Oral History Collections

"OH! Park Forest"

Oral History of Park Forest 79 oral history interviews done in 1980-1981 with pioneer residents and others who were involved in early Park Forest development. About six of the interviews were done after the grant period, funded by the Illinois Humanities Council Grant, had ended. The list is based on what tapes exist, but users would generally be offered the typed transcript to read. Researchers might be allowed to listen to the audiotapes in house under the supervision of the archivist. With oral histories, it is the transcript edit that the narrator approves. Twenty-six are clean typed and bound. The others are edited photocopies. Circulating copies of transcripts are at the Park Forest Public Library, in a cupboard behind the "Information Station" desk. Twenty-seven of the transcripts are on Illinois Digital Archives in the "Park Forest: An Illinois Planned Community" project. Illinois State Library grant funded from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, this project began in 1998-99. The archive has the audiotapes, the original, and the original edited photocopies of the transcripts. The archive has those which have been digitized onto CD-ROMS. We will be getting the digital files, as well.

"GI Stories from a GI Town"

As of November 2014, Suzanne Brown has done 93 oral histories of World War II veterans who settled in Park Forest, Illinois. Fifty three have been transcribed. The archive has the audiotapes for those which have been transcribed. We will soon have the electronic versions of the transcripts stored on the History computer at the Archive. They will be shared with the Illinois Digital Archives, but mechanics of that have not been worked out.

"Oral Histories by James Saul" (This is a temporary title. List not divided out separately at this point.)

James Saul did oral histories as an independent project in the 1980s. We have audiocassettes of those interviews. None have been transcribed.

Park Forest Historical Society Programs

Most of the programs done for the Park Forest Historical Society since 1985 have been audiotaped.
Some were also videotaped. In many instances we have two copies of the audiotapes because one was intended for the Archive and one for the Circulating collection at the Park Forest Public Library.  None have been transcribed. None of the original analog recordings on audiotape have been digitized.

"Analysis in Wonderland"

Musical by Gerald "Jerry" Myrow, Al Engelhard, and Bernie Kuby. Written 1953-1954, performed by Park Forest Playhouse (a cast of ca. 50) in May 1954. These recordings were made originally on reel to reel tape, analog. We have made audiocassette recordings from the reel to reel tapes. These should soon be in our holdings as digital files and on CD-ROM. The Archive holds a collection, Accession A1997.6 Box 58, which contains "Analysis in Wonderland" librettos and some scores and some sheet music, articles and a cast photograph.

Robert A. Dinerstein

When Robert Dinerstein donated his many boxes of personal papers on the history of Park Forest, Jane Nicoll, Archivist, audiotaped his explanations of the contents of the boxes.

Grande Prairie Singers

We have a small collection of audiotapes and programs from Grande Prairie Singers donated in the early 2000s. It was determined that due to performer and composer copyright issues, we could not share the audiotaped music. We can share the programs, which are in the Park Forest Files at the Park Forest Public Library.


Park Forest Audiotape Collection

This list of audiotapes the Park Forest Historical Society Program possesses can be found at the Archive office. Click on the PDF to view the list.

These audiotapes cover various events and interviews including:

  1. The Park Forest Hall of Fame Induction
  2. Larry McClellan HUD and Park Forest South
  3. Jane Nicoll T.A.L.E. Tape (1 and 2)
  4. Carroll Sweet Jr. Rotary Luncheon
  5. Carroll Sweet OH! Interview Tape (1, 2, and 3)
  6. Anna Leweling Interview, Henry Leweling Tape (1 and 2)
  7. Celebrating Marshall Fields
  8. 5th Annual Up Front and at Home
  9. Community
  10. How Integration Came to Park Forest
  11. 6th Annual Up Front and at Home
  12. 7th Annual Up Front and at Home
  13. Dr. Charles E. Gavin Foundation History
  14. Park Forest Historical Society Trustees and Officials Reunion
  15. Reflections and Accomplishments of Park Forest African Americans
  16. Park Forest Historical Society Annual Meeting-Elaine Brownlee on PFHS Website
  17. Gregory Randall Book Signing for "America's Original GI Town"
  18. The Sauk Trail Indians
  19. Park Forest Historical Society Steering Committee, and many more.

*Note: While scrolling in the PDF, the information will continue on to new pages.