Tributes & Video Biographies
Sharing Life Stories, Connecting Generations, Preserving Legacies

Studs Terkel – National Storyteller, Gone at 96

Those of us in the personal history business feel a strong calling to help other people tell their stories. I’m not really sure where it comes from but you ask anyone who is doing this type of work and it’s a common theme. We all believe in the power of a story and the need for people to be heard and understood by those around them and those that come after them.

Last week, a legendary storyteller and radio personality, Studs Terkel, passed away at the age of 96. When honored with a National Humanities Award in 1997, President Bill Clinton said no one had done more to expand the American library of voices than Studs Terkel.

Winner of a Pulitzer Prize in 1985 and host of a radio show for 45 years, Terkel is often credited for mapping the American landscape of Everyman; those among us who lived and died unknown and unrecognized yet were the fabric of the 20th century in America.

NPR has a beautiful article online as well as a great audio remembrance. There are also several other significant audio clips from Terkel’s radio shows.

Stefani Twyford is a personal historian and video biographer sharing life stories, connecting generations and preserving legacies. To learn more, visit her web site, find her on Twitter as @stefanitwyford, visit the Legacy Multimedia Facebook Fan Page, or send her an e-mail.

One Response to Studs Terkel – National Storyteller, Gone at 96

  1. Terry Penrod says:

    Like Will Rogers, Studs Terkel was a national treasure that kept America in touch with reality for so many years. Both were heroes in my book.

    Terkel, as you know, was most famous for his radio shows and oral histories, and one of his best IMO was called Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression. Other important titles of his include Working and The Good War, for which he won the Pulizer Prize in 1985.

    He lived through some tumultuous times in American history including the Great Depression, several wars, and was even blacklisted during the notorious McCarthy era.

    He never lost his sense of wit, wisdom and keen observation though. He will be missed.

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