This Graphic was made by my niece Carrie




Making Oral History into a Book

My father, Troy Wye Pritt, made twenty-four audio tapes over the course of eight years – 1997 – 2005. I transcribed these tapes. There are thirty-six transcripts, a transcript for the side of each tape. Some tapes were only recorded on one side.
Tapes 1

When all of the tapes were transcribed, I established nine periods of time, related to significant events in the life of Troy Wye Pritt: 1900-1915, 1916-1925, 1926-1933, 1934-1939, 1940-1945, 1946-1956, 1956-1966, 1967-1981, 1981-2005. I assigned a color to each of these time segments.

Oral History Pic 2

Next, I went through all of the transcripts and, with color pens, I marked in the right margin of the transcript page in what time period that event had occurred.

Oral History pics 3

Eighteen transcripts produced time period files that were becoming unwieldy. I went through the time period files and broke them down into subfiles according to subject, e.g. “Green Taylor’s Farm”, “Red Mount Clare Shops”, etc. The tags with transcript number and page number were carried over into the subfiles. Eventually, I had ninety subfiles. The other eighteen transcripts were divided and copied directly into subfiles.

Oral History Pics 4

After all the transcripts were marked, I created a computer file for each of the time periods, went through the transcripts, and copied various segments into the time period file in which they belonged. Each time I copied a segment from a transcript, I tagged it with its transcript and page number in the time period file.

The book was written by assembling the subfiles into a readable form. This involved several stages of editing. First, the various segments were put in an order that tells a readable and coherent story. Second, in the transcripts there were many repetitions of various stories. There were as many as five different versions of the same story. Each of these had to be merged into a single story. Third, the entire book had to be combed to remove words and phrases used in speaking and storytelling to, frankly, stall for time while the next sentence is being formed in the mind. Sentences that were repetitions were cut.

The book does not read like a lot of transcripts. However, thanks to the tags, every sentence in the book can be traced back to a transcript or transcripts. This book truly is Troy Wye Pritt in his own words. Anything in the book which is not contained in the transcripts is printed in italics. In some cases this is material he gave in telephone conversations. In other cases it is information that I added to make what he said clearer.
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