June 14, 2024

Looking back: the College of Eastern Utah’s oral history project

Thanks in part to a grant from the Utah State Historical Society and the Department of State History, the College of Eastern Utah will have its history preserved. Shelly Lemons, CEU history professor, will spend part of her time in the next year directing the project to collect oral histories about the college. “In light of our 65th anniversary, the timing for this project couldn’t be better,” Professor Lemons said.
“The purpose of the project is to collect, record, and preserve oral histories from local citizens about the founding and history of the college,” Lemons explained. The idea for the project came from conversations Dr. Cliff Coppersmith had with a neighbor. When Coppersmith discussed the idea with Lemons, she applied for a grant from the state to fund the project.
“I have some experience doing oral history. I was the associate director of an oral history project in Oklahoma before I came to CEU,” Lemons said.
She hopes to find students who are interested in learning more about the college to volunteer to help with the interviews. “We need to collect names of interviewees and set up times to talk with them. We’ll need people interested in talking with community members about CEU to conduct interviews. We’ll need people to transcribe the recordings into written documents. There’s something for everyone who has an interest in helping.”
Once the interviews are complete and the transcriptions typed, the collection will then be made available to anyone interested in learning more about Carbon County, the Price community, and the history of the college. “Under the terms of our grant, the state archives get one copy of the interviews and transcripts. But we will be keeping a copy for CEU as well,” Lemons explained. The collection will be housed in one of the many public information centers in Price, including the CEU library, as well as other locations around the county like the Western Mining and Railroad Museum in Helper.
Interviews are projected to begin October 1, 2003. Anyone interested in working on the project, as well as those interested in being interviewed, should contact Lemons at 613-5292 for more information.