Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Reporter —
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) has announced its partnership with John Erling and his oral history project, Voices of Oklahoma.
Voices of Oklahoma is one of the premier oral history projects in the country. This association will ensure John’s critical work to enhance Oklahoma’s historical record “continues in perpetuity,” the press release stated.
Erling will continue to interview accomplished Oklahomans and share these stories on voicesofoklahoma.com and the “Voices of Oklahoma” podcast.
The OHS will create a landing page on its website, okhistory.org for researchers to readily access the recorded interviews. All interviews previously conducted by Erling will be housed in the OHS archives. OHS will continue Erling’s work when he decides to retire.
For more than 12 years, Erling has been capturing the stories of renowned Oklahomans and other interesting citizens in their own words through Voices of Oklahoma.
The debut interview was with Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.
A Tulsan since 1976 with a background in journalism and radio, Erling guides the interviews in a professional and heartfelt manner, creating an interesting and engaging final product.
Other notable interviewees include Roy Clark, Joy Harjo, Kelly Haney, Jane Jayroe, David Boren, Bart Conner, Johnny Bench, Fred Harris, Marquis Haynes, Bob Barry Sr., Charles Banks Wilson, David Hall, Marilyn Luper and T. Boone Pickens.
“I am very excited about this new partnership,” said OHS Executive Director Trait Thompson. “I listened to John on KRMG every day when I lived in Tulsa, and I am very familiar with his skill as an interviewer.
“Bringing John’s incredible body of work to the OHS will ensure that generations of future researchers will be able to hear from Oklahomans who have made history, in their own words,” Thompson continued.
“John’s dedication to Oklahoma and exploring its history is a perfect fit with the Oklahoma Historical Society and I’m delighted to begin this relationship with him.”
Erling stated, “Twelve years ago, I never dreamed this announcement would be made. It makes me incredibly happy. The Oklahoma History Society is well respected in our state and our partnership ensures our oral history website will be preserved for researchers and the public forever.
“I am grateful to OHS Executive Director Trait Thompson for creating the partnership, Erling added. “The stories of people who have made Oklahoma great will be preserved in our ‘forever’ home!”
The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people.
Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma.
For more information about the OHS, visit okhistory.org.