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Oral History

Overview

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Campus Unrest at NIU

Town-Gown Relations in DeKalb

Farming and Farm Families in DeKalb County

NIU Biographies

History of NIU Foundation, February 7, 1987

Workers at Wurlitzer During World War II

Burlington Railroad Strike Collection

NIU Centennial Histories

Regional Histories



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Oral History, 1979-2008 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Oral History, 1979-2008

Predominant Dates:1979-2008

ID: RHC/UA/53/

Extent: 3.5 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 00/00/1979

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Oral History Collection is comprised of ten separate oral history projects.  Some of the oral history projects are quite large, such as Town-Gown Relations in DeKalb (OH-2, containing 43 interviews) and Farming and Farm Families in DeKalb County (OH-3, containing 34 interviews).  Two collections, NIU Biographies (OH-4) and Regional Histories (OH-9), contain only one interview each, as of 2009.

In most cases the original oral history cassette interviews are available for listening.  In other cases, such as the Burlington Railroad Strike Collection (OH-7), only the transcripts are available [and these are located in RC 217].  Many of the other oral history interviews have only abstracts which highlight and summarize the questions and answers.  A reference assistant will aid researchers who wish to listen to the interviews on the tape recorder.

In some instances the researcher can find supplemental materials included with the collections.  Addition information may also be found in other University Archives and Regional History Collections  – please ask a staff member for assistance.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Use Restrictions: The Regional History Center holds all property rights; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: Glen Gildemeister

Acquisition Method: Glen Gildemeister began the acquisition of the oral histories in this collection during his tenure as University Archivist, 1979-2007.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Campus Unrest at NIU],
[Series 2: Town-Gown Relations in DeKalb],
[Series 3: Farming and Farm Families in DeKalb County],
[Series 4: NIU Biographies],
[Series 5: History of NIU Foundation, February 7, 1987],
[Series 6: Workers at Wurlitzer During World War II],
[Series 7: Burlington Railroad Strike Collection],
[Series 8: NIU Centennial Histories],
[Series 9: Regional Histories],
[All]

Series 3: Farming and Farm Families in DeKalb County

INTRODUCTION

“Farming and Farm Families in DeKalb County” was an oral history project undertaken by an oral history methodology class at Northern Illinois University.  The initial nineteen interviews took place during October and November of 1986.  The instructor, seven graduate students in history, and two undergraduates interview twenty people engaged in farming in DeKalb County at some period in their lives since World War II.  Narrators were drawn chiefly from volunteers who belonged to a retired farmers’ association called “Prime Timers.”  On two of the tapes, first names only were used as the narrators chose not to be identified by the use of their last names.  Each narrator received a copy of the tape to keep.  An additional fifteen interviews were conducted between September of 1989 and February of 1990 by Valerie Quinney and Terry Kuhn.

Property rights in the series belong to the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.  There are no restrictions on access to these materials.

DESCRIPTION

The topics discussed in this collection include: changes in farming technology and practices; chores assigned on the basis of age and gender; roles and status of women in farm work; perceptions of farming as a way of life; perceptions of personal independence and economic security; kind and degree of participation in community activities; amount and use of leisure time; and availability of adult education.

The sample of farmers is biased in favor of the successful farmer.  The majority of narrators are farmers who retired in some comfort, as opposed to those forced out of farming.  In fact, there are no representatives of the latter category.  There is an age bias as well, with the majority well past retirement age.

In spite of the limitations listed above, the collection can be informative.  Both large and small farming operations are discussed.  The hardships of farming are pointed out, and small farmers talk about the pressures they endured and the reasons they quit farming.  Especially interesting is the testimony of both men and women of the changes in relationships with neighbors in the rural areas, in cohesiveness within the family, and in social support networks.  Subsequent additions to the collection have focused on the experiences and role of women in farming.

Researchers should note that thirteen of the first nineteen oral histories, recorded in 1986, are on tape only and have no transcripts.  The oral histories recorded in 1989 and 1990, on the other hand, are available only in transcript form.

