Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Videos of First Division Veterans Now Accessible

Students, faculty, and other researchers worldwide now have 24/7 access to videotaped interviews with veterans of the United States Army’s First Infantry Division, commonly known as the “Big Red One.” Forty high definition videos, along with transcripts, comprise the Cantigny First Division Oral Histories Collection in the Ball State University Digital Media Repository,
http://libx.bsu.edu, a project of the University Libraries.

The interviews were conducted by Ball State history students Chris Reidy, Steven Brown, and Rachel (Fulton) Coleman under the supervision of history professors Dr. Michael W. Doyle and Dr. David Ulbrich (now at Ohio University) as part of a project funded by the Chicago-based McCormick Foundation with administrative support from the staff of the First Division Museum. The goal of the project was to preserve the memories of First Division soldiers who have served around the globe since World War II. The interviews focus on veterans currently residing in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.

The University Teleplex Services videotaped the interviews and digitized them. Ball State University Libraries’ personnel transcribed the interviews so that they can be read and viewed simultaneously.

According to Professor Doyle in a press release about the project, “Even the youngest veterans who saw action in Operation Desert Storm are now approaching their 40s. We do not want to let these soldiers’ stories go unrecorded.”

He said that the Cantigny First Division Oral History Project was intended to do for newer generations what Ken Burns did for the World War II veterans.

You can learn more about the grant project by viewing the Conversations Across Generations: The Cantigny First Division Oral History Project video by Chris Reidy available on the collection splash page in the Digital Media Repository.

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