Life Histories

During my time spent with the folders this week, I heard an array of different stories; classic triumphs, action and tragedies – different persons and their families trying to survive in America.

The Federal Writers Project gave American’s an entertaining chance to earn a living and make life less mundane in the post-Depression era, giving voice and narrative to masses of different people, most specifically for this class – the southern region of the United States. All of the folders provide a glimpse into a certain individuals life, delivered to you through the interpretative lens of the interviewer. On top of that, as the Life Histories were drafted and submitted for review, it seems that some editor would deliver a stamp of approval or rejection, where the editor is signifying to the interviewer to take the narrative in a different direction. So that is another level of meaning, another set of possible biases and attitudes that can affect our XML transcription for these Life Histories.

Is it right to create narratives in these Life Histories? Is our main goal in transcribing these life histories to give the most honest and “truthful” depiction we can? Is that even possible?

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