NEW PRIZE in UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH: Carmel and Howard Friesen Prize in Oral History Research — Call for Submissions

The Oral History Center of The Bancroft Library is proud to announce a new prize to be awarded to a UC Berkeley undergraduate student in Spring 2017: The Carmel and Howard Friesen Prize in Oral History Research. The Friesen Prize comes with a $500 award.

The Friesen Prize will be awarded to the Berkeley undergraduate student who submits the best essay that draws upon Oral History Center interviews. The selection committee will evaluate the submission based on these three criteria:

  • How well oral histories are integrated within and essential to the overall essay
  • How creatively oral histories are used in the essay
  • And the overall quality and persuasiveness of the essay

 The Oral History Center of The Bancroft Library was established in 1954 and since that time roughly 4000 interviews have been completed, transcribed, and made available to researchers. Nearly all interviews are available to everyone in transcript form at the Center’s website.

Oral histories have been conducted across a wide range of thematic areas including: arts and literature, science and medicine, social movements and community history, business and labor, politics and government, law and jurisprudence, food and agriculture, and the history of the University of California. Major projects featuring multiple interviews include: the Berkeley Free Speech Movement; the marriage equality movement; Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front; venture capital; Kaiser Permanente and health care; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; mining and the environment; the law clerks of Chief Justice Earl Warren; the Sierra Club; the disability rights and independent living movement; and the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II, to name just a handful.  

The Prize is named for Carmel and Howard Friesen. Carmel and Howard were married for 64 years when Carmel passed away in 2015. Both Friesens attended Berkeley and have supported Berkeley for decades. In 2015, the Friesens granted to the Oral History Center a generous endowment that supports this prize in addition to interviews conducted by the center.

To be eligible to win, applicants must:

Be Berkeley undergraduates at any class level (lower- or upper-division) and in any discipline (arts, humanities, social sciences, sciences, and engineering) and have completed their research project for a credit course at UCB taken in Spring 2016, Summer 2016, Fall 2016, or Spring 2017.

Submissions are due by April 1, 2017, delivered via email to

For additional information, including restrictions for those already receiving financial aid, applicants are encouraged to visit the Friesen Prize website


The Oral History Center (OHC), a research division of The Bancroft Library, documents the history of California, the nation, and the interconnected global arena. OHC produces carefully researched, audio/video-recorded and transcribed oral histories and interpretative historical materials for the widest possible use. OHC was formerly known as the Regional Oral History Office.