About the Jimmy Carter Oral History
The first of the Miller Center's presidential oral history projects began in 1981 with the Center's ground-breaking work on the Jimmy Carter White House. Center scholars, led by Bancroft Prize-winning Professor James Sterling Young, recognized that a valuable source of learning about the American presidency was not being fully exploited: the personal knowledge and institutional memory of those freshly departed from the White House.
The importance of this resource was accentuated by the fact that Carter was the first president elected in the post-Watergate era—meaning that there would be no Oval Office recordings for historians to mine in examining this administration. Under Young's direction, the Miller Center moved to fill this crucial historical deficiency. From 1981 to 1985, more than fifty members of the Carter administration—including President Carter himself—recorded oral history interviews, creating an important archive of primary source materials for students of Carter and his time.