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Oral History Tools

20 Questions to Ask the Important Women in Your Life

20 Questions provides a set of innovative questions for eliciting women's stories for use in your family, classroom, or community program.

In Our Own Voices: Conducting Life History Interviews with American Jewish Women

Jayne K. Guberman, Editor

"In Our Own Voices" eBook Cover by Jewish Women's Archive, 2005
Full image
Front cover of Jewish Women's Archive's In Our Own Voices: A Guide to Conducting Life History Interviews with American Jewish Women. Edited by Jayne K. Guberman, photographs by Joan Roth, and introduction by Joyce Antler. (Jewish Women's Archive, 2005)

In Our Own Voices is a how-to guide for conducting life history interviews with American Jewish women. Designed for use by individuals, as well as community groups, the guide invites readers to become "makers of history" by using oral history to capture and preserve the stories of their mothers and grandmothers, teachers and colleagues, community members and friends.

In Our Own Voices features:

  • a step-by-step guide for creating professional quality interviews
  • ten frameworks for understanding the multiple and intersecting spheres of women's lives
  • introductory essays by leading scholars of Jewish women's history
  • hundreds of sample questions
  • inspiring excerpts from JWA's oral history collections
  • sample forms for all aspects of the interview process
  • bibliographic resources on American Jewish women's history

JWA's 10 Frameworks for Women's Life History Interviews:

  • Family: Essay by Paula E. Hyman
  • Education: Essay by Pamela S. Nadell
  • Work: Essay by Hasia Diner
  • Community Service: Essay by Dianne Ashton
  • Jewish Identities: Essay by Karla Goldman
  • Home and Place: Essay by Jenna Weissman Joselit
  • Leisure and Culture: Essay by Riv-Ellen Prell
  • Health and Sexuality: Essay by Beth Wenger
  • Women's Identities: Essay by Joyce Antler
  • History and World Events: Essay by Regina Morantz-Sanchez

Sample forms and selected bibliographic resources on American Jewish women's history provide additional tools for novice and experienced oral historians alike.


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In Our Own Voices by Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

This work is available for download. You may take a printout of this license, along with the downloaded PDF of the book, to the copy shop so that they will see that you have permission to make unlimited copies for non-commercial use, or to use selections from this work in a new work, so long as the selections are properly attributed to us:

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A free edition of this book is now available

You have the choice of purchasing a printed, bound copy of the book from JWA, or, you can download the text as a free PDF for local, non-commercial print-on-demand. See the box on this page for license terms and conditions.

If you have any questions please contact us.

What people are saying about In Our Own Voices

"In Our Own Voices is a remarkable tool in the service of a history that has gone mostly unrecorded. There is no time to mourn for the triumphs and losses, jokes and wisdom that have been lost. So hurry. Open this book and get to work. Let us not waste another moment."
—Anita Diamant, author of The Red Tent

"If ever there was a document that spoke to the truth that every human being, male and female, is created in the image of God, this is it. The sample questionnaires, the jewel-like essays by learned scholars, the delicious vignettes, the evocative Joan Roth photos, the practical tips for interviewing—each piece of In Our Own Voices joyously celebrates the depth and variety of women's lives."
—Blu Greenberg, author of On Women and Judaism: A View From Tradition

"In Our Own Voices is a helpful and heartwarming guide to preserving the history of "important" American Jewish women. The editors have wisely understood that "importance" comes in many sizes, shapes, and forms. They have produced a tool that will help readers record the personal history of these women and understand the transformative role they have played in all our lives."
—Deborah Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory

"Those who follow this guide will create deeply textured and professional interviews for oral history documentation and preservation according to the high standards set by the Jewish Women's Archive—and enjoy every minute of the process."
—Mary Marshall Clark, Director, Columbia University Oral History Research Office

"Based on the oral history projects of the Jewish Women's Archive, this booklet provides professional guidance for conducting interviews with American Jewish women.… Whether one is interviewing for an oral history project or for private use, this guide can help uncover rich veins of memory and experience."
Reform Judaism Magazine, Fall 2007

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Oral History Tools." (Viewed on May 24, 2016) <>.


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