Inside the Hillary Clinton Oral History Project
100 interviews create a detailed narrative of Clinton’s service
“Every interview has given us stories that nobody has heard before,” said historian Allida Black, who along with Barbara Perry, co-directs the Hillary Clinton Oral History Project for the Miller Center. “I’m not interested in rehashing stories that are in the public domain.”
With 80 participants scheduled to be interviewed, and another 20 dedicated interviews with Secretary Clinton herself in the planning stages, there are more stories to come. And when all is said and done, the project will rank among the premier oral histories on women, peace, and security.
Many of the important moments were not the subject of popular interest.
Rigorously researched interviews are the basis for this project, thanks to the project’s research director, Sheila Blackford. The goal: understanding the personal and policy dimensions of leadership that shaped the early 21st century. But simply asking questions based on U.S. press reports is not enough. Many of the important moments were not the subject of popular interest. And many official documents are not yet available. So the team has to use national and international sources to home in on the most salient topics and elicit the most revealing responses. “What’s so totally cool about this project is that it is a blend of the best personal side of oral history,” said Black. “What you learned, your regrets, your fun stories, your challenges—and the nuts and bolts, in unadulterated form, of how decisions are presented, debated, and made."