Institute of Oral History
Welcome to the Institute of Oral History (IOH) at UTEP. We were established by Dr. John H. McNeely as part of the Department of History in 1972. Our mission is to preserve “the history of the region adjacent to the Rio Grande both in the United States and in Mexico." In the past four decades we have built the largest border-related oral history collection in the United States. Our holdings include over 1,600 interviews and more than 20,000 pages of transcript. In these oral histories you will find often very personal stories of living on the border as well as descriptions of great historical events, including revolutions, wars, and immigration. Researchers have turned to the IOH for sources for over forty years, producing monographs on the Mexican Revolution, El Paso, Ciudad Juárez, Smeltertown, immigration, nationalism, and many more topics. In the years to come, many more books will emerge from the IOH’s rich collection.
Copies of the oral history tapes, transcripts, indexes, and summaries are housed in the Special Collections Department, 6th floor of the UTEP Library. Oral histories are also accessible through DigitalCommons@UTEP, a searchable site.
Search Our Collection
Search through our extensive digital archive that contains audio recordings and transcripts of over 1,600 oral histories. These oral histories are available to researchers and the general public.Learn More
Resources for Students
There are many opportunities available for students interested in oral and public history. Students can also learn about the oral history process by accessing links to informative research guides.Learn More
Upcoming Events & Workshops
Get involved through our upcoming events and workshops that showcase our community outreach. If you would like to schedule a workshop for your class or organization, please click below to submit a request.Learn More
"Uncaged Art" at Centennial Museum
Uncaged Art presents the work of youth, ages 13-17, who were detained at the Tornillo detention center in West Texas. Comprised of paintings, drawings, and handicrafts made of found materials, the work reflects the resiliency, talent, and creativity of young men and women who trekked 2,000 miles from their homes in Central America to reach the United States. Opened in June 2018, Tornillo was the largest detention center for children in the United States with 2,500 youth when it closed in January 2019. The art from the Tornillo detention camp provides us with a window into the personal world of migrant children whose visions and voices have often been left out of mainstream media accounts.
The exhibit will be on view from April 13 through October 5, 2019.