Maritime Voices: Merchant Mariners and Shipyard Workers Remember WWII


In order to better understand events and people of the past, historians examine many different types of primary sources. Government records, letters, photographs and artifacts are just a few examples of primary sources.

Oral histories are collections of people’s memories, accounts and interpretations of the past in their own words. They are a record of an individual’s direct feelings and opinions and the events in which he or she was involved. Oral histories are obtained through interviews and are preserved on audio recordings, films, videotapes, and in written transcripts.

Get Ready to Listen

Use your listening skills to discover important information from the first-person narratives, then work with several supporting primary sources to answer questions about the person and/or their experiences.

Official documents of history only tell part of the story of an event, community or place. By recording the stories of real people a more inclusive, diverse, and personal picture emerges about the events of history.”

Paula Johnson
Curator, Division of Work and Industry

Listen to Tips for Recording Oral Histories

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For Teachers

PDF icon Download the Overview document for teachers.

Each narrative also includes a teacher guide with the discussion questions, tips for integrating the resources into your classroom, and full-page images of each of the supporting primary sources.

PDF icon Download the lesson for Spud Campbell.
PDF icon Download the lesson for William Flury.
PDF icon Download the lesson for Alan Harvie and John “Sarge” Ransome.
PDF icon Download the lesson for Maria Isabel Solis Thomas.