In this issue we explore Oral Histories, how they differ from, complement, and in many instances offer on-the-spot revelations that do not reveal themselves as readily in traditional writing destined for print. Recording the life stories of our practitioners via interviewing and conversation is a critical way to document a person’s lifework, to track the progress of a field, and to get to heart-truths that emerge in the moment when people sit together and talk. Oral histories have also been a way to center marginalized voices and preserve the stories of those underrecognized in their time.
The issue opens with a new poem by Cheryl Clarke, responding to the paperworks and two Smithsonian oral histories of Emma Amos (1937–2020).
Nicole Donnelly interviews Helen Hiebert, taking an oral history of sorts of Hiebert’s Paper Talk podcast.
Johan Solberg likens Elaine and Sidney Koretskys’ films to moving-image oral histories.
Sarah Bertrand-Hamel presents David Carruthers’ telling of the founding of St. Armand Paper Mill in Montreal; accompanied by a paper sample.
Anne Vilsboell introduces the paper artworks and voice of Sudipta Das.
Adebunmi Gbadebo and Kelly Taylor Mitchell speak to each other about common threads in their work related to land, memory, and material histories.
Cheryl Edwards, Hand Papermaking’s inaugural Black Writers Fellowship: Reporter contributes a profile of DC–based artist Preston Sampson.
Irene Wei sets the record straight about Taiwanese pith “paper.” A sample accompanies her article.
Susan Mackin Dolan celebrates the life of artist and papermaker Beck Whitehead.
And Helen Frederick gives us her take on “Paper Routes—Women to Watch 2020,” an exhibition presented at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.