The Dole Institute Oral History Project, which spans the years 2002-2009, contains audio, video, and transcribed oral history interviews with a variety of people who knew and worked with Senator Dole in various capacities, including friends, staffers, colleagues, journalists, members of Congress, and others. The project was completed in two separate phases, each with distinct characteristics and goals. Combined, they document the accomplishments and legacy of one of America's most respected leaders and statesmen, Senator Robert J. Dole.
The first phase was conducted from 2002-2004. It was primarily conceived of and implemented by then-Dole Institute Director Richard Norton Smith and long-time Dole staffer Lahoma Yates, who conducted the majority of the interviews. Interviewees include Kansas-based legislators, Dole volunteers, campaign workers, opposition candidates, and others who worked directly with Dole during his years in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate. The primary goal of this phase was to document personal memories, recollections, insights and stories in order to document what Bob Dole was like as a person, how he evolved over the years, and to convey a sense of American history and politics as experienced by Dole.
The second phase was conducted from 2007-2009. It was conceived of and planned by Dole Institute Director Bill Lacy, in collaboration with Dole Institute Senior Archivist Jean Bischoff. Interviews were conducted by Principal Historian Richard Norton Smith and Project Manager and Historian Brien R. Williams. Interviewees include Senator Dole, Senate and House colleagues, key staffers and aides, high-ranking campaign personnel, and others who worked with Senator Dole and had witnessed firsthand his leadership skills in the Senate. The primary goal of this phase was to document his leadership style, with an emphasis on issues and legislation during the Senate years (1968-1996). It was during this time that Senator Dole's impact was critical and had the greatest effect on the national political landscape.
Interviews for both phases were recorded on a variety of media, including compact cassette, micro cassette, MiniDV, DVCam, and BetaCamSP. Transcripts and indexing were done by third party vendors and are available for most interviews. A few of the first phase original media are missing. Digital copies are available for many interviews; availability is noted in the finding aid.