Oral History Collection

The Peru Public Library has 92 oral history interviews available for use by local patrons, researchers, and students. The interviews range from the Cherry Mine Disaster to the Illinois-Mississippi Canal to teaching in the 1900’s. Taped and transcribed during 1975 and 1976 as part of a local history project supported by the Starved Rock Library System (Ottawa, Illinois), the interviews were given to Peru Public Library by the Starved Rock Library in 1993.

In 2013-14, the tapes and transcriptions were digitized under a grant given to the Peru Library from the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board. Circulating copies of the interviews are available for two-week loans from the Peru Public Library. A set is also housed in our Local History & Genealogy Collection. And the transcripts are available as pdf’s at the following links. Please note, not all the tapes were transcribed and not all the transcriptions have the original tape.

  1. Albrecht, Henry & Harriet – Family operated well-drilling
  2. Allen, Mary – Soapmaking
  3. Ambrose, Joe – Early years in Austria and DePue
  4. Anderson, Mary – Life in Princeton
  5. Arendell, Lester – History of Coal Mining in Toluca, IL
  6. Bartlett, Watson – Trip to Yakima
  7. Battin, Charles – Description of Indian artifacts
  8. Beatty, Lester – Farm life in LaMoille
  9. Bender, Michael – Personalities & business in Spring Valley
  10. Bieser, William – Life on a farm and farming
  11. Brady, Gladys – Sandwich fair
  12. Bryant, Edward – Autobiography & the Illinois-Mississippi Canal
  13. Bryant, Minnie – Childhood in Spring Valley
  14. Carus, Alwin – Zinc, Hegeler & Mattiesen
  15. Castle, Latham – Career in Law
  16. Clay, Floyd – Working on a riverboat
  17. Confrey, Burton – People & places in LaSalle
  18. Curtis, Ora – 27 years teaching in Lostant
  19. Divan, Louis – Life in TolucaDonna, Peter – Cherry Mine disaster & coal mining
  20. Dunlap, Jessie – Marseilles Daily Press, 1921-1966
  21. Fisher, Hart – Interurban line
  22. Fletcher, Vera – History of Bureau County
  23. Flint, Irvin – Strip mining in Bureau County
  24. Foster, Rosa – Reminiscences from a 91-year-old
  25. Fry, Donnabell – Teaching in Princeton