Keynote Address

Keynote Address: Oral Historians at Work (and Play)

Don Ritchie

Historian Emeritus of the United States Senate

Author of Doing Oral History

Drawing on forty years of experience as an interviewer, U.S. Senate Historian Emeritus Don Ritchie will reflect on the work culture of the oral historian and how it has developed through changing technologies, economies, and expectations. He will consider how that work culture influences the interviews we conduct and the questions we ask.

Don Ritchie addressing a meeting of the US Senate Youth Program’s delegates. Photo:


Don Ritchie, Historian Emeritus of the U.S. Senate, joined the Senate Historical Office in 1976, after earning a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. He conducted an oral history program for the Senate, and served as president of the Oral History Association and on the council of the International Oral History Association.  He has published a  number of books on politics and government, and a widely-used manual on Doing Oral History.

On Saturday morning, Don and Anne Ritchie will give an oral history masterclass in archiving.

Anne, Don’s wife, is also an accomplished oral historian. While working at the University of Kentucky Libraries from 1977 to 1988, she directed oral history projects on a variety of topics including the Frontier Nursing Service, John Jacob Niles and the Christian Appalachian Project. Since 1990, she has been the oral historian at the National Gallery of Art. She has also been active in state, regional and national oral history activities, having served as president of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region (OHMAR) and as a council member and president of the Oral History Association.

We are delighted they can both join us in Galway.