The Veterans History Project Preserves the Experiences of America’s Veterans
Vol.8 Issue 1
Photos and artifacts of US Soldiers need to be preserved for posterity

While many of us celebrated holidays recently, it may have been good to catch up with family members. Some people enjoy flipping through a family photo album or sharing memories with each other. While visiting, you may have come across artifacts from one of your relatives who was in the military. If you would like to preserve those keepsakes, the Veterans History Project (VHP) of the Library of Congress would be a great way to share them with the world.

If you’ve ever listened to a riveting, first-hand account from a service member of their wartime experience and thought such oral history should be preserved, you’re in stellar company.

The United States Congress created the VHP in the year 2000. The authorizing legislation (Public Law 106-380 [PDF, 197 KB]), sponsored by U.S. Representatives Ron Kind, Amo Houghton, and Steny Hoyer and U.S. Senators Max Cleland and Chuck Hagel, received unanimous support. It was signed into law by President Clinton on October 27, 2000. The VHP makes personal, first-hand accounts of American war veterans accessible so future generations may hear directly from veterans, and better understand the realities of war.

The VHP of the Library of Congress (LOC) American Folklife Center collects and preserves the first-hand interviews of United States military veterans from World War I through the present.

The VHP accepts audio and video recorded oral history interviews, memoirs, and collections of original photographs, letters, diaries, maps, and other historical documents from veterans who served in the U.S. armed services.

The VHP relies on volunteers throughout the nation to contribute veterans’ stories.

All VHP participants (both interviewees and interviewers) retain the copyright to their materials. As a publicly supported institution, the LOC generally does not own the rights to the material in its collections. Permissions need to be obtained before using the interview or other materials in exhibitions or publications.

The 2016 Gold Star Families Voice Act (Public Law 114-246) expanded the scope of the VHP to include oral histories from parents, spouses, siblings, and children of "members of the Armed Forces who died as a result of their service during a period of war."

Veterans History Project

Click on the following VHP links for more information on How to Participate or to Search the Veterans Collection.

The VHP makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so future generations may hear directly from them and better understand the realities of war.

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