For the past three years, a team of student researchers has traveled with SPOHP to the Tidewater region of Virginia to gather over 150 oral histories from watermen, veterans, and other residents of the region to document and preserve the traditions and culture of this once isolated part of the country. We have collaborated with local churches, historical societies, and foundations to establish a lasting relationship with the communities that we engage. Students should expect to encounter topics such as the fishing industry in the Chesapeake, environmental preservation, historic preservation, traditional crafts, civil rights, ghost stories, foodways, Native American history, colonial history, and more! If any of these sound interesting to you, feel free to apply!

Applications are due Friday, Sept. 15th.

Things to Expect:

  • Conduct anywhere from two to four individual/group interviews
  • Participate in a dig at a historical site with a professional archaeological team
  • Visit one of the many historically significant sites in the area (Jamestown, Yorktown,
    Williamsburg, etc.)

Trip Requirements:

  • Attend an informational meeting and a trip orientation (to be determined!)
  • Review provided readings prior to the trip
  • Conduct fieldwork in Mathews County and Lancaster County, Virginia
  • Submit a one-page reflection on the trip within one month of the trip’s conclusion

Information for students with disabilities:

The University of Florida is committed to providing academic accommodations for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities requesting accommodations should first register with the Disability Resource Center (352-392- 8565) by providing appropriate documentation. Once registered, students should present their accommodation letter to the internship coordinator supporting a request for accommodations. The University encourages students with disabilities to follow these procedures as early as possible within the semester.

We realize that many students will have to miss a few days of classes in order to attend this trip. With this in mind we are willing to provide an official letter from our program excusing you from class. We also can provide ample time to students during the trip (if needed) to study or complete any assignments they may have due. We strive to ensure that this trip will supplement each student’s college experience and not negatively impact their semester. If you have any questions or concerns about this or anything else concerning the trip, contact Patrick Daglaris.

Please email application to Patrick Daglaris or return the application to 243 Pugh

Download the application below!

Virginia application 2017

The Fall 2017 Internship Application is now open!  SPOHP’s semester-long academic internship is available to graduate and undergraduate students for credit as an introduction to the field of oral history.

The Fall 2017 Social Justice Initiatives internship offers a space for students to pursue their own interests in social justice research through training and mentoring in oral history and digital humanities methodologies. Interns may develop skills in interviewing and fieldwork methods; Transcription and interview processing; Podcasting and audio editing; Social media and event promotion; Short documentaries and video editing; Public and community engagement. Final projects involve conducting one or more oral history interviews and creating digital presentation for the public.

For more information, contact the Internship Graduate Coordinator Raja Rahim. Applications are due by May 1st, 2017. Please email applications to Raja Rahim or deliver to SPOHP offices, Pugh Hall 241.


Gainesville, FL–This fall, students and staff from the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) will return to the Middle Peninsula of Virginia, continuing the Fieldwork in Folklore research trip into its second year and building interviews for the Tidewater Main Street Project.

Student field researchers produced public history videos related to folklore, environment, and civil rights history interviews conducted during the October 2014 Fieldwork in Folklore research trip. The trip was organized by Jessica Taylor.

The UF History Department highlighted SPOHP’s inaugural Virginia Fieldwork in Folklore research trip, organized by graduate coordinator Jessica Taylor to bring students into the tidewater region and collect oral histories.

“Oral history festival to be held in Mathews,” The Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal, October 8, 2014.

The Virginia Fieldwork in Folklore research trip, organized by SPOHP graduate coordinator Jessica Taylor, was announced by The Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal, focusing on the Festival of Oral History and Folklore evening event at Mathews Memorial Library. The research trip to Virginia is supported by the Fairfield Foundation, Mathews Historical Society, University of Florida Office of Research, Middlesex Historical Society, UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Deltaville Maritime Museum Turner Education Fund, UF Phi Alpha Theta, Milbauer Program in Southern History, Mr. Allen J. Krowe, and Mr. Gene Ruark.

The university will send a delegation of 12 staff members and graduate students to participate in a panel discussion on oral history, conduct oral history interviews with local individuals, and train local volunteers to conduct interviews themselves.

oct 2014 gazette 2

“Oral history project underway,” by Sherry Hamilton, The Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal, September 3, 2014.

In anticipation of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program’s annual Virginia Fieldwork in Folklore trip, The Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal wrote about earlier oral histories conducted in Mathews County by SPOHP graduate coordinator Jessica Taylor. Taylor’s interviews laid the groundwork for the October trip, which was conducted in partnership with the Mathews County Historical Society, Middlesex County Historical Society, Fairfield Foundation, University of Florida Office of Research, UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Deltaville Maritime Museum Turner Education Fund, UF Phi Alpha Theta, Milbauer Program in Southern History, Mr. Allen J. Krowe, and Mr. Gene Ruark.

The purpose of the project is to capture aspects of Mathews history that otherwise would be lost.

-Forrest Morgan


Gainesville, FL—From October 21-26, 2014, UF history students will travel to eastern Virginia to discuss folklore, traditional crafts, and rural development with residents of Mathews and Middlesex Counties. The inaugural trip will feature two oral history open houses in Virginia, a methods workshop, and an interdisciplinary panel open to the public. Oral history research conducted during the week will build on a foundation of 45 interviews conducted on the Middle Peninsula by SPOHP graduate coordinator Jessica Taylor over the past two years.

The field research team headed to Virginia is comprised of past and present interns, staff members, graduate students and four undergraduate University Scholars. During the research trip, students will explore past and present oral traditions in eastern Virginia as well as economic challenges unique to the area. Mathews and Middlesex, once centers of production for ship captains working with deadrise fishing boats and dredge nets, have suffered economic decline in recent decades paralleling the erosion of the wider Chesapeake’s marine environment.

As the repository for archival collections of foundational American folklorists Stetson Kennedy and Zora Neale Hurston, the University of Florida is poised to expand the study of folklore and tradition. Conducting interviews with residents in Virginia will gives UF students a chance to see the places and lifeways around which local folklore grows and survives, with firsthand access to resources like vernacular architecture, boatbuilding, and local fishing technologies spanning three centuries, all in the setting of familiar national folklore like Jamestown’s settlement, Bacon’s Rebellion, and the Nat Turner slave revolt.

“A Festival of Oral History and Folklore,” one of the trip’s major initiatives, will take place over two days at the Mathews County Memorial Library. On October 22, an evening panel event at 5:30 will discuss “The Folk of the Tidewater: What Can We Learn From Eachother?” and an open house “Share Your Story” event to record memories and traditions will be held October 24 at 10:00 a.m.

The SPOHP research trip to Virginia is supported by the Fairfield Foundation, Mathews Historical Society, University of Florida Office of Research, Middlesex Historical Society, UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Deltaville Maritime Museum Turner Education Fund, UF Phi Alpha Theta, Milbauer Program in Southern History, Mr. Allen J. Krowe, and Mr. Gene Ruark.

For more information about these oral histories and the panel, please visit the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program’s website,, call the office at 352-392-7168, or e-mail SPOHP graduate coordinator Jessica Taylor .

Photo courtesy of Ronald Roland Hudgins.

Inaugural SPOHP Folklore and History in Virginia Team to Launch in October

Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP), University of Florida, September 12, 2014

News Release