Life Review As Oral History
Recollections of historic events and the era in which they occurred are valuable eyewitness accounts and part of a nation's heritage. For example, in Britain, the group Age Exchange organized the Reminiscence Theatre company, to which Londoners have shared their memories of living through the blitz in World War II. In America, only a few hundred are still alive of the 200,000 orphaned and poor children who were sent west between 1854 and 1929. They meet annually to share remembrances of that era, and their stories are important historical accounts of a little known social experiment.
During the U.S. bicentennial celebration in the summer of 1976, under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, Robert Butler, along with anthropologists Margaret Mead and Wilton Dillon obtained the stories of visitors to the Mall in Washington, D.C. In 1993, Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany published Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years, a firsthand account of what it was like to live as African Americans in the United States in the twentieth century.