The following is a guest post by Monica Mohindra, head of program coordination and communication for the Library’s Veterans History Project.
Bob Patrick, director of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP), along with VHP staff, will answer your questions in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session beginning at 9 a.m. (ET) on January 4, 2016.
Established in 2000 via a unanimous act of Congress, VHP collects oral histories and memoirs from U.S. veterans, as well as original photos, letters, artwork, military papers and other documents. Reliant completely on volunteers to record and submit these firsthand accounts, we have amassed more than 99,000 collections, and that number grows every week.
It’s easy to create a historic collection at the Library of Congress with and for the veteran in your life. All it takes is a veteran willing to tell his or her story, an interviewer to ask them about his or her service, and a recording device to capture the interview. Eligible collections will include a 30-minute (or longer) interview; 10 or more original photos, letters or documents; or a written memoir of 20 pages or more. Tips, guidelines and the required forms are in the VHP field kit.
To make these collections available and accessible for generations to come, we stabilize, preserve and securely store them here at the Library of Congress. We make the original materials available to researchers, Congress and the general public in person at the American Folklife Center Reading Room in the Library of Congress. Additionally, some 16,000 collections are available online.
On January 4, please ask us anything about how we collect, preserve and make available our collections, the individuals in our archives and their stories, how to participate, or any other aspect of the Veterans History Project.
On the day of the AMA, join us on the AskHistorians subreddit. To participate, you must have a Reddit account. If you don’t make it to the AMA in time to have your question answered, you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.