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Recording America's Stories, One at a Time

Its subjects have ranged from births to deaths to first kisses. And now an oral history project is taking to America's highways. The StoryCorps program, begun in a booth in New York's Grand Central Terminal, will travel to record the stories of everyday Americans, using two Airstream trailers as recording studios.

David Isay, the creator of StoryCorps, says the program is modeled after an oral history project conducted in the1930s by the Works Progress Administration, the WPA. The group collected archival recordings of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

While the WPA interviews were conducted by historians, StoryCorps encourages friends and family members to ask the questions. A facilitator is on hand to help things along. Since its beginnings in 2003, participants have explored legacies of war and immigration, family myths and legends.

The mobile StoryCorps booths arrive at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., this week. In late May, they begin their travels across the country.

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Renee Montagne, one of the best-known names in public radio, is a special correspondent and host for NPR News.