Oral history has grown in academic value from its early developments as a form of ‘democratic’ history. Groups which found it most beneficial were those that found it gave them a ‘voice’ and offered a form of empowerment, such as women’s groups, ethnic minorities, gay and lesbian groups, and local and family historians. For example, the Gay Men’s Oral History Group, in collaboration with the Hall-Carpenter Archives,1 published Walking after Midnight: Gay Men’s Life Stories (Hall-Carpenter/Gay Men’s Oral History 1989). The introduction states:

Oral history, which is found in memory and not in documents, can uncover much which is hidden, neglected or dismissed by the traditional focus of history. By recording the personal and political events which have shaped the lives of people whose experiences are not normally recorded by official history, we become the active participants

of our own history and have more control over its interpretation. A richer more intimate picture of the past can be revealed, not only for ourselves, but to share with others.