Oral History at the US Embassy

For my oral history project, I would like to interview an Englishwoman who has worked in the Community Liaison Office at the US Embassy since 1959. The Embassy will be relocating from Mayfair to the Nine Elms neighbourhood at the end of the year, leaving a Grade I listed building behind in favour of a state-of-the-art modern security fortress.

The American presence in Mayfair, Central London, has lasted nearly 250 years. The current building opened in 1960, seen as a Modernist architectural dream. Previously, the Embassy was located in a Georgian mansion across the Square. As this woman is unique among employees for her experiences in both embassy locations as well as in her nationality, I thought she would be a great candidate for an oral history interview.

The Mayfair area, long known as ‘Little America’, will be changed once the Embassy relocates. Interviewing a person who has witnessed so much change over six decades will present an interesting opportunity to attempt to preserve some memories of an area and building about to undergo a dramatic change.

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One Comment on “Oral History at the US Embassy”

  1. Graham Smith says:

    A very interesting idea. There might be constraints in what can be said by the interviewee and you might need to think about this before an interview. Nevertheless, even if there were security or employment issues, the interview would be valuable. The reflections on interviewing by Don Ritchie when he was oral historian at the US Senate would be worth looking at in preparing for this interview. Categorizing blog entries is really useful to people searching the site BTW… So please add categories (and even tags).


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