This week I uploaded the two oral histories I discussed in last week’s post to YouTube:
- Charles Terryn (Early Cape Canaveral/Palmetto Berry Farming): Click here
- Guenter Wendt (NASA Engineer): Click here
I hope you enjoy these videos! I especially enjoyed learning more about the Space Program from Guenter Wendt. It has great personal stories about astronauts (particularly the Mercury Seven).
If you would like to learn more about these two video subjects, be sure to check my blog post from last week by clicking here!
This week I began editing a new oral history for Hester Wagner. Hester was a long time resident of a unique community in Brevard called Melbourne Village. Known as an “intentional community,” Melbourne Village was founded in 1946 by three well-educated women from Dayton, Ohio: Virginia Wood, Elizabeth Nutting, and Margaret Hutchison. They witnessed hard times during the Great Depression, which fueled their ideas on what an idealized, prosperous community would look like. The community was partly based on the theories of economist Ralph Borsodi, who believed in self-reliant living off the land in a post-Depression world.
Hester talks a lot about the two natural hammocks in the community, Erna Nixon and Deerhead Hammocks, as well as the abundant wildlife. However, most of the interview features information on the politics of Melbourne Village, which is based on a Town Commission. Political splits, religious tolerance, and community involvement are all topics discussed.
One helpful resource was a book we have in the collection of the Brevard County Central Reference Library. It’s called Melbourne Village: The First Twenty-Five Years 1946-1971 by Richard C. Crepeau.
It was really helpful with verifying names and events. There is a PDF version of the book and another work by the interviewer of this oral history, Georgiana Kjerulff, among other resources available on the Melbourne Village website.
The community is still active today and you can learn more by visiting their website here.
Click here to view Hester Wagner’s oral history!
Another project I began working on was creating an organizational system for the videos we have been uploading to the county website and to YouTube. Since we have over 50 videos uploaded now (I just uploaded my 20th since my internship began), we needed a way to organize them for our audience.
I had the idea to create YouTube playlists so that people can easily find videos that fall under topics they are interested in learning about. It’s interesting to see how what once was predominately just an entertainment and social media platform, has now become an excellent educational resource. The trick is making sure the information is presented in an efficient and useful manner. A cool part about this internship is learning how being digitally savvy provides an important skill set for such a broad range of tasks. Computers have really changed the way we get information to the public from a historical perspective. I’m glad that there are digital tools that allow backlogged oral histories, that were once simply collecting dust on a shelf, to reach the largest audience possible.
Finally, I began one other project. It’s a bit different than most oral histories; it is an outdoor oral history following a group of descendants of former residents of a place called “Maytown” around old building sites.
Maytown is now a ghost town to the north of Brevard County in parts of neighboring Volusia County. It was once the location of two railroad crossings, but is now mostly empty, rural acres and a few abandoned buildings.
I should have more information on that next week as I finish the video researching and editing process.
Thanks for reading!