University of Arizona

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An ongoing oral history of COVID-19 in Tucson

An ongoing oral history of COVID-19 in Tucson

The COVID-19 pandemic is easily the most global story of the 21st century, yet it is also an intensely local story with striking differences across cities and regions. 

To preserve accounts of COVID-19's impact upon Tucson, our Oral Historian and Digital Media Producer, Aengus Anderson, has been remotely interviewing people especially affected by the pandemic. Since late February 2021, Anderson has recorded 20 interviews from a range of medical care providers, from nurses at St. Mary's Hospital to pulmonary researchers at the University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson

"You hear a lot about how COVID has slammed hospitals on the news," Anderson says. "But it's very different to take an hour and listen to a nurse or a doctor narrate their experience at length."

Asked about the biggest surprises in the oral histories thus far, Anderson comments, "I was stunned that they all wanted to keep working in medicine. They seemed to derive more of a sense of purpose from their work than anyone I've met."

Many of these interviews are currently available on Archive Tucson, and more are being posted every week. 

While the current collection is largely medical, Anderson is expanding the scope of the project's oral histories in the coming months to include educators, students, small business owners, renters, and people who have been economically displaced.

Blue image with Banner hospital in background, text: Archive Tucson oral histories spoken accounts