To accomplish Charles Redd’s goal to preserve the stories of western pioneers, the directors and board started an oral history program which has become the major collection arm of the Center. In 1973 the Redd Center asked Gary L. Shumway, a professor at California State University-Fullerton who had set up the LDS Church Historical Department’s Oral History Program the year before, to teach an oral history class. The interviews conducted by the class members along with interviews about Charles Redd conducted by Professor Charles S. Peterson, a former employee of Redd, and Greg Maynard, a BYU graduate student, became the basis for the Redd Center Oral History Program. In 1974, the Redd Center hired John Bluth, a BYU graduate student who had served as the teaching assistant for Shumway’s class, to continue its oral history program. Bluth directed the program until 1979 when he left for full-time employment as an archivist. Another former member of the class, Jessie Embry, was hired in 1979 as the oral history program director and continued to hold that position as part of her responsibilities as associate director of the Redd Center until she retired in 2014.
In 2015, the Redd Center hired Brenden Rensink as the assistant director of the Redd Center. He is focusing on new, innovative forms of public history, as per Jessie's suggestion. The Redd Center continues to collect Oral Histories through historians in the community.
The tapes and transcripts for Redd Center oral histories are housed in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections of the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU. They can be accessed through Special Collections. Please click here to visit their website. For information, contact Special Collections. All Redd Center interviews are listed in the BYU's library catalog.