Thanks to supporters of oral history project

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Hyde Park Historical Society and the Oral History Committee, I wish to thank the Hyde Park Herald for highlighting the partnership that has been developed between the HPHS and the Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference in the article that appeared in the Dec. 19 issue of the paper. The article noted the very generous grant that the HP-K CC made to the HPHS Oral History Project for helping with the cost of transcribing oral histories that will be conducted in 2013 of a substantial number of long time conference members who have made a difference in the history of our community.

The society and our committee are very grateful for the support that the conference is showing for this project and for the continued support that is being provided in part by the Hyde Park Bank which also gave us a grant in 2012.

I would like to point out that the direct quote in the article that was made about the “emergent” need to record these oral histories, because many of the people on the list to be interviewed are in their ’80s and ’90s, and their memories would otherwise be lost, was made by Lala Rodgers, who co-chairs the Oral History Committee with me. Lala and six other members of the committee — Bert Benade, Rita McCarthy, Cleveland Holden, Cordelia Benedict, Carol Bradford and Aileen Chenkeli — have been working hard for the last two years to help bring this project to fruition.

Another person whose name should be mentioned is Judy Roothaan, who along with Jane Ciacci, former president of the conference, came to us one year ago with the idea to record the memories of conference members before they meet their “mortality,” to use Judy’s word. Judy was first a staff member of the conference and was also active on their schools committee when her children were attending Kosminski Elemenary School, and she can recount some remarkable stories about the role that the Conference played in improving the schools in Hyde Park and their role in Urban Renewal.

I would like to close by thanking Jane Ciacci for making the initial proposal to the HP-K CC board and to Anita Hollins, the current president of the conference, for inviting Lala and me to make a presentation about the project to the conference. I also wish to thank Timuel Black, George Rumsey, Mary Ann Johnson, Jacqueline Dace, Victoria Haas, Judy Roothaan and the membership of the HPHS for lending their support for this project which will be a multi-year effort that will result in oral histories that will be eventually be available for all to research at the Special Collections Research Center in the Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago.

It has been a gratifying experience for me to work with this wonderful group of people who are dedicated to the mission of the Hyde Park Historical Society which is: To record and preserve the history of Hyde Park Township.

Kathy Huff, Co-Chair,
Oral History Committee
Hyde Park Historical Society