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Finding Aid to the Willa K. Baum Papers, 1940-2006
BANC MSS 2008/114  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The Papers of Willa K. Baum document both her personal and professional life as a longtime resident of the Berkeley community and director of the Regional Oral History office (ROHO) at UC Berkeley. In addition to being a pioneer in the field of oral history and internationally revered in her profession, Willa was the mother of six children, a beloved friend, sister, daughter, partner, and teacher, all of which is reflected in the collection of her personal papers spanning from 1940 to 2006. This collection has been divided into four series: Correspondence; Personal Records; Academic Papers; and Professional Records. All four series give insight into the passion Baum had for her work and her family and friends. One colleague said in reference to Willa, "All time is precious, not to be wasted," which is shown clearly through her records of traveling, raising six children, writing leading books on the profession of oral history, sustaining lifelong friendships, and leading an oral history department that would create some of the most valuable work in its field in the country.
Background
Willa K. Baum was a leader in the field of oral history for much of her long life, as well as the mother of six children, a dedicated friend, partner, sister and daughter. She was greatly respected in her profession and in the Berkeley community. Willa dedicated almost half of a century to the Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) at the University of California, Berkeley, becoming its director in 1958 after several years as a transcriber, interviewer, and editor. Willa also published numerous manuals and articles on the discipline of oral history (including the still widely used book, Oral History for the Local Historical Society, first published in 1969), and was a founding member of the Oral History Association (OHA). Those who knew her personally saw her as an organizer and a brilliant, yet humble woman who never took no for an answer. Over her years at ROHO, Willa led the office from a two person operation with few resources (under $15,000) to a leader in the field, with 33 employees, a $500,000 budget, and a catalog of over 1,600 oral histories.
Extent
Number of containers: 4 cartons, 2 boxes, 2 oversize boxes, 1 oversize folder Linear feet: 8
Restrictions
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html.
Availability
Collection is open for research.