File Drawer 1
Folder 3a: Inventory
Folder 3b: Farming and Farm Families in DeKalb County, research paper by Sharon Marie Bartholemew, 1986
Folder OH 3.1: Ann Anderson, interviewed by Terry Kuhn, November 4, 1986
Interview details all aspects of farming life, past and present.  Ann also discusses life as a farm wife and parent, school experiences, and the importance of church, friends, and modernization. [index and 2 tapes]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.2: Don --, interviewed by Rosemarie Ostberg, November 3, 1986
Don's interview details his childhood years growing up on a farm as the youngest member of the family.  He explains how he later resurrected a defunct farm.    [index and tape]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.3: Joanne, November 10, 1986
Joanne discusses her farming background in LaSalle County as a child during the 1950's and 1960's, as well as her present status as a farm wife employed at NIU.  Her husband works on his father's farm, and also owns a small trucking company and raises pigs. [index and 2 tapes, 1 is a duplicate]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.4: Karl Boekenhauer, interviewed by Greg Vosefski, November 12, 1986
Boekenhauer farmed in DeKalb County from the 1930's until 1952.  After leaving the farm, he continued to be involved in local agriculture.   Boekenhauer was also a feed salesman/manager for Northern FS Co-operative.    [transcript and tape]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.5: Luke Bridger, interviewed by Terrence Zeller, October 22, 1986
Born in South Grove, IL, in 1910, Bridger lived in the DeKalb area all his life.  He began farming in 1931, moved to his present farm in 1943, and retired from farming twelve years ago (1974).  He eventually farmed over 1,000 acres, with livestock forming the basis of his marketing operations.  This is the view of a successful farmer and community leader.    [index and tape, 50 minutes]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.6: Bill Clausen, interviewed by Ed Gallagher, November 13, 1986
Clausen grew up on the farm that he lives on today.  This narrative offers a good overview of changes in DeKalb farming.  Clausen recalls trends and events in American agriculture. [index and tape, 90 minutes]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.7: Martha and Bill Gommel, interviewed by Mindy Newman, November 24, 1986
The Gommel's have lived in their home in Malta since their marriage in 1940.  This interview covers farming and farm life from the 1940's through the 1980's.  They discuss economic and technological changes, and the role of the farm bureau. [index and tape, 80 minutes]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.8: Bev Kuhn, interviewed by Terry Kuhn, November 7, 1986
Although Bev Kuhn grew up in a small city in Australia, her parents had farming backgrounds, and she visited family farms during her childhood.  She has lived in the DeKalb area since 1974.  Her husband works as a plumber in addition to farming with their three sons.    [transcript and tape, 90 minutes]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.9: Jack Kuhn, interviewed by Kelly Keister, November 17, 1986
Kuhn helped his family maintain a dairy farm outside of Warren-ville, Illinois.  He went into plumbing to augment his farm income and spent several years in the service.  After his marriage and the sale of the Warrenville property, Jack  his father, his brother, and their families moved to Clare, IL and settled on their present farm.     [transcript and tape, 60 minutes]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.10: Evelyn Lanan, interviewed by Sharon Bartholemew, November 10, 1986
Lanan grew up on a farm in Esmond, Illinois.  She is a graduate of NIU, receiving a two-year teaching degree.  Evelyn spent more time with household chores and Home Extension than with actual farming procedures.    [transcript and tape]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.11: Howard Lanan, interviewed by Valerie Quinney, November 10, 1986
Lanan farmed until 1980, raising grains, chiefly corn, and livestock. General topics of this interview include: early settlers in DeKalb County, Lanan's family history, childhood on the farm, social life, education in the 1920's and 1930's, and changes in farm technology.    [transcript and tape, 90 minutes]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.12: Milton Lambert, interviewed by Ed Gallagher, November 17, 1986
Lambert has been a farmer all his life.  The general topic of this interview is farming in DeKalb on a mid-sized farm, supplemented by rental of additional acreage, from the mid-1940's to the mid-1980's.    [index and tape, 60 minutes]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.13: Barb Male, interviewed by Kelly Keister, November 25, 1986
Male discusses how life has changed from her childhood to her children's.  The Male farm was bisected by the tollway.  Other topics include: growing up during the 1950's, early marriage, lifeon a DeKalb farm, and raising a family. [transcript and tape, 45 minutes]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.14: Clarence Neujahr, interviewed by Terrence Zeller, November 11, 1986
After high school, Neujahr moved from Nebraska to Hampshire, Illinois, where he worked picking corn and on a dairy farm.  He bought his farm in 1965, renting the land to others for four years, and farming it himself for another four years.  He discusses problems faced by today's farm community. [index and tape, 48 minutes]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.15: Orrin Pauling, interviewed by Valerie Quinney, November 3, 1986
