A recent story in the Washington Post stated that “according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, about 1.7 million World War II veterans are still alive. Nearly 250,000 will die this year, about 685 every day. Almost all will take their stories with them when they go.” In 2000, Congress created the Veterans History Project to collect, preserve, and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans.
The Veterans History Project, which is a project of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, collects personal narratives (interviews, written memoirs), correspondence (letters, diaries) and visual items (photographs, scrapbooks, drawings). Although the current and urgent focus is on collecting the stories of World War II veterans, the accounts of veterans from the following wars and conflicts are included in the project: World War I, World War II, Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq. Accounts from civilians who actively participated in war efforts are also included. The project has so far acquired materials from 48,000 veterans. An online database can be searched and browsed to get descriptions of the collections. For those who want to visit and research the collections, please read the researcher information page. Appointments need to be scheduled a week in advance. An “Ask a Librarian” form is also available for questions via the Internet.
To search the database and get details on the project and how to participate, visit the Veterans History Project Web site at www.loc.gov/vets.
Filed under: Other Organizations, Preservation Tagged:American Folklife Center,American History,American Soldiers,American War Veterans,Letters,Library of Congress,Personal Documents,Personal Narratives,Preservation,Soldiers,Veterans,Veterans History Project,War Diaries,War Veterans,Wars