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Bette Weidman Oral History Papers

Identifier: SCA-0018
This collection contains items in several different formats. Original audiocassette tapes of earlier interviews, along with related paper materials, are housed in an archival box. Digital copies of the tapes, as well as born-digital interviews, are stored on the server at the Queens College Libraries’ Department of Special Collections and Archives. Some interviews have associated content outlines, which are also stored on the server. The physical items and digital files are accessible to researchers on-site. In addition, selections of some interviews are publicly available on the Queens Memory Project website (


  • 1980-2014



Most of the materials are in English.


In most cases, the interviewer and interviewee provided consent for the oral histories in this collection to be made accessible for research purposes. Permissions documentation will be reviewed by the archives before providing access to any interview transcript or audio file. Some interview clips have been published online based on permissions provided (see Queens Memory Project's online portal at Any student work not governed by the consent forms is restricted under the the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Due to the fragile nature of magnetic tape, archives staff will provide researchers access to the digitized versions of the recordings unless the researcher has a specific reason to access the cassette tape.


The Bette Weidman Papers are physically owned by the Queens College Libraries. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assignees. The collection is subject to all copyright laws. Queens College assumes no responsibility for the infringement of copyrights held by the original authors, creators, or producers of materials.


1 Linear Feet (1 box of audiocassettes and related paper materials; 4 digital folders (approx. 33 GB))


This collection contains physical and digital items related to several oral history projects conducted by Dr. Bette Weidman, professor of English at Queens College, between 1987 and 2012. Physical items consist of audiocassettes and printed and handwritten documents; digital files include oral history recordings, interview outlines and related project documents.

Biographical Note

Dr. Bette Weidman is an associate professor of English and director of the American Studies program at Queens College. She began her career at the school in 1969 as a specialist in 19th century American literature, and was introduced to the field of oral history by her faculty mentor, Dr. Helene Brewer. Before joining the Queens faculty, Brewer had been a founding member of the Regional Oral History Office at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1978, at Brewer’s suggestion, Weidman took a training course in conducting oral history interviews at Columbia University with Dr. Louis Starr, director of Columbia’s Oral History Research Office. Excited about this growing field of inquiry, Weidman tried to establish a course in oral history at Queens but was met with a lack of enthusiasm. Instead, she began incorporating oral interview assignments into her regular American Studies and Women’s Studies courses as well as the English department elective, “The Immigrant Experience.” She also offered several oral history workshop classes as Special Studies courses in the English department. In the 1990s, Weidman met Queens College Higher Education Officer Sydney Lefkoe, who shares her interest in oral history. In 2003, they collaborated on a project to videotape interviews with 50-year alumni who returned to campus to be recognized at Commencement. Eighteen members of the class of 1953 were interviewed for the project. The interviews in this collection are drawn from several of Weidman’s classes. The bulk currently come from a Fall 1987 English department course; a grant- funded Women’s Oral History Project, conducted in 1992; and a collaborative oral history course taught in Spring 2012. More recordings will be added to the collection on an ongoing basis.


The audiocassettes and related paper materials are arranged alphabetically by interview subject’s last name. The digital files are sorted into folders, also arranged by subject’s name.


Donated by Bette Weidman in pieces from 2009 to the present.

Related Materials

Joan Nestle Oral History, Queens College, NY The Queens Memory Project Collection, Queens College, NY Queens Memory Project



Bette Weidman Papers
Processed by Lori A. Wallach. Spring 2014, edited and approved by Alexandra Dolan-Mescal, Spring 2014. Machine readable finding aid created by Dan Brenner, Spring 2014.
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Queens College (New York, N.Y.) Department of Special Collections and Archives Repository

Queens College Libraries, CUNY
Benjamin Rosenthal Library RO317
65-30 Kissena Boulevard
Flushing 11367 USA us