Studs Terkel and Radio Diaries

photo-mainIn the early 1970’s, Studs went around the country, tape recorder in hand, interviewing people about their jobs. Studs collected more than 130 interviews, and the result was a book called  Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, published 40 years ago. The book became a bestseller– something unprecedented for an oral history collection. Furthermore, it cemented Studs’s place as someone who did more than just interview the greats, but really investigated what it meant to be alive in the hear and now.

After the book came out, the cassettes were packed away in boxes and stored in Studs’ home office. This year, Project& and Radio Diaries have been given access to all the original raw field interviews, most of which have never before been heard publicly. You may have heard the piece they produced on NPR’s All Things Considered (4:20pm or 5:20pm), where they aired one of the lost interviews that never made it into the book: Helen Moog, a taxi driver who happened to drive Studs to the Youngstown, OH airport. But there will be more excerpts from the Working tapes coming soon on the  Radio Diaries Podcast as well.

The radio piece is the pilot for an exciting national initiative from Project&, “Working in America,” that includes a large scale traveling photo exhibit with Pulitzer Prize-Winning photographer Lynsey Addario, contemporary interviews with Working subjects and others, and a week-long NPR series that Project& will be co-producing. Over the coming year, they will be digging through much more of the interviews that didnt make it into the book. In the mean time you can hear Radio Diaries piece on working here: