Using Oral History to Assess Community Impact: A Conversation with Beverly C. Tyler, Historian, Three Village Historical Society

  • Sally Stieglitz Adelphi University Libraries
  • Kristen J. Nyitray Kristen J. Nyitray is Associate Librarian at Stony Brook University, where she is Head of Special Collections and University Archives, and University Archivist. For nearly twenty years, she has directed and implemented the division’s acquisitions, research services, engagement activities, online presence, and collection processing. She holds a MLS from City University of New York Queens College, is a certified archivist (C.A.), and earned a Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) certificate from the Society of American Archivists.
Keywords: outreach, community engagement, revolutionary war, local history, narrative interview

Abstract

This article examines the impact of an acquisition by Special Collections at Stony Brook University Libraries on community relations. The department acquired two historically important letters about the Culper Spy Ring, an intelligence gathering effort on Long Island, New York, initiated by George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. Through a guided conversation with local historian Beverly C. Tyler, the authors gained insights on how the letters influenced the community’s re-telling of history and the development of new exhibitions and programming. The conversation also provided context for the relationship between the university and its neighbors. The narrative developed into a significant asset in its own right, in the form of an oral history that provides evidence of a previously undocumented facet of university-community engagement over time.

Author Biography

Sally Stieglitz, Adelphi University Libraries

Sally Stieglitzis the Digital Learning and Instruction Librarian at Adelphi University Libraries. She was previously a Visiting Assistant Librarian in Research & User Engagement at Stony Brook University Libraries. She holds a BA in English and French from the State University of New York at Albany, a JD from Hofstra University, School of Law, and a MSLS from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include outreach and social media in academic libraries and the digital divide.

Published
2017-06-23
Section
Reports from the Field