Pauling was born and raised in his parent's DuPage County farm, near what is now Stratford Square.  After his marriage in 1939, he traveled to DeKalb County several times a week to work the farm that his father had purchased and eventually left to him.  Other topics include: farming methods in the 1930's and 1940's, implementation of the government farm program, and life on the farm during the depression.    [NO information folder, 2 tapes only]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.16: Ruth Pauling, interviewed by Sharon Bartholomew, November 3, 1986
In addition to her experiences as a farmer's wife, Ruth discusses education, social life and recreation, and the benefits of farming organizations.    [index and 2 tapes, 90 minutes]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.17: Warren Scholl, interviewed by Greg Vosefski, November 13, 1986
Scholl farmed in DeKalb County from the 1930's until 1986.  He also worked off the farm regularly since the 1950's.  He talks about government policies, and economic and ecological issues as they relate to farming.    [index and tape]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.18: Judy Stark, interviewed by Terry Kuhn, November 11, 1986
In this interview Judy Stark expresses her feelings about farm life, and the tradition of farming in the Stark family.  She was only minimally involved with the farm operation.    [transcript and tape]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.19: Mary Stark, interviewed by Kelly Keister, November 24, 1986
Mary has vivid memories of growing up on the farm.  She also discusses butchering time and holidays, selling eggs after her marriage, and moving from the family farm in DuPage County to a 110 acre farm near Lee in DeKalb County, in the early 1970's.   [index and tape]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.20: Lillian Smith, interviewed by Valerie Quinney, February 17,  1990
She grew up in farming family, married a farmer and still lives in the Malta area.    [transcript]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.21: Warren Willey, interviewed by Valerie Quinney, February 3,  1990
A Malta area farmer, whose farm goes back to 1855.  See also his wife Edith's interview , OH 3.22.    [transcript]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.22: Edith Willey, interviewed by Valerie Quinney, February 3,  1990
Grew up in a farm family, and married Warren Willey.  See  his interview, OH 3.21.    [transcript]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.23: Rupert Jordan, interviewed by Valerie Quinney, January 11,  1990
DeKalb area farmer.    [transcript]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.24: Virginia Wenmoth, interviewed by Valerie Quinney, October 01, 1989
Born into a farming family in Malta, now a farmer's wife still living in Malta.    [transcript]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.25: Ralph Schaeffer, interviewed by Valerie Quinney, February 18,  1990
Waterman area farmer.  See wife's interview, OH 3.26. [transcript]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.26: Blanche Schaeffer, interviewed by Valerie Quinney, February 18,  1990
She grew up in a farming family of Norwegian descent, and married a farmer.  See his interview, OH 3.25.    [transcript]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.27: Eunice Hartman, interviewed by Terry Kuhn, December 18, 1989
She discusses her life and responsibilities while growing up in a DeKalb Area farming family.    [transcript]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.28: Ella Shrader, interviewed by Terry Kuhn, October 08, 1989
Grew up in Waterman, and married a farmer in 1929, now lives in Shabbona.    [transcript]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.29: Leona Quilhot, interviewed by Terry Kuhn, November 11, 1989
Grew up in a Shabbona farming family, and married a farmer.   [transcript]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.30: Hazel Clapsaddle, interviewed by Terry Kuhn, September 23, 1989
From a Shabbona area farm family, she married a farmer in 1922.    [transcript]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.31: Audrey Soli, interviewed by Terry Kuhn, December 19, 1989
She was raised in a Sycamore Farm family.    [transcript]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.32: Edith Challand, interviewed by Terry Kuhn, November 11, 1989
Married a farmer in 1932, and has lived on a farm near Shabbona ever since.    [transcript]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.33: Lester Todd, interviewed by Terry Kuhn, November 18, 1989
A Shabbona area farmer.    [transcript]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.
Folder OH 3.34: Miles and Fern Lane, interviewed by Terry Kuhn, November 18, 1989
A farming couple who married in 1931, they both grew up on farms, Shabbona area.    [transcript]
Other Information: The Oral History Cassette Tapes are located in the UA 53 area in the basement stacks.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Campus Unrest at NIU],
[Series 2: Town-Gown Relations in DeKalb],
[Series 3: Farming and Farm Families in DeKalb County],
[Series 4: NIU Biographies],
[Series 5: History of NIU Foundation, February 7, 1987],
[Series 6: Workers at Wurlitzer During World War II],
[Series 7: Burlington Railroad Strike Collection],
[Series 8: NIU Centennial Histories],
[Series 9: Regional Histories],
[All]


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