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Callings: the Purpose and Passion of Work (Common Text 2020-2021)

Resources related to assignments and classwork for the 2020-2021 Campus Common Read Text.

Dave Isay

In 2003, in the wake of 9/11, a small recording booth opened up in Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan which invited ordinary people to tell their stories. The purpose was to celebrate these personal narratives as essential to the fabric of the nation and show how they strengthen the bonds between us. The vision for this project began years earlier when a young man named Dave Isay, from Hartford Connecticut, became interested in making radio programs. Noticing early on the healing power of delving beneath surface stories to uncover truths in his own family, and drawing on the inspiration of oral histories taken by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression, Isay eventually launched StoryCorps.

Although he has written numerous books, Isay is best known for StoryCorps and its celebration of the power of oral history. The orignal booth in Grand Central led to similar booths in Major Cities, with the collected histories of "quiet heroes" (NPR) archived and preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Dave Isay on TED: Everyone Around You Has a Story the World Needs to Hear

Biographical Info & Interviews

Biographical Info & Interviews