Thnks fr th Mmrs (of your LGBTIQ+ experience at W&M)

With a recently approved PHSC proposal in hand to conduct oral histories with support from Swem Special Collections, I am scheduling appointments and meetings to actually conduct the oral history interviews with the alumni I have contacted. Jeff Trammell (WM ’73 and former Rector of the College) has served as an extremely helpful resource in finding LGBTIQ alums that are also members of other underrepresented groups. He has already been interviewed by the Stephens Project at Special Collections but he put me in contact with many of my potential interviewees. I have also been testing and researching several options for recording phone or video calls for my oral histories. I do not want to limit my pool of alumni to only those within driving distance and have had some luck in finding a couple viable options (although any suggestions from more tech savvy summer researchers would be much appreciated!)

My last week in Swem was also spent battling with the microfilm reader in the library’s basement. After reading the manual and learning more than I thought I would about microfilm readers, I began my search for intersectional newspaper articles in the Richmond Afro-American and Richmond Planet (one of the newspaper’s several names in its 58 year history of publication). This was a black-run newspaper based in Richmond and Swem has all issues from 1938 through 1982. I requested the 1983-1996 papers through Interlibrary Loan and hopefully will receive most if not all of these records by mid-July. I began my search for articles in the 1982 issues and am working my way backwards. I made this choice since this was around the start of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. and seems more likely that articles discussing LGBT+ issues (either positively or negatively) will be found in these later issues.

My next steps are solidifying in-person meetings to conduct oral histories throughout the month and continuing my newfound working relationship with the microfilm readers.


  1. machoffel says:

    You’ve probably already done this but if you need help with the media portion of your project I’d contact Troy in the media center if he is hear this summer. He was a major help when I was doing a documentary for one of my classes. You can also see about setting up a consultation with someone in the media center (also if they are here this summer). I’m pretty sure there is a way to film a Skype session for your out of driving distance alumni, I just can’t remember how and they might know. Good luck!

  2. cchurtado says:

    How many oral histories are you planning on conducting? Have you thought about contacting alumni that were in positions of leadership in LQBTIQ+ groups on campus? It might take some searching but I’m sure if you contacted people in current leadership positions and worked your way back, it could possibly lead to more potential interviews. I’d love to see some pictures of the publications you’ve been poring over for the past couple weeks. What have been the most surprising or interesting findings that you’ve uncovered so far?

  3. I’d be really curious if you noticed a difference in the relationship you develop over the course of the interview in your phone/skype calls versus your in person interviews. I don’t know if it will affect their comfort with the conversation, and their willingness to describe events that may be more personal or sensitive. As someone who did some interviewing for the Stephens Project, I would love to know how this turns out. Good luck!