Understanding Collections

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The Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection consists of over one thousand interviews of varying provenance. Interviews are typically organized into dedicated collections. Below is an overview of some of the different types of collections. Please note that collection types are broadly defined. Some collections may be difficult to classify or may fall into more than one type.

Topical Collections

Many of the individual collections in the archive are topical. For example, researchers with an interest in architecture, urban design, and urban planning will find it useful to browse the interviews in the American Institute of Architects collection. Researchers with an interest in environmentalism, activism, naturalism, and Shaker Heights will want to start by browsing the Shaker Lakes Nature Center collection. Researchers with an interest in race relations and rock and roll music in Cleveland between 1952 and 1966 should browse the Rock and Roll collection. This is not a comprehensive list of topical collections.

Geographic Collections

Some collections explore specific neighborhoods such as Cedar Central, University Circle, Midtown, Detroit Shoreway, and Fairfax/Glenville, or even entire suburbs like Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights. This is not a comprehensive list of geographic collections.

Organizational Collections

Some collections were initiated by – or focus on – the history of specific groups, businesses, or other organizations, such as the City Club, Cleveland Cultural Gardens, Cleveland Metroparks, Phillis Wheatley Association, Cleveland State University, and West Side Market. This is not a comprehensive list of organizational collections.

Demographic Collections

Some collections focus on particular ethnic groups such as Arab-Americans and Japanese Americans. Others tackle historical topics relating to the African-American experience, such as school integration in Cleveland Heights or the lives of African-American artists. The Seven Hills Golden Agers and Judson Park collections consist of interviews with senior citizens in residential assisted living facilities. This is not a comprehensive list of demographic collections.

Funded Project Collections

Several collections were created as part of grant-funded teacher education workshops (including Rivers, Roads, and Rails; Academy of American History; and Constructing, Consuming, and Conserving America), community development programs (Re-Imagining Cleveland), or special events or commemorations (Stokes: Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future). The Project Team collection grew out of the Euclid Corridor Oral History Project, but has grown to include a wide variety of unrelated projects collected by staff at the CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities. This is not a comprehensive list of funded project collections.

Classroom Collections

A few collections are the product of assigned classroom research projects at Cleveland State University Department of History, including History 304: Urban History, History 311: Introduction to Public History, History 319: U.S. Tourism, History 400: Local History, and History 695: Research Seminar.