The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program is the official oral history program of the University of Florida, featuring over 6,500 interviews and more than 150,000 pages of transcribed material in the SPOHP archives and Digital Collections at the University of Florida. Our primary mission is to gather, preserve, and promote living histories of individuals from all walks of life.
At the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, we believe that oral history is an indispensable method of studying the past. Listening carefully to first-person narratives can change the way we understand history, including the way we approach scholarly questions and contemporary public policy debates. The passionate and poignant stories found in many oral history interviews serve as a great tool to excite and encourage people of all ages to study the past.
Foundations from 1967
The program was founded by Dr. Samuel Proctor in 1967 as the University of Florida Oral History Program, with support and grants from the Doris Duke Foundation. SPOHP’s earliest projects centered around Florida with the purpose of preserving eyewitness accounts of economic, social, political, religious and intellectual life in the South. Major projects focused on Native American, African American, military, and Florida county-specific history. UF’s oral history program was eventually renamed in Dr. Proctor’s honor as the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.
Projects and Ongoing Research
We strive to promote the thousands of invaluable oral narratives that have been entrusted to our care and are committed to building on the legacy of our founder, Dr. Proctor. Above all, SPOHP engages in active research projects designed to broaden the scope and scale of historical knowledge. We strive to make existing as well as emerging collections accessible to as wide an audience as possible through written transcripts, digital archives, podcasts, radio broadcasts, and public programs.
SPOHP also teaches the craft and intellectual traditions of oral history through university seminars as well as through community-based workshops. In addition, SPOHP consults on an ongoing basis with local historians, civic leaders, and educators in Florida and beyond who are interested in initiating oral history projects in their towns and municipalities. SPOHP is committed to engaging in the scholarly and educational life of the University of Florida and our state, as well as the broader world through public history programs, academic conferences, and scholarly collaborations.
In October 2013, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program was recognized by the Oral History Association with the Stetson Kennedy Vox Populi (“Voice of the People”) award for outstanding achievement in using oral history to create a more humane and just world. Teaching partner Falana McDaniels, of the McComb Legacies Project in Mississippi, was also awarded the Martha Ross Teaching Award.
In April 2014, UF’s Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures awarded SPOHP “Best Cultural Event” at the annual Noche de Gala ceremony for production of the documentary,“Siempre Adelante: A Look at Faith and the Immigrant Struggle.”
The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program: One Community, Many Voices.