On May 16, 2019, Columbia University announced the Obama Foundation had selected the Columbia Center for Oral History to conduct the official oral history of the Obama presidency. The result of this collaboration will be a comprehensive, enduring record of the decisions, actions, and impact of this historic presidential administration.

“The pride we feel in counting President Obama as an alumnus involves much more than the recognition of his time as a student here many years ago. This is a relationship built on shared values and interests that is producing public spirited projects of enormous, even transformative, potential at Columbia," said Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger.

Read the full announcement.

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Leading this Project

The Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) is Columbia University’s leading interdisciplinary social science research center. As with this project, INCITE commits itself to the use of innovative research methods to investigate our world and understand deeply relevant issues of equity and justice. 

The Columbia Center for Oral History, housed within INCITE, is renowned for the diversity of its collection. It is the nation's oldest and largest oral history archive with more than 11,000 recorded interviews and 25,000 hours of transcript.

Over the next five years, the Columbia Center for Oral History Research will conduct roughly 400 interviews with a diverse range of individuals.

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Senior White House Officials
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Political Leaders Across the Spectrum
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People From All Walks of Life

Principal Investigators

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Peter Bearman

Jonathan R. Cole Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Director, Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE)

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Mary Marshall Clark

Director, Columbia Center for Oral History Research

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Kimberly Springer

Curator, Oral History Archives, Columbia University Rare Book & Manuscript Library