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Record Unit 9507,  Oehser, Paul Henry, 1904- interviewee,  Paul Henry Oehser Interviews, 1974-1975

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: Oehser, Paul Henry, 1904- interviewee
Title: Paul Henry Oehser Interviews
Dates: 1974-1975
Quantity: 7 audiotapes (Reference copies). 12 digital .mp3 files (Reference copies).
Collection: Record Unit 9507
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

These interviews of Oehser by Pamela M. Henson cover his education, career as an editor for the Bureau of Biological Survey, Smithsonian and National Geographic Society, role as Public Relations Officer, and work as an author and conservationist.

Historical Note

Paul H. Oehser (1904-1996), began his career as an editor with the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey, after receiving his B.A. from Greenville College in 1925. In 1931, he was appointed Editor of the U.S. National Museum, and in 1950 he advanced to Chief, Smithsonian Editorial and Publications Division. Oehser also served as the Institution's Public Relations Officer from 1950 to 1966. Following his retirement in 1966, Oehser was appointed a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution and Editor of Research and Exploration Publications for the National Geographic Society. In addition to his work at the Smithsonian, Oehser published essays, poetry, and books about the Smithsonian and its scientists, and was active in the conservation movement.

Introduction

The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives' record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program staff conducts interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Paul H. Oehser was interviewed for the Oral History Program because of his extensive knowledge of the history of the Institution and because he made significant contributions to the Smithsonian throughout his career.

Descriptive Entry

Oehser was interviewed by Pamela M. Henson on 4 December 1974, 2 February, 5 March and 13 March 1975. The interviews consist of his reminiscences of his education, career as an editor for the Bureau of Biological Survey and Smithsonian, role as a public relations officer, and work as an author and conservationist.

Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9507, Oehser, Paul Henry, 1904- interviewee, Paul Henry Oehser Interviews

Container List

Box 1

Transcripts of Interviews

Interview 1: 4 December 1974

Box 1 of 1

Interview covers Oehser's education, career as editor for the Bureau of Biological Survey and U.S. National Museum, as Chief, Smithsonian Editorial and Publications Division, and as Smithsonian Public Relations Officer, c. 1904-1955.
Transcript, pp. 1-43, of audio recording, 1.5 hours.

Interview 2: 2 February 1975

Box 1 of 1

Interview covers Oehser's role as Chief, Editorial and Publications Division, especially his philosophy for the division, and his work on various Smithsonian committees, c. 1950-1966.
Transcript, pp. 44-76, of audio recording, 1 hour.

Interview 3: 5 March 1975

Box 1 of 1

Interview covers the International Catalogue of Scientific Literature, Eighth American Scientific Congress, Washington Biologists' Field Club, Inc., and development of the Smithsonian Press, c. 1931-1966.
Transcript, pp. 77-125, of audio recording, 1.5 hours.

Interview 4: 13 March 1975

Box 1 of 1

Interview covers the War Background Series, Ethnogeographic Board, Institute of Social Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution Series Publishers, and cooperative publishing ventures. Oehser discusses his publications, work as a conservationist, role as secretary of the Cosmos Club, and work with Webster P. True, c. 1931-1966.
Transcript, pp. 126-173, of audio recording, 2 hours.

Audio Recordings of Interviews:

Interview 1: 4 December 1974

Box 1 of 1

Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours
Original Masters: 2 5" reel-to-reel audiotapes
Preservation Masters: 3 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes; 3 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 2 audiocassettes, 3 digital .mp3 files

Interview 2: 2 February 1975

Box 1 of 1

Total Recording Time: 1.0 hour
Original Masters: 1 5" reel-to-reel audiotape
Preservation Masters: 2 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes; 2 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 1 audiocassette, 2 digital .mp3 files

Interview 3: 5 March 1975

Box 1 of 1

Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours
Original Masters: 2 5" reel-to-reel audiotapes
Preservation Masters: 3 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes; 3 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 2 audiocassettes, 3 digital .mp3 files

Interview 4: 13 March 1975

Box 1 of 1

Total Recording Time: 2.0 hours
Original Masters: 2 5" reel-to-reel audiotapes
Preservation Masters: 4 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes; 4 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 2 audiocassettes, 4 digital .mp3 files