Oral History Collection

Oral history refers both to a method of recording and preserving oral testimony and to the product of that process. It begins with an audio or video recording of a first person account made by an interviewer with an interviewee (also referred to as narrator), both of whom have the conscious intention of creating a permanent record to contribute to an understanding of the past. A verbal document, the oral history, results from this process and is preserved and made available in different forms to other users, researchers, and the public.

— Oral History Association

Our collection of oral histories now includes over 200 cassette or compact disk audio recordings and a number of video recordings. They are not available for check out but you are welcome to listen to any of them. A complete listing is available in the library. Just ask any Docent to help you.

Bainbridge Island in the 1930s and 1940s:

An Oral History Project of the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum in partnership with Bainbridge Community Broadcasting

BIHM recently launched a new oral history project aimed at capturing the memories of island residents who lived Bainbridge history during the 1930s and 1940s.  This project is made possible through a  partnership with Bainbridge Community Broadcasting, a collaboration that provides us access to their state of the art recording studio as well as an additional online venue for publishing this material through edited podcast versions of the interviews.  The podcasts posted here are copies of those presented at the BCB website, along with, in some cases, supplemental material not previously shared.  The podcasts are approximately 15-20 minutes long, excerpted from lengthier 1 ½ – 2 hour interviews.  Visitors to BIHM can listen to the interviews in their entirety at the museum.  If you are interested in doing so we recommend you call ahead to reserve a computer.

Karen McCormic Beierle
February 12, 2018

Karen Beierle has been a Bainbridge Island resident since birth in the late 1930s.  Karen grew up in the Point White/Lynwood area.  Although she left the island briefly to attend college and begin a teaching career, she returned to raise a family here in the home she and her husband still occupy in Fletcher Bay.

In this 19-minute podcast, Karen describes the Point White ferry, Lynwood and Fort Ward in the 1940s, and the Navy’s presence in the area.  She describes her experience as a student at Pleasant Beach School when the 1949 earthquake struck that resulted in the school’s permanent closure.  The podcast concludes with Karen sharing some perspectives on the return of Bainbridge Island’s Japanese-American residents following their internment during World War II.

Karen McCormic Beierle Podcast     

Chuck Callaham
January 19, 2018

Chuck Callaham moved to Bainbridge Island with his family as a young child in the mid-1930s.  He is a lifelong resident of the island who grew up in Winslow and now lives in the Seabold area.  Chuck and his family have a long association with the Bainbridge Island Fire Department going back to the mid-1940s, including his father’s service as the department’s first full-time paid fire chief in the 1960s.

In this 16-minute podcast, Chuck describes life in Winslow the 1930s and 1940s, including some of his experiences growing up in the town and descriptions of some of the businesses along Winslow Way in that era.  He concludes the interview with his early memories of the Bainbridge Island Fire Department from its founding in the early 1940s.

Chuck Callaham Podcast     

Barney McCallum
December 18, 2017

Barney McCallum has been a summer resident of Pleasant Beach on Bainbridge Island since his boyhood in the early 1930s.  Barney grew up in Davenport, Washington but launched a successful business career in Seattle after graduating from the University of Washington in the late 1950s.  He continues to summer on Pleasant Beach today.

In this 12-minute podcast, Barney describes life on Pleasant Beach in the 1930s, the impact that World War II had on the area, and his role in inventing the game of Pickleball on Pleasant Beach in the mid-1960s with friends Joel Pritchard and Bill Bell.  The podcast concludes with Barney’s perspectives on how Bainbridge Island has changed since the 1930s.

Barney McCallum Podcast