The UTEP Institute of Oral History was born in 1972 through the vision of Dr. John H. McNeely of the History Department. Dr. McNeely, a long-time faculty member whose research focused on Mexican history, encouraged his students to conduct oral histories beginning in the 1960s.
The founding of the IOH came at a time when universities across the United States began to see the value in collecting the recorded interviews of people who could enlighten us about history, big and small. In the succeeding decades, oral history has become an integral part of historical research.
Scholars across the United States and Mexico have consulted our collection as they research the history of Ciudad Juárez, the Mexican Revolution, migration across the border, the history of UTEP, and many other topics. Classics such as Mario T. Garcia’s Desert Immigrants: The Mexicans of El Paso, 1880-1920 to new cutting edge work such as Julian Lim’s Porous Borders: Multiracial Migrations and the Law in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands have turned to our collection to enrich their archival research.
In 2010, the IOH along with its partners – the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, George Mason University, the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University—received the “Outstanding Public History Project” award from the National Council on Oral History. In 2013, Museo Urbano received the same award.
Thanks to our previous directors and staff, we have grown over the past almost five decades. We look forward to many more years of collecting the stories of fronterizos.
- Dr. John H. McNeely, Founding Director
- Dr. Oscar J. Martinez
- Sarah John, Associate Director
- Dr. Vicki Ruiz
- Becky Craver
- Dr. Margo McBane
- Kristine Navarro-McElhaney