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Alfred Clark Oral History Collection

An introduction to oral history in Archives and Special Collections at La Verne.

An Oral History of the University of La Verne

An Oral History of the University of La Verne, 1891-2017

 “An Oral History of the University of La Verne, 1891-2017” is a series of documentary videos created during the 2016-2017 academic year by Bryan Best, Assistant Director of La Verne Online, Al Clark, Professor of Humanities, and the students in their fall and spring Honors classes (HONR 304/351, La Verne in Higher Education, 1891-2017).  It consists of thirteen chronological segments and seventeen topical episodes.  Developed primarily from oral histories and other documents in the Wilson Library Archives and Special Collections at the University of La Verne, the class presented a segment of the documentary history to the public each week from September 2016 into May 2017.  Assistant Professor and Archivist Ben Jenkins and the Wilson Library librarians provided invaluable assistance in suggesting and finding materials.  The episodes currently available on the Wilson Library Archives and Special Collections YouTube Channel are as follows:


• “Giants in the Telling of La Verne’s History

• “Heritage, Tradition, and Change

• “La Verne’s Brethren Heritage

125 Years of Chronological Stories:

• “Lordsburg Academy Becomes Lordsburg College”  [1891-1920]

• “A Dear Favored Spot”  [1920’s]

• “Depression, War, and Resurgence”  [1930s-1948]

• “Building With Bricks and Ph.D.’s”  [1948-1968]

• “Revolutionary Change”  [1968-1975]

• “Super Tents & Field Studies”  [1968-1975]

• “Finance, Baseball, & Communications”  [1975-1985]

• “Build La Verne”  [1975-1985]

• “A Firm Foundation”  [1985-2011]

• “Wilson Library & Campus West”  [1985+]

• “The La Verne Experience”  [2011+]

• “Art & Athletics”  [1985+]

• “La Verne 2020”  [2011+]

Topical Episodes (more student documentaries to come):

• “From Victorian Hotel to Parking Palace” [Architecture on La Verne’s campus]

• “AAIC, America’s Armenian College

“Generations of Transforming Lives” [La Verne football]

• “The College of Law” [in revision]

• “Diverse Students; Diverse Faculty” [Diversity at the university]

• “Championship Sport:  Women’s Volleyball

• “From Muir to Marcus:  A Reflection on the History of Our History Program

• “ULV Kinesiology Department

• “La Verne’s Fourth Estate” [On the Campus Times student newspaper]

•  “Why Ort Mattered” [Reflections on Coach Roland “Ort” Ortmayer]

•  La Verne Honors Program

Special Episodes:

• “Snakes, Ghosts, Skunks, and Skeletons” [A Halloween special containing several true stories]

• “Some Curious Tales” [Revealing stories about La Verne excerpted from oral histories]

• “Where in the World is La Verne?” [Tales about the meaning and location of La Verne]

Because these documentaries were produced at a rapid pace by amateurs who learned while they worked, the quality is uneven and the design varied.  The videos were class projects produced with iMovie and Moviemaker software.  A professional videographer taped some of the interviews used in “An Oral History,” but most of them were captured by the interviewer using a handheld tablet without special lighting or sound equipment.

Direct questions on “An Oral History of the University of La Verne” and submit corrections for the documentary to Al Clark at or 909-448-4161.  His Oral History Project continues; contact him to schedule an oral history interview. 

Alfred Clark Oral History Collection

University of La Verne Wilson Library on YouTube

An Oral History of the University of La Verne: Giants in the Telling of La Verne's History


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Ben Jenkins
Wilson Library - University of La Verne
Room 164
2040 3rd Street
La Verne, CA 91750
Subjects: Archives