Oral & video histories :: Smithsonian Lemelson Center
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Oral & video history documentation

The Lemelson Center's oral and video history projects increase historical documentation on invention and innovation in the United States.
Above: Guitarist G.E. Smith is featured in the Electric Guitar Video Documentation Project. Smithsonian photo by Jeff Tinsley.

Full descriptions of the following collections may be found by searching the archives and manuscripts section of SIRIS, the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System. Unless otherwise noted, all collections are housed in the NMAH Archives Center. For further information, contact the Archives Center Reference Desk.

See index by subject »

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Oral & video history documentation is listed in alphabetical order by subject of interview. Date of interview is in parentheses.

 

Analog music synthesizer oral history interviews (1996-1998)

Audio interviews documenting the pioneering engineers and musicians of the electronic music synthesizer from 1960 to 1970. Includes interviews with Don Buchla, Jonathan Chowning, Herbert Deutsch, Bill Hernsath, Bernie Krause, Robert Moog (Moog synthesizer), Tom Oberheim, Jay Pollock, Don Preston, Jim Scott, Walter Sear, and Reynold Weidenaar.

1 cu. ft.: 5 boxes containing approximately 30 hours of master tapes and transcripts.

 

Mike Augspurger, inventor of an all-terrain handcycle (2000)

Video footage documenting an Innovative Lives program by Mike Augspurger, inventor of the One-Off All-Terrain Handcycle, a hand-cranked bicylce designed for riders who do not have the use of their legs.

0.25 cu. ft.: 3 boxes containing approximately 7 hours of original and reference videos.

Go to finding aid >>

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Patricia Bath, inventor of the LaserPhaco laser eye surgery device (2000)

Video footage documenting an Innovative Lives program by Patricia Bath, inventor of the LaserPhaco, an instrument that uses lasers to remove cataracts during eye surgery. Also includes interviews with her daughter, Eraka Bath.

0.50 cu. ft.: 2 boxes containing approximately 8.5 hours of original and reference videos. Go to Bath collection finding aid.

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Richard Bond clock escapement video documentation (1997)

Interviews by and with NMAH staff members Carlene Stephens and William David Todd, documenting a succession of clock escapements invented by Richard F. Bond in the 19th century. Bond's invention was called isodynamic escapement. Two of the three regulators videotaped are located in the Division of the History of Technology collections, NMAH.

0.25 cu.ft.: 2 boxes containing 2.5 hours of original videos.

 

George Carruthers, inventor of the far-ultraviolet camera (1996)

Video footage documenting an Innovative Lives program by George Carruthers, an astrophysicist and inventor. Carruthers invented the Far-Ultraviolet Camera.

0.25 cu. ft.: containing original, master, and reference videos.

See related article »

 

Curt I. Civin, pediatric oncologist and stem cell researcher (1997)

In the 1970s when Civin began stem cell research, little was known about progenitors, the cells of all other blood lineage. Civin thought that stem cells had their own identifying surface proteins. To test this, he immunized mice with leukemia cells, some of which he supposed might have that peculiar protein, and then harvested the resulting immunoglobulins and reproduced them as monoclonal antibodies. In 1981, Civin discovered an antibody that bound to 1% of marrow cells. Video footage includes an interview with Curt I. Civin about his discovery of the cell surface protein that makes stem cell selection possible; and interviews with Kenneth Kinsler and Bert Vogelstein. The prototype of the stem cell selector instrument is located in the Division of Science, Medicine, and Society collections, NMAH.

0.25 cu. ft.: 1 box containing original videos.

 

Containerization oral history interviews (1995-1998)

Oral history interviews with individuals involved in the development of containerized shipping.

0.50 cu. ft.: 3 boxes containing original audio cassettes and transcripts.

 

Corona camera video history interviews (1995)

Video interviews with key figures in the development of the Corona spy camera, examining the process of developing satellite technology in an industrial setting.

Contact the National Air and Space Museum archives to use this collection.

 

Newman Darby, inventor of the sailboard (1999)

Video footage documenting an Innovative Lives program by Newman Darby, who invented windsurfing in 1964 when he connected a sail to a board by means of a universal rope joint. The sailboard was ultimately patented by Hoyle Schweitzer and Jim Drake in 1970 and became known as windsurfer. Darby is interviewed about windsurfing and his invention and development of the sailboard as part of an “Innovative Lives” program.

18 videocassettes. Go to Darby collection finding aid.

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Electric guitar video documentation (1996)

Interviews and other footage documenting the Lemelson Center's 1996 symposium, "Electrified, Amplified and Deified: The Electric Guitar, Its Makers, and Its Players."

This week-long event explored the intersection of technology and music in the 20th century and featured oral and video histories; exhibits; concerts; and a symposium discussing the cultural significance of the electric guitar as instrument, technology, and symbol. Continue learning about the invention of the electric guitar in our virtual exhibit, From Frying Pan to Flying V: The Rise of the Electric Guitar.

7.50 cu. ft.: 10 boxes containing original, master, and reference videos, arranged by topic. Go to Electric Guitar collection finding aid.

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