Oral History Newsletter XII
Summer/Fall 2008

Editor: Nate Berger
Photos courtesty of Harvey Frommer and Ilana Grallert

Oral History Luncehon

While the dog days of summer were in full blast on August 8th, Professors Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer gathered with about 15 students for lunch at the Canoe Club to discuss life and Oral History, which has no dog days. While work schedules and the comings and goings of summer made the group a bit smaller than usual, appetites were still large and smiles abundant.


Tim Murphy, Amber Morse, Myrna Frommer, Anna Minardi.

Keisha Luce, Chris Ivanyi, Ilana Grallert, Rebecca Malila, John Harrelson. Nate Berger, Tim Murphy.

Current Thesis Highlights

Many M.A.L.S. students are currently working on wonderful Oral History theses. To highlight all of them here would turn the newsletter into a book. Ilana Grallert and Tim Murphy are two proven Oral Historians pursuing interesting and important topics.

Ilana’s Mother, Maria.

Ilana Grallert -- Life Must Go On - German women and their experiences during and after WWII.

The idea for this oral history first came to Ilana when she interviewed her mother, Maria, a German national, for a family project. Ilana quickly realized that her motherís efforts to grapple with her experiences during World War II and a new life afterwards were part of a greater, largely overlooked narrative. Last September Ilana traveled to Germany to conduct the majority of her interviews. She encountered stories told with a fresh vividness that resonate the enduring impact of the War through her tape recorder and onto the written page, leaving little doubt these experiences ranging back over 50 years are relevant and topical. The stories offer a great diversity of experiences. Maria, a Catholic, spent many years in Israel with her Jewish husband. Many of the other interviewees never left Germany but offered their own unique and important stories. While Ilana chose interviewees with a variety of backgrounds, their stories share a theme of resilience. Maria and the other interviewees lived through political changes they did not always comprehend or agree with. But they had to forge forward; life had to go on.

Tim Murphy -- Up in the Grand Old Berkshire Hills: An Oral History of YMCA Camp Becket

For his thesis, Tim is doing an Oral History of YMCA Camp Becket, in Becket, MA. Becket is the oldest summer camp in Massachusetts, founded in 1903. Using the history of Camp Becket as a microcosm, Tim hopes to trace the transition of the nation-wide YMCA movement from a religious organization to a mostly secular, community service-based organization. This project will be a labor of love, as Tim is a former camper, staff member, and trustee of the camp. He will be interviewing alumni who attended the camp as far back as the 1930's, including one whose father was a counselor in 1910 and worked directly for the founder, Henry Gibson. He is looking forward to getting started. As Tim is an Oral History veteran who has two captivating oral histories with the Frommers under his belt, we should all look forward to reading this Oral History when he is finished.

Publication Front

Harvey Frommerís latest book, Remembering Yankee Stadium: An Oral and Narrative History of "The House That Ruth Built", hit stores September 1st and has been received with a warm reception. A re-isssue of his acclaimed Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball was also just published.

Oral History Events (dates to be announced)

  • Fall 2008 Luncheon
  • Winter 2009 Workshop
  • Spring 2009 Oral History Circle.



Contact Myrna or Harvey