The Oral History Program

The Society’s Oral History Program consists of voice-recorded interviews and transcriptions of more than one hundred judges, attorneys, and other individuals associated with the courts of the District of Columbia and the Washington legal community.  The oral histories serve as an invaluable resource for historians, journalists, students of the rule of law, and interested citizens.

The oral history interviews contain a wealth of information about the lives and careers of prominent jurists and advocates, covering everything from their childhood memories and family relationships, to their career decisions and recollections, to their often intimate reflections on life and the law.  The interviewees recount their successes and failures, their significant cases and decisions, their observations about and interactions with colleagues, and their own contributions to the administration of justice.  The interviews were conducted by volunteer attorneys trained by members of the Historical Society.

All of the Society’s oral histories contained on this website are now fully searchable electronically by keyword.  Bound volumes of all publicly available oral histories taken by the Society are available in the Judges’ Library at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse, the Manuscript Reading Room of the Library of Congress, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.  Voice recordings of oral histories are maintained in the Society’s office, Room 4714 in the Prettyman Courthouse.

In addition to the oral histories that are available on this site, oral histories of the following judges and attorneys are available for review in the three library repositories:

Dean Judith Areen
Irwin Goldbloom
Hon. Alan Kay
A. J. Kramer
Hon. Patricia M. Wald

The following completed oral histories are currently under seal:

Hon. Harry T. Edwards
Hon. John M. Ferren
Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Hon. Gladys Kessler
Hon. Inez Smith Reid
Hon. Stanley Sporkin
Hon. Ricardo Urbina

View the Oral History Gallery