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Guide to the San José State University Oral History Project Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • History
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Subject Heading

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: San José State University Oral History Project Collection
    Dates: 2005-2006
    Collection number: MSS-2006-04-01
    collection size: 2 Boxes 1 Linear Foot
    Repository: San José State University Library.
    San José, California 95192-0028
    Abstract: This collection contains audio tapes and transcripts documenting the experiences of key administrators and faculty from San José State University. The oral histories described, reflect the changes in campus governance, curriculum and student life from 1952 to the present.
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's Online catalog
    languages: Languages presented in the collection: English


    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has been assigned to the San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    San José State University Oral History Project, MSS-2005-04-01, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.

    Processing Information

    Processed and EAD encoded by Veronica Cabrera, 2008.


    San José State University (SJSU) has the distinction of being the oldest public institution of higher education on the West Coast. The early history of SJSU began in 1857 in San Francisco with the formation of the Minns’ Evening Normal School. The Minns’ Evening Normal School provided the foundation for the formation of the first California State Normal School in 1862 and firmly established the college and university system in the state. In 1870 the campus moved from San Francisco to San José.
    San José State University’s name has evolved along with the institution. In 1921 San José State Normal School became San José State Teachers College, later renamed San José State College in 1935, later renamed California State University, San José in 1972 when it achieved university status, and finally, San José State University in 1974. From its beginnings as a normal school to train teachers for the developing frontier, SJSU has matured into a metropolitan university offering more than 134 bachelor's and master's degrees with 110 concentrations. The California State University system is the direct descendant of the San José Normal School.
    The SJSU Special Collections & Archives received a generous donation from Hobert W. Burns, former Academic Vice President, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, to sponsor the San José State University (SJSU) Oral History Project. This donation provided the funding needed to interview key administrators, faculty and staff. These interviews document the history of the university from 1952 to the present, and provide a rich array of personal accounts of student and campus life, faculty and university governance and policymaking.

    Scope and Content

    This Collection consists of fifteen audio interviews, interview transcriptions, and project correspondence from San José State University Oral History Project, conducted in 2005 and 2006. The Interviews were conducted by Dr. Margo McBane, Bonnie Montgomery and Suzanne Guerra. Each interviewee was asked to reflect on their early experiences working at SJSU, to describe key historical events, to discuss changes in policy, and to comment on the how these policies impacted the students, faculty, and administration. The interviewees include: Wanda Blockhus, Jack Douglas, Lester Lange, Mary Male, Brett Melendy, Sam Milioto, George Moore, James Noah, Lela Nobel, Theodore Norton, Jay Pinson, Wiggsy Sivertsen, James Walsh, Reverend Benton White, Jo Bell Whitlach, Ruth Jaffe.


    This collection is arranged into one series: I. Oral History Project, 2005-2006.

    Subject Heading

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    San José State University-- Curricula--Programs
    Education, Higher
    Education--California--San José
    San José State University (Calif.)