Picture of Polina Ilieva
Polina Ilieva
Polina is Associate University Librarian for Collections and UCSF Archivist.

Welcome Allison Tracy-Taylor, Oral History Archivist

We are excited to introduce Allison Tracy-Taylor who joins the UCSF Archives and Special Collections as an oral history archivist. Allison will be leading the Oral History Program (OHP) supported by the Academic Senate Chancellor’s Fund and Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication. This program will enable the University to record and preserve diverse UCSF faculty voices. By sharing their stories in their own words, faculty members will be shaping the legacy they leave behind.

The OHP aims to understand and share the history of health sciences education at UCSF through recording, transcribing, and preserving oral histories of the UCSF teaching and research community. The project will engage with campus DEI leaders to document their experiences and efforts to address and remediate inequities in health, health care, and education. Additionally, the OHP aims to elevate the narratives, perspectives, and expertise of historically underrepresented populations in the education and research communities at UCSF. This one-of-a-kind public record will address “silences” and gaps in the existing historical narrative. Allison will collaborate with campus faculty to convene oral history advisory committees within each of the schools to identify interviewees and perform outreach activities related to the program.

Learn more about Allison

Allison Tracy-Taylor

Collecting and preserving archival material that documents nuanced historical narratives and encourages contemporary conversations is a major theme of Allison’s work. As an independent oral historian based in Sacramento, CA, Allison was the project lead for the California State Library website Voices of the Golden State. This site curated a collection of oral histories exploring many facets of California’s history. She has also worked on multiple oral history projects, including a project on the history of the medical device technology industry in Silicon Valley for Stanford BioDesign, and the Documenting the Experiences of Mexican, Filipina, and Chicana Women in California Agriculture Oral History Project for the Center for Oral and Public History at Cal State Fullerton.  

Allison is passionate about supporting oral history practitioners and growing the field into an inclusive and equitable space. She served as the 2019-2020 president of the Oral History Association (OHA), as well as on the OHA’s council for several years. As president she initiated the development of the OHA’s Guidelines for Social Justice Oral History Work, convened and served on the Independent Practitioners’ Task Force, which developed a robust toolkit for independent oral historians, and chaired a task force that developed remote interviewing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Oral history experience and education

Community engagement and education are central to Allison’s work. Prior to working as an independent practitioner, Allison was the oral history administrator at the Kentucky Historical Society, overseeing the Kentucky Oral History Commission (KOHC), the only commission of its kind in the United States. She provided outreach, education, and technical support to oral history practitioners and programs throughout Kentucky. Allison was also the oral historian for the Stanford Historical Society, where she served as the program’s senior oral history mentor and documented Stanford University’s history through the stories of faculty and staff.

Allison began her work in oral history at the University of Nevada Oral History Program (UNOHP). There she served in multiple roles, including as an interviewer for a multi-year project on the history of women’s athletics at the University of Nevada, and an editor for the resulting book We Were All Athletes: Title IX and Women’s Athletics at the University of Nevada. In addition to an MA in oral history from Columbia University, Allison holds a BA in sociology and English literature from the University of Nevada. 

In her free time, Allison enjoys hiking, reading, the distinct hobbies of collecting craft supplies, crafting, and baking. Though she will always be a Nevadan at heart, she has come to love the profound beauty of California. 

Feature image courtesy of CoWomen via Unsplash