Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Kent State Shootings: Oral History Project

Special Collections and Archives

Kent State Shootings: Oral History Project

Special Collections and Archives

Kent State Shootings: Oral History Project


Three ways to participate

  1. Schedule a facilitated recording session with a trained oral history team member

  2. Submit your own audio recording of your story (if longer than 20 minutes, we recommend option #1)

  3. You can choose to upload a written version instead; we want participation to be as accessible as possible

We seek stories from ALL perspectives
  • Kent State alumni, faculty, staff, and administrators who were on campus that day
  • residents of Kent and nearby communities
  • members of the Ohio Army National Guard
  • local law enforcement officers and staff
  • local hospital personnel
  • accounts from during the aftermath, such as the investigations, court cases, the Gym Annex ("Tent City") controversy
  • people whose voices have been historically underrepresented in the May 4 archive
  • any persons whose lives were affected by these historic events

Who we are

For fifty years, Special Collections & Archives has recorded, permanently archived, and provided access to audio recordings of people's stories about the Kent State Shootings and their aftermath. In 1972, University Libraries first established the May 4 Oral History Collection, led by University Archivist Leslie J. Stegh, in cooperation with Faculty Ombudsman Harold Kitner and Director of Libraries, Hyman Kritzer. A new oral history program was founded by Sandra Perlman Halem at the time of the 20th Commemoration of May 4 in 1990, and it continues through the present day, under the direction of Special Collections & Archives. Over 200 first-hand accounts have been contributed to date and are essential historical resources for writers, students, and other researchers. Personal narratives submitted in writing are also being collected and archived.

Your story will be permanently archived in the May 4 Collection

Special Collections & Archives houses the May 4 Collection, one of the largest archives related to the Kent State Shootings and their aftermath. More than 50,000 items from this archive are now available in digital format online, along with oral histories and audiovisual materials. Our archivists and librarians have in-depth expertise in assisting researchers, filmmakers, students and others to access archival resources associated with May 4. Your personal account would be preserved in this archive and become part of the historical record.

Questions?  Contact us