Oral History Project: Continuing the History of Wake Forest

Expanded Wake Voices: Inclusive Student Life Project

The Special Collections & Archives (SCA) serves as a research repository for rare, unique, and primary source materials in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library. Open to all, SCA acquires, preserves, and provides access to a wide range of primary research materials. Since 2014, SCA has strived, through the creation and collecting of audio and video interviews, to expand the documentation of the Wake Forest experience, with particular attention to voices that are rarely heard in official histories.

As part of this work, SCA collaborated with Strings alumni to host an event during Homecoming 2021. Women from various societies and sororities were invited and encouraged to consider donating artifacts and memorabilia to the library. SCA also talked about the need to document the experience of women at Wake Forest through oral history interviews and as Strings leader Donna Boswell said “we need to celebrate women students’ ability to learn about the power of community and how to use it for meaningful social change.”

Funding was provided by a generous donor for hiring student assistant Parker Beverly, who had expertise in interviewing and creating documentary films. As a junior, Parker interviewed women alumnae and created the film I’m a Woman, Phenomenally: History of Wake Forest Women. She also donated her nearly 30 interviews to Special Collections & Archives.

Since the summer of 2022, the following interviews have been collected and ingested into the History of Wake Forest Oral Histories:

  • 42 interviews completed by senior Parker Beverly, including representatives from WF classes, 1956-2022
  • 19 LGBTQ interviews completed by Queer Public Histories class students (WGS306A)
  • 5 interviews completed by Tanya Zanish-Belcher and a campus presentation focusing on the history of the Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Department

But, we need your voice too! We would like to invite you to participate in an interview. By adding your voice to this collection, you will help record and preserve the history of the University for future generations. To register, please send your contact information and we will set up a time for you to share your story.

For further information about this project or providing support for this work, please contact:

Tanya Zanish-Belcher, Director
Special Collections & Archives, Z. Smith Reynolds Library
Wake Forest University