About the Author

Valerie Raleigh Yow

Valerie Raleigh Yow

Valerie Yow received a Ph. D. in history from the University of Wisconsin. Her first oral history project involved interviewing three generations of women mill workers in Carrboro, North Carolina. She trained interviewers and interviewed in the project on the history of clerical workers in Rhode Island, sponsored by the national organization Nine to Five. She taught history at the University of Rhode Island, at Brooklyn College, and Northern Illinois University. She teaches workshops on oral history and is a consultant on oral history projects.

Valerie has served the Oral History Association in different offices: she was Book Review Editor for the Oral History Review for seven years and recently served on the governing council of the Oral History Association. She is a member of the International Oral History Association. Her book Recording Oral History, was selected by The American Library Association for its list, “Outstanding Academic Titles” for both the 2006 and 2015 editions.

Valerie also pursues other passions, writing biography and plays and painting. Her play, In the Service of Others, won first place in the Great Chicago Playwrights Exposition and was produced at the Body Politic Theater in 1987.  Love Creek Productions, New York, produced her play,  Past Tense/Present Tense in February 1995. And her play Betty Smith Meets Carl Jung: Some Memories, Dreams, Reflections was produced in Chapel Hill in 2004. For information on biographies, click on Bernice Kelly Harris: A Good Life Was Writing and Betty Smith: Life of the Author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Valerie Yow appears in the 2009 edition of Who’s Who in America and in subsequent editions. And also World Who’s Who of Women, 15th edition and subsequent editions. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


Betty Smith: Life of the Author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Bernice Kelly Harris: A Good Life Was Writing

Recording Oral History: A Guide for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The History of Hera: A Women’s Art Cooperative

Patient Care: A History of Butler Hospital

Bryant College: The First Hundred Years


“What Every Biographer Should Know: Relationships with the Family,” Journal of Media Practice  2010, 11: 3, 243-252.

“Biography and Oral History,” Handbook of Oral History, Eds. Thomas Charlton, Rebecca Sharpless, and Lois Myers (Baylor University: AltaMira Press, 2006

“ ‘Do I Like Them Too Much?’ Effects of the Oral History Interview on the Interviewer,”Oral History Review 24: 1 (Summer 1997): 55-79. Also published in the second edition of The Oral History Reader. Eds. Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson. Routledge: London and New York, 2006.

“Interviewing Techniques and Strategies.” (Excerpt from Recording Oral History) Published in The Oral History Reader, third edition. Eds. Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson. Routledge: London and New York, 2015.

“Ethics and Interpersonal Relationships in Oral History Research,” Oral History Review 22: 1 (Summer 1995): 51-66.

“Una cooperativa de mujeres artistas,” Historia antropologia y fuentes orales (Universitat de Barcelona) 16 (1996): 115-121.

“Introduction,” an analysis of Bernice Kelly Harris’s novel Sweet Beulah Land in the 1999 reprint of the 1943 novel (Coastal Carolina Press, 1999).

“Women Clerical Workers” in Charles Stephenson and Robert Asher, eds. Life and Labor (State University of New York Press, 1986)

“Childhood in a Southern Mill Village,” International Journal of Oral History 3: 3 (November 1982) 167-192.

“Farm to Mill Village: Two Lives,” in Marc Miller, ed., Working Lives (1981).

“Textile Women: Three Generations in the Mill,” Southern Exposure 4:3 (1976).

“Workers’ Education: A Confrontation at Ruskin College,” American Journal of Education 92: 1 (November 1983): 52-78.

“In the Classroom and Not At the Sink: Education for British Working-Class Women in the Interwar Years,” British Journal of Education (1991).

“A Crisis in Rhode Island Mental Health Care: The Closing of Butler Hospital in 1955,” Rhode Island History 47:2 (May 1989).

Papers Delivered at Recent Conferences

“What Oral Historians Can Learn From Psychotherapists and Vice Versa,” Paper. European Social Science History Conference. 30 March-2 April 2016, Valencia, Spain.

“Oral History and Interpersonal Relationships: How We Have Changed,” Paper. Berkshire Conference in Women’s History, May 22-25, 2014. Toronto, Canada.

“Ethics in Biographical Research.” Paper. Annual Meeting the Oral History Association, October 8-12, 2014. Madison, Wisconsin.

“The Effects of the Interview Experience on the Interviewer: An Area Less Explored.” Commentator. Annual Meeting of the Oral History Association, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, October 9-13, 2013.

“Moral Questions Encountered in Oral History Interviewing,” Paper. Annual Meeting of  the Oral History Association, Cleveland, Ohio, October 10-14, 2012.

“Oral History, the Compassionate Listening Project, and Peace,” Paper, Annual Meeting, Oral History Association, Denver, Colorado, October 12-16, 2011.

“What Every Biographer Should Know.” The International Autobiography and Biography Association Conference, University of Sussex, June 27-July 1, 2010.


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