Collection ID: MS 21-010

Collection context


Carroll, Tom
Collection of oral history interviews and accompanying documents, slides, photographs and ephemera assembled by folklorist Tom Carroll and submitted to the museum as the “Living Traditions in the Adirondacks” project in 1996. The collection aims to “chronicle and preserve living memories of continuity and change, work and culture in Adirondack forests, with special emphasis on the lives and experiences of women.”
.8 linear feet and 2 boxes
Preferred citation:

“Living Traditions in the Adirondacks” Oral History Collection, 1993-1996, MS 21-010, Adirondack Experience Library


Scope and Content:

This collection contains oral history interviews as well as documents – including a grant application, mission statements and reports, meeting minutes, memos and news clippings – related to the “Living Traditions in the Adirondacks” project beginning in 1993 and ending with their submission to the museum by folklorist Tom Carroll in 1996. It also contains tape logs describing the topics discussed in each interview, slides of photographs taken by Carroll when conducting the interviews accompanied by a photo log describing them as well as photographs and ephemera relating to the interview subjects and topics discussed. The Adirondack Experience will be referred to by its name at the time of creation, the Adirondack Museum, but both names refer to the same entity.

Biographical / Historical:

This project originated from a Folk Arts Program Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) that became the “Living Traditions” project under folklorist Karen Taussig-Lux in 1995. Folklorist Dr. Tom Carroll, initially a brought on as a consultant, assumed responsibility for the research phase of the project and, along with Adirondack Museum educator Bart Roselli, created a plan to interview Adirondack residents in the western section of the Adirondack Park, beginning his preliminary fieldwork and making contacts in various Adirondack hamlets in February of 1996. After modifying the research aims to focus on “woods/the wood” and “women’s lives and experiences in the Adirondacks,” Carroll returned to the Adirondacks and conducted the recorded interviews that became the oral histories and took the photographs present in the slide collection in June and July of 1996. For all interviews the “framework was biographical, and proceeded from discussion of the informant’s life experience, to an effort to connect the life with place or locale, and finally to an assessment of the current situation and its significance for the informant and their community.” Selection criteria included a longtime association with the Adirondacks and birth dates ranging from the 1910s to 1930s and a particular interest of Carroll’s was “learning how women’s lives have been affected by contact with the Adirondack locale.” Of his 18 interview subjects, 12 interviewees were women who grew up on and ran family farms; who hunted, fished, guided and drove teams of horses pulling wagons; who skidded logs or cooked at logging camps; and who worked at hotels and in the service industry. Six interviewees were men who worked in the logging and lumber industries and in a local paper mill. Carroll concludes “that the Adirondacks, while posing challenges to survival, also provided a great deal of personal freedom” including “the everyday opportunity for involvement in the woods” for all residents of the Adirondacks, but offering a unique experience for women.

Custodial history:

Digital files were produced from the original cassette tapes in 2017 through a grant from the New York State Education Department, New York State Library, Division of Library Development, and New York State Program for the Conservation and Preservation of Library Research Materials. Materials were arranged into a collection by Anthony Morgano in September of 2021.


Series 1: Project Documentation, 1993-1996. This series contains official documentation of the "Living Traditions in the Adirondacks" oral history collection, including an NEA grant application, mission statements and meeting minutes, release forms, memos, Carroll's final report and a floppy disc containing the report as well as the tape and photo logs (physical copies found in series 3 and 5).

Series 2: News Clippings, August 1996. Series contains a press release from the Adirondack Museum announcing programming related to Carroll's "Living Traditions in the Adirondacks" project and three news clippings from area papers.

Series 3: Tape Logs. Carroll's tape logs summarizing the recorded information of each oral history interview arranged by interview subject.

Series 4: Partial Transcripts and Manuscripts. This series contains a floppy disk containing partial transcripts of selected interviews (all are also available locally at Z:\Master Files by Object Name\Audio\Oral Histories) and two handwritten manuscripts from interview subjects.

Series 5: Photo Logs. Carroll's logs describing the slides containing pictures of interview subjects and their homes and towns he took when conducting his interviews.

Series 6: Photographs and Slides. This series consists of 267 slides containing pictures of interview subjects and their homes and towns he took when conducting his interviews, 4 slides of interview subject Ed Carpenter's interview at the Adirondack Museum and two photographs of interview subjects at the Adirondack Museum.

Series 7: Ephemera. Related ephemera, including brochures, post cards and a price list, likely gathered by Carroll from his interview subjects.

Series 8: Interview Recordings Recordings of the interviews conducted by Carroll in June and July of 1996, available on the original cassettes and in digital recordings available at the repository. These are housed in a separate box in the Audio Cabinet with the cassettes for MS 21-011.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: a Content Standard



There are no restrictions regarding access to this collection.


Fair use copy permitted for research, study, or investigational purposes citing the Adirondack Experience. Any other use requires written permission.


“Living Traditions in the Adirondacks” Oral History Collection, 1993-1996, MS 21-010, Adirondack Experience Library

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