Save Our Voices 

A Campaign to Preserve Oral Histories on New Media 


Montgomery History has around 75 oral histories that need to be preserved for posterity, and we need your help!


These oral histories are a vital source of historical information and we are seeking your support to help us preserve and share these firsthand accounts. Oral history is still an essential part of our cultural heritage and preserving it is crucial for future generations. Most of the tellers have passed away and their stories are in danger of being lost forever. The recordings are currently on reel-to-reel tapes, cassette tapes, VHS video recordings, and other outdated media formats.


Help us convert these interviews into digital media that can be easily accessed and shared by making a donation today. Your gift will save: 

  • Interviews 1.5-2 hours long
  • 130-150 hours of audio content
  • Recordings from 1969-2003, with many recorded in the 1970s during the Bicentennial 
  • Authentic voices, including accents and regional dialects from around the county
  • Topics include women’s history, agriculture, politics, the school system, and the Black and Latino communities


In addition to protecting these stories, you will also be ensuring their long-term preservation and storage through migration to modern digital formats. By digitizing these recordings, we can ensure that they are accessible to people around the world and can be used for research, education, and cultural enrichment.


The funds raised will go toward hiring trained professionals to digitize, transcribe, and catalogue the recordings, as well as purchasing equipment and software to ensure the highest quality of preservation. Your help in the preservation would provide access to these stories for researchers, scholars, and the general public for generations to come. 


Preserving oral history on new media is a critical task that requires community support. By donating, you will be supporting the preservation of the voices of the past. These stories provide a valuable insight into the lives and experiences of people from different backgrounds, and they deserve to be heard by future generations.


Thank you for your support in this important effort to preserve our collective history. Through the Save Our Voices campaign, you can ensure that these essential stories are not lost forever. If you donate online, make sure to select the Save Our Voices campaign as your donation purpose. 


For more information on this campaign or ways to donate,
please contact Benjamin O’Dell.


Here is what you will be saving


Listen to an excerpt recorded in 1976 from William Wood, one of the many voices in our collection, who shares his remembrance about the first automobiles in Rockville. 

William Wood (1897-1980)

William Edward Wood, a third-generation resident of the Rockville neighborhood of Haiti, was born in 1897, one of ten children of Edward and Cora Wood. He worked at the Government Printing Office in Washington, DC and later at the US Naval Hospital. He was an excellent athlete, playing baseball on the Odd Fellows team and winning a gold medal for track from the 1924 New York Athletic Association. He also loved music and played the bugle for American Legion drum and bugle companies. Wood’s first wife Evelyn died in 1938; he remarried in 1944, and he and Rosie B. Wood settled into a long and productive life at 19 Martin’s Lane, where he lived the rest of his life. Wood organized Rockville’s first annual Memorial Day Parade in 1944. He took a strong and active hand in the parade for the next three decades, serving as its grand marshal until 1972. Mr. Wood also became involved in local civil rights struggles, most notably the desegregation of the Rockville Drive-in Theater in his neighborhood. He was known as the “Mayor of Martin’s Lane,” holding court on his front porch and refusing to allow the City to change the traditional name of the street. He was always available to share his knowledge of Rockville’s past, and his visions for Rockville’s future.


Hear a clip from Nancy Dacek recorded in 2004 as she recollects when she decided to run for public office. 

Nancy Dacek (1934-2015)

Nancy H. Dacek received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wellesley College in Massachusetts and later completed a master’s degree in education at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She settled in the Washington, DC area in 1974 and volunteered with local recreation centers and schools before becoming president of the Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations in the 1980s. She was a 12-year member of the Montgomery County Council (1990-2002) and later served for more than a decade on the Montgomery County Board of Elections. She was married to Raymond Dacek and had five children


Listen to a recording of Jane Wood in 2004 as she remembers growing up attending a Montgomery County school. 

Jane Wood (1947-)

Reverend Jane E. Wood was born in Bethesda, Maryland. She is a fifth-generation resident of Rockville, daughter of William Wood. She attended Rock Terrace Elementary School during segregation and then went to Broome Junior High and Richard Montgomery High School. She has a BS in Social Sciences from the University of Maryland (2006), and an MA from Wesley Theological Seminary (2015). She has held positions at IBM and the federal government, and she has been a United Methodist clergywoman for more than 30 years. She was the first African American to serve as Associate Pastor of St. Paul Lusby United Methodist Church and was the pastor of Jerusalem/Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church of Rockville. She retired in 2019. She has one daughter. 


Hear a story, recorded in 2001, from Charlie Savage as he discusses running a local farm with his son. 

Charlie Savage (1916-2010)

Charlie Savage was born in Poolesville, Maryland. He had a dairy farm in Gaithersburg for 55 years and later continued farming with his son in Mount Airy. He was one of the early founders of the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. He held positions on the board and remained active with the Fair until the end of his life. He was married to Irene B. Thompson Savage for 57 years, and they had six children.