavor of everyday life and how the narrator experienced and remembers it. Dating back to 1976, the interviews cover the full range of Boulder County history including life in the mountains, on the farmlands, on the plains, in the towns, and in the city of Boulder.
Topics discussed in each interview vary widely depending upon the interviewee: from covered wagons and cattle drives to tea dancing and mansions, from politics to land purchases, from railroads to Rocky Flats, mountain climbing, tungsten mining, ice skating, songs, winter and summer storms, tunnels, hotels, prairie "neighborhoods," flu epidemics, home remedies, one-room schoolhouses and the histories of local institutions such as the University of Colorado.
History of the Oral History Collection
The Oral History Collection is named for Maria M. Rogers, the woman who nurtured the vision and the volunteers for more than 12 years, creating what is now one of the largest collections of local oral history in the entire U.S. Her book In other Words: Oral Histories of the Colorado Frontiers, was gleaned from hundreds of interviews in the collection, capturing the personal and public history of the pioneers and early residents of Colorado.
Digital Access to Oral History at Carnegie
The oral history collection is one of the many resources available in the tremendous collection of local historical materials, records and books stored at the Carnegie Branch Library. The Carnegie Branch Library is part of the Boulder Public Library system. While the tapes and summaries of the oral history program are part of the library's reference collection and may not be checked out, the facility allows for the individual listening of interviews during regular library hours.
The entire oral history collection is available on the library's new digital archive, a computer-based database which makes the interviews more accessible to search and to hear. The collection is often referenced by historians, students, local history buffs, family members researching ancestry, even writers and novelists seeking reference material about the personal side of Boulder's history for their work.
For More Information
For more information on the collection, to refer someone to be interviewed, or to inquire about becoming a volunteer for the Maria Rogers Oral History Program, visit the Carnegie Branch Library for Local History at 1125 Pine Street in Boulder, Colorado or call 303-441-1981.
For more information about our digital archive or how to search for and access interviews online, click here.
View or print our Interview Donation Form.
Oral history interviews may be copied for patrons who are using them for personal, research and/or educational purposes only. View requirements and order a copy of an oral history interview.
To help support the work of the oral history program, please print out our form for making a tax-deductible monetary donation to the Maria Rogers Oral History Program.