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Veterans History Project (VHP): Exploring the Collections

VHP collects, preserves, and makes accessible the firsthand narratives of U.S. military veterans who served from World War I through the present. This guide provides an overview and tips for navigating, locating, and accessing these collections.

Introduction

A photograph of two researchers conducting research in the American Folklife Center reading room.
Megan Harris, photographer. Researchers examine VHP collections in the AFC reading room. 2014. Library of Congress American Folklife Center.

The Veterans History Project (VHP) of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the firsthand narratives of United States military veterans from World War I through the present. In addition to unedited audio- and video-recorded oral history interviews, VHP accepts memoirs and collections of original photographs, letters, diaries, maps and other historical documents from any American veteran who served in the military from World War I through the present.

Researchers and the general public use VHP collections for a wide variety of projects and purposes. Some are interested in learning more about the history of a family member's military unit. Others seek eyewitness perspectives of battles, campaigns, and military operations. Still others draw on VHP collections for information about the social or cultural experience of war and military life.

Materials from the Veterans History Project have been cited in academic papers and dissertations, included in books, newspaper articles, and other publications, and featured in documentary films such as Ken Burns' The War.

This guide is a starting point for your research at the Veterans History Project. It provides information on how to:

  • Locate VHP collections at the Library
  • Understand what constitutes a collection at VHP
  • Search the VHP online database to identify collections that fit your research interest(s)
  • Locate and utilize VHP collections that are available online
  • Conduct research with VHP collections on-site at the Library of Congress
  • Contact VHP