Oral History Project

Livingston Library/Grand Lodge of New York Covid-19 Oral History Project

The Livingston Masonic Library  COVID-19 Oral History Project is a project whose goal is to collect the stories, materials, culture, and ephemera relating to the historical events. This project aspires to collect the stories of our patrons and how their lives have been impacted by the recent pandemic. We also hope to glean how the pandemic has affected lodge meetings, Freemasonry, and the work lodges and their members are doing to support their communities.

Due to the current restrictions placed on face-to-face interaction the oral histories will be collected through the use of teleconferencing,  telephone, audio recordings, video recordings, and word processors.  These recordings will help to illuminate the forms of social interaction that take place during a pandemic in the 21st century.

Questions about the project

If you have any questions contact our librarian at, Jpatzner@nymasoniclibrary.org.  

Length of Response:

Write a brief response between 250 to 500 words or if you choose to record your thoughts, a 30 second to 3 minutes of audio/video recording.

Please remember that any answers you give will be included in a publicly accessible database, so please do not share any information that you would not like to be publicly available.

Questions to guide your response

The questions below are prompts to help frame your response. You can also add your own questions.  Questions do not need to be answered in order of their listing.

You may want to have a family member ask you the questions so that they may ask you follow up questions to generate complete responses.  If you are recording yourself be sure to provide as complete a response as you can.

Background Questions

  • What are the date and time?
  • What is your name, and what are the primary things you do on a day-to-day basis (for example, your job, your extracurricular activities, etc.)?
  • Which lodge are you a member of? Are you an officer in your lodge or in the Grand Lodge?
  • Where do you live, and what is it like to live there?
  • When you first learned about COVID-19, what were your thoughts about it? How have your thoughts changed since then?

Community and Lodge

  • How has the COVID-19 outbreak affected your community (Communities include clubs, church, job, etc. You are welcome to speak about all of these communities)?
  • How has your lodge changed its practices?
  • How are you staying connected with your lodge brothers?
  • How have your friends and loved ones been affected?
  • Is there anything you miss during this time?


  • How has the COVID-19 outbreak affected the way you communicate with friends and family?
  • Have you faced any major challenges during the COVID-19 outbreak?
  • Is there anything you will miss when stay-at-home orders lift?
  • What are the moments you won’t forget?

Thinking About The Future

  • Have you picked up or renewed any hobbies during the past few weeks? Will you maintain theses after the pandemic?
  • How will this event impact our lives in the future?

How to Record your Oral History

Writing your response

Using a word processor (Google Docs or Microsoft Word) write about your experience like you are writing a letter or an essay with a narrative.

Recording audio:

Apple iOS

You should use the built-in Voice Memos app to record your response on your iPhone or iPad.


Although there is no default voice memo app you can use free apps like Voice Record Pro.

Once you’ve recorded your oral history connect your phone to your computer and upload the file to your computer.  The links will show how to download 

How to Record on a Computer



Similar to iPhones you can use the built-in voice recording app,  Voice Memos or Garageband

Video: Zoom


Windows machines use the built-in program, Voice Recorder.


If you wanted to record a video of your oral history, you could create a recording using Zoom.

How to Record on an Audio Recorder

If you have your own voice recorder you can record using this device and you will need to transfer the file to your computer before uploading/emailing your response for the Oral History project.  Check your user manual for how to properly record and transfer files.

Contribution Guidelines

  • Please only submit text, photographic, audio, or video material that you own or have created.
  • The staff of The Livingston Masonic Library reserves the right to remove any content deemed inappropriate or outside of the scope of this project.
  • By submitting materials to this project you grant the Livingston Library a shared, royalty-free license to preserve, modify, and share your oral history recordings for public research, education, exhibits, or publications (in print or online).

Submitting your Oral History

Once you’ve written or recorded your oral history, you need to upload it to The LML COVID-19 Oral History Project. Please fill out the form below and then click the “Submit My Oral History” link below, which will take you to WeTransfer allowing you to submit your oral history to the database. (Note: Files should be mailed to Info@nymasoniclibrary.org from WeTransfer)

Oral History Participant Data Form

Submit My Oral History