Hello, I’m Michael Galagaran, Technical Services Librarian at the Mill Valley Public Library and Tam High alum. I was given an award for perfect attendance my senior year. Even though my name was misspelled, I still cherish it to this day. But this is just one of many Tam High stories. Oral histories, a branch of storytelling, invite individuals to share their stories in their own words, with their own voices, through their own understanding of what happened and why. They shed light on the past, inform the present, and inspire the future.
The Mill Valley Oral History Program collects, preserves, and shares the voices and stories of local residents. In addition to sharing these personal stories, our collection shows how the landscape and culture of the City has changed since Mill Valley’s incorporation in 1900. For over 50 years the History Room has collaborated with the Mill Valley Historical Society to capture and share over 175 such stories but we are conscious of the gaps in our collection; whose stories have been told and whose have not.
Since May 2020 Historical Society Review editor Abby Wasserman has conducted oral history interviews with over 25 Tam High alumni on the topic of race relations at the high school. Through these interviews, with individuals ranging in age from 14-100, we learn about what has changed and what has stayed the same in Mill Valley. Moreover, these personal stories help us understand how these former students navigated the experiences of attending Tam and growing up in Mill Valley when they didn’t look like everyone else. This insightful and powerful collection will be made available online in the near future on the History Room web page.
Another Tam-related project is the recent digitization of Tamalpais News, the student-run paper that has been published since 1919. Over the years there have been changes in format and occasional name variations but the paper has always been a labor of love made by and for Tam students. Over the last five years the History Room has been working hard to digitize our collection of these newspapers and last month we announced that every issue was available online at the California Digital Newspaper Collection. All the papers are fully searchable and trust me when I say there are some real gems. Have fun exploring!