Friday, May 26, 2006

Willa Klug Baum, 1926-2006


The Berkeley Daily Planet website features an obituary today for Willa Klug Baum, who died recently at the age of 79, following back surgery. Baum was an oral historian, author of an important text on methodology, and a founding member of the Oral History Association. In her work as the longtime director of the Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library, UC-Berkeley, she oversaw and supported many projects, including the collection of oral histories related to the disability rights and independent living movement: the Bancroft's invaluable and growing collection on this topic now contains more than a hundred interviews with the leaders and founders of the movement in the 1970s. Said Baum of her own leadership approach, "I give myself credit for knowing a good idea when I heard it and then working to make it happen." The DRILM collection was one incredibly good idea. RIP, Willa Baum.