What's Your Life Story?

What would you give to hear your grandmother's voice again, or to listen to the stories she used to tell around the kitchen table? 

Remember when your daughter was just learning to talk?  

Have you heard about that time Dad and Uncle Joe went fishing and upset the boat? 

What was it like growing up without television? What did you do in the war?  Were you scared?  Why did you participate in the Civil Rights Movement?  Where were you when we landed on the moon?  What does patriotism mean to you?  Do you believe in God?  What was your first car?  Did you ever meet a president?  Why are you a Republican?  What went through your mind on 9|11?  What was the hardest thing about Grandpa's death?  What's the best advice you ever got?  

Is there anything that you want to say to me?


Our lives are shaped by experience and memory. However, since the dawn of humankind we also have been shaped by the stories we tell each other—around the campfire and kitchen table, in the theater and classroom, in church and saloon, from priest and parent, down through the generations.  Not everyone can tell a story like Shakespeare, but each of us has a story--a unique life story--to tell. Each of us can bear witness to a lifetime of lived experience and wisdom . . . and no one can tell that story better than you can. That's what makes these stories worth hearing.


People often think that a life story (sometimes called oral history) is just a boring catalog of events.  In fact, each life story is unique history vividly colored by one's personal brush.  Only an eyewitness to history can paint that particular canvass.

A life story is also an heirloom--a gift to future generations.  And what is remarkable is that each of us can leave a life story as his or her legacy. However, this implies that a life story must be told--and recorded—in the first place.  The Social Voice Project is listening . . . and we are recording as well.

We strongly encourage you to record your life story now and preserve it for someone you love.   We can help and guide you, and we can even set up the microphones.  We've made it easy.  Contact us to learn more.  If you already have a recording, just click here to upload your file (wav, aiff, mp3) to our TSVP Life Story Archive.  Don't worry about the quality of your audio--many life stories are recorded with whatever equipment was available.  That's ok.  What's more important is that you have your life story recorded.  The Social Voice Project will also work with you to edit design a complete life story recording project--whatever your needs are.  We can also do high quality on-site, audio field recording including one-on-one or group interviews.  Please contact us for details.
Send us your story.  We can help preserve it.
Note: By submitting your life story sound file here you grant TSVP permission to archive your material in the TSVP Life Story Archive, as per the terms and conditions of the Archive.  We do not censor submissions, but we reserve the right to reject submissions that do not conform to our mission and/or contain legally objectionable material. We do not discriminate on the basis of subject matter, topic, race, religion, creed, nationality, gender, or age. 

TSVP is currently seeking individuals and organizations to share their voices and stories for our specific audio recording initiatives:

Veteran Voices Initiative  A project focused on recording the experiences of both peace time and war time veterans of all branches of service, including Maritime Marines.  We are looking for individuals or groups of veterans to share their stories.  We are especially interested in working with veteran organizations--such as the VFW, American Legion, AMVETS, Vietnam Vets of America, Veterans Administration support groups and hospitals, and others--to document the stories of their membership.  This project would benefit any individual or group seeking to capture, preserve, share, and honor their experiences of sacrifice and courage in defending our nation.

Public Safety Initiative  A project focused on recording the experiences of public safety professionals and first responders--those who risk their lives for our security and safety, such as police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, relief workers, etc.  We are especially interested in working with volunteer fire departments, local police departments, EMT companies, hospitals, The Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other groups, including individuals.  This project would benefit any individual or group seeking to capture, preserve, share, and honor their experiences with the public, as well as to promote their services and educate the community.

Senior Citizens Initiative  A project focused on recording the experiences and wisdom of our senior citizens and elders.  We are especialy interested working with senior-oriented organizations such as retirement communities, senior care facilities and hospitals, community based senior centers, churches, and government agencies that serve senior citizens.  This project would benefit any individual or group seeking to capture, preserve, and share their history and message for future generations.

Family Initiative  A project focused on helping families to document and enrich their archives and genealogies by recording personal oral histories and family stories.  We are especially interested in working with family oriented organizations such as churches, parenting groups, social service agencies, schools, and local/state/national genealogical societies and affinity interest groups.  This project would benefit any individual or group seeking to capture, preserve, and share their history and message for future generations.   

Grassroots Activism Initiative  A project focused on recording the experiences and wisdom of grassroots and social justice activists.  We are especially interested in working with political, labor/unions, social, religious, cultural, educational, and environmental action organizations.  Community activists and college organizations are strongly encouraged to participate.  This project would benefit any individual or organization seeking to capture, preserve, and share their history and message.   

We support the Oral History Association’s Principles for Oral History and Best Practices.

The Social Voice Project's Life Story Archive

Welcome to The Social Voice Project's Life Story Archive. This collection is associated with The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded in 1996 to build an Internet library including texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages in its collections. the Archive also provides specialized services for adaptive reading and information access for the blind and other persons with disabilities.

The purpose of The Internet Archive is to offer permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format.
The Archive's audio and MP3 library contains over two hundred thousand free digital recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by its users. Many of these audios and MP3s are available for free download.

The Social Voice Project's files can be located at The Internet Archive by the links below or keyword search: TSVP


Except where noted in the TSVP Life Story Archive, all material holds a Creative Commons license. TSVP maintains the copyright, but we allow anyone to copy and distribute the work provided that TSVP is given credit for it. Commercial use or modification of any TSVP production is prohibited without prior approval.

Please note: We are currently remastering many of our older files and they will be posted when available.