The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

December 9, 2012

Take time to record your family’s stories

Five years ago, StoryCorps established a new national holiday, The National Day of Listening, as an “alternative to ‘Black Friday’ shopping sprees.” That big shopping day is past, but it does not take a special day to encourage family members to take part in some of the activities recommended at http://nationaldayoflistening.org/learn-more.

One can listen to a variety of interviews by clicking on the Wall of Listening. For example, Yvonne talked to her Dad on his 90th birthday; two friends talked about the hurricane, Sandy. Perhaps listening to others’ interviews can provide an inspiration to do likewise.

This website has lists of questions to ask family members and friends to encourage story-telling. In addition to questions for anyone, there are questions to ask grandparents and/or parents on a variety of topics, such as growing up, school, love and relationships, marriage and partnerships, working, religion, serious illness, family heritage, war, and remembering a loved one.

The four-page do-it-yourself instruction guide tells how to conduct an interview and also provides helpful recommendations on equipment as well as possible questions to ask. You may even wish to share your listening experiences on Facebook or Twitter. StoryCorps’ mission is to “provide people … with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve their stories.”

Mosler’s diary

In recognition of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art has launched a digital exhibition at http://civilwardiary.aaa.si.edu of Henry Mosler’s Civil War diary. Although the diary has only 37 pages, it provides a first-hand account of the suffering of that war.

Henry Mosler (1841-1920) had been in the 9th Indiana Volunteer Regiment during the Civil War and kept the diary in 1862. He had been an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly. In his diary he wrote about being an aide-de-camp to General R. W. Johnson — his first professional position as an artist.

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