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Finding Aids to Oral Histories in the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Record Unit 9574

Kidd, Oscar Dean interviewee

Oral history interview with Oscar Dean Kidd, 1987, 1990

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: Kidd, Oscar Dean interviewee
Title: Oral history interview with Oscar Dean Kidd
Dates: 1987, 1990
Quantity: 3 audiotapes (Reference copies).
Collection: Record Unit 9574
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

Th 1990 interview of Kidd by Pamela M. Henson, Patricia Escobar Paramo, and Elizabeth Stockwell covers his youth, work as a chauffeur and motorboat operator, and reminiscences of Barro Colorado Island and the scientists working there. A second interview of Kidd by Mitch Aide and Carolien Haverkate in 1987 was also donated to the collection.

Historical Note

Oscar Dean Kidd (1907- ) was born in Jamaica and migrated to Panama in 1909. He grew up in the Panama Canal Zone, eventually settling down in Frijoles, the train station used by scientists visiting Barro Colorado Island (BCI). The BCI Research Station was created in 1923 as a preserve for the study of tropical biology. In 1946, this Canal Zone Biological Area (CZBA) was transferred to the Smithsonian and in 1966 was renamed the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). As a motorboat operator, Kidd became acquainted with scientists visiting BCI, especially CZBA Director James Zetek.

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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 conduct 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.

Kidd was interviewed for the Smithsonian Institution Archives Oral History Collection because of his long tenure of service at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

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Descriptive Entry

This collection consists of a 1990 interview of Kidd by Pamela M. Henson of Smithsonian Institution Archives, and Patricia Escobar Paramo and Elizabeth Stockwell of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, that covers his youth, work as a chauffeur and motorboat operator, and reminiscences of Barro Colorado Island and the scientists working there. A second interview of Kidd by Mitch Aide and Carolien Haverkate of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in 1987 was also donated to the collection. The collection consists of 2.5 hours of audiotape recordings and 27 pages of transcript.

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Use Restriction

Restricted.

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9574, Kidd, Oscar Dean interviewee, Oral history interview with Oscar Dean Kidd

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Container List

Box 1

Transcripts of Interviews

Interview of Kidd by Henson, Paramo, and Stockwell at his home in Frijoles, Panama, across Gatun Lake from Barro Colorado Island, covers his youth in Panama, work as a chauffeur and motorboat operator transporting scientists to and from Panama City and across the lake to Barro Colorado Island, and reminiscences of Barro Colorado Island and the scientists working there, especially long-time director James Zetek; c. 1909-1990.
Transcript, pp. 1-27, of audiotape recording, 2.0 hours.

Interview 2: 17 December 1987

Box 1 of 1
Interview of Kidd by STRI staff Mitch Aide and Carolien Haverkate also covers his long relationship with the scientists on Barro Colorado Island; c. 1920-1987.
Transcript, none, of audiotape recording, 0.5 hour.

Audio Recordings of Interviews

Interview 1: 17 June 1990

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 2.0 hours
Original Masters: 4 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes
Reference Copies: 2 cassette audiotapes

Interview 2: 17 December 1987

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 0.5 hour
Original Masters: 1 cassette audiotape
Reference Copies: 1 cassette audiotape