Community Archiving Profile: Helen Horn – The Other Half Speaks: Reminiscences of Coal Town Women

By Burr Beard

This article appeared in the Volume 1, Issue 2 Fall 2019 issue of the Appalachian Curator. Click here to view a PDF of the full issue.

Burr Beard had the pleasure of working with the late Helen Horn on her transcripts and materials from a valiant

Screenshot of Helen Horn from an interview by Burr Beard
Screenshot of Helen Horn from an interview by Burr Beard

effort of her work in the 1980’s to collect oral histories of woman of the Southeast Ohio coal towns, entitled The Other Half Speaks: Reminiscences of the Coal Town Women, 1900-1950 in Athens County, Ohio.

Helen Horn entrusted Beard to organize the typewritten files of these oral histories and granted permission to have the files archived in both the Southeast Ohio History Center and the Robert E. and Jean R. Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections at Ohio University. She signed the Deed of Gift for both archival units in Athens, and Beard saw that the transcripts of the coal town women were archived at both

In 2017, Beard produced a film documentary, The Millfield Mine Disaster 1930, during his master studies in the Ohio University School of Media Arts and Studies. Burr was able to use two of these transcripts of women who where in Millfield the day of the Millfield Mine disaster, on November 5, 1930. He also used a clip from the 1990 WOUB-TV documentary produced by Helen and Roger Good, which she stated had come from 40 hours of oral histories told by 21 local women. Beard’s documentary is available here

A transcription of Horn’s oral history with Myrtle Law is below:

Transcription of an oral history Helen Horn did with Myrtle Law

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