Through his many books and long-running radio program, Studs Terkel proved himself to be one of the preeminent interviewers of the twentieth century. The diversity of his work captures not only the responses of entertainers, artists, politicians, and cultural spokespeople, but also the many voices and thoughts of ordinary people who lived through extraordinary times. Thus his work is an important part of our cultural heritage and can form the basis of an ideal educational tool for teaching about history, culture, and the arts.

Terkel’s work can help students understand pivotal historical moments,
complex social issues, and the roots of protest and conflict as well as lead
them to deeper knowledge of everyday life. His work can also teach us a good
deal about the craft of interviewing and doing oral history.

To this end, this web site will provide a host of educational tools and
documents for students, teachers and the general public. Below are some
sample documents about doing oral history and using Studs Terkel recordings
in the classroom. More materials will continue to be added so check back

Oral History in the Classroom (created by Beth Collins, Distance Learning Center Coordinator, Chicago Historical Society) is a lesson plan for high school students. The plan supplies teachers and students with a set of questions that use Studs Terkel's interviews as a starting point for having students do their own oral history interviews (MS Word version | PDF version)

Collecting Stories: The Oral Interview in Research (created by Marsha MacDowell, Curator at MSU Museum) is an extensive overview of how to do oral history interviews framed as a series of questions and answers (MS Word version)

Using Primary Sources to Learn of the Life of Studs Terkel, His Interviews, and Individual Stories of WWII Veterans (created by Joyce Grant, Associate Professor of Teacher Education, MSU) is a lesson plan for students in grades 6-12. The plan helps students understand both Stud Terkel's interviewing style and the everyday experiences of soldiers during WW II (MS Word version | HTML version with links to sound files coming soon).

MATRIX oral history tutorial is intended to help students, oral historians, and researchers implement several important aspects of audio technology in the field, studio, and research
lab. It presents a set of best practices in the recording, processing, and analysis of acoustic speech signals. (

HomeIntroductionBiographyGalleries: The Studs Terkel Program, Division Street, Hard Times, The Good War, Race, Talking to Myself, Greatest HitsEducation ResourcesChicago History MuseumSearchSite MapMultimedia InterviewStuds' 90th BirthdayStuds' 100th BirthdayDownloads

Created with support from the National Science Foundation

Copyright © 2002 Chicago History Museum
Web Site Credits