A Tribute to Ron Grele

In the Winter/Spring 2019 (46.1) issue of the Oral History Review, we pay tribute to the pivotal career of Ronald J. Grele, called by historian Andor Skotnes, “one of the most influential oral historians in the world.” As our guest editors Rina Benmayor and Linda Shopes recount in their introduction to the special section “The Contributions of Ronald J. Grele to Oral History,” Grele began his career as archivist and interviewer for the John F. Kennedy Oral History Project and currently is director emeritus of the Oral History Research Office (now the Center for Oral History Research) at Columbia University. The contributors to the special section contextualize Grele’s impact on the theory of oral history and in doing so, their essays serve as both an important historiographic review and personal recollection of his work. Here, we add context through a brief gallery of candid photographs of Grele in his various elements. Below the gallery you will find supplemental content referred to by some of the essay authors. The special section grew out of the 2016 meeting of the Oral History Association, OHR‘s organizational parent, at which OHA celebrated its 50th anniversary by looking back at the field. A session called “The Work of Ronald J. Grele: A Lifetime of Contributions to Oral History.”  

Grele with Envelopes: Ron in his office at Columbia University holding a copy of the recently published 2nd edition of Envelopes of Sound, circa 1985.

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Photo courtesy of Ronald J. Grele

Supplemental Content

Louise Tilly, “People’s History and Social Science History,” International Journal of Oral History, 6, n. 1 (February 1985), along with an editorial introduction from Ron Grele, and a response, “Between Social Scientists: Responses to Louise A. Tilly,” by Paul Thompson, Luisa Passerini, Isabelle Bertaux-Wiame, and Alessandro Portelli.  Used with permission.

Program, International Conference on Oral History and Women’s History, November 18-20, 1983, Columbia University. Sponsored by the Columbia University Oral History Research Office with the cooperation of the Barnard Women’s Center.