Digitized interviews with the Navajo Code Talkers

20 10 2015
Navajo Code Talker interview tapes and other materials prior to digitization

Navajo Code Talker interview tapes and other materials prior to digitization

In 1973, Doris A. Paul released a book called The Navajo Code Talkers, about a group of men from the Navajo tribe who used their native dialect to transmit secret messages that could not be decoded by Japanese troops during World War II. Two years earlier, she and her husband (armed with a tape recorder), recorded interviews with many individuals involved with the transmission of these secret codes.

In 1995, Paul donated the tapes (along with some transcripts) to the Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections (her husband had been a lecturer at Michigan State). Twenty years later, these tapes have been digitized for posterity.

Screen shot of the digitization process

Screen shot of the digitization process

Thirteen cassettes were in the collection; twelve of the 1971 interviews, and one from a banquet in 1975 honoring the Navajo Code Talkers for their efforts during the war. The original cassettes are once again stored away, and the digital audio files will allow listeners to learn about the efforts of the Navajo Code Talkers, in their own voices.

Written by Matthew Wilcox

Interested in hearing the interviews? Contact the MSU Archives to make an appointment to listen to the newly digitized recordings. 

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