Barbara Glaessner Novak           

PhD University of Chicago

A little about me

After more than a decade of interviewing people for academic and social policy research, I became more interested in collecting the oral histories of interviewees than in social science research.  In 1999 I interviewed my father to collect his stories as a gift for his eightieth birthday. That experience reinforced my belief that oral histories should be recorded and preserved, both for people who lived them and for their loved ones.  I realized my education and experience serve an unmet need in our culture and I launched NARRATIVE PORTRAITS. Since then I have worked with dozens of clients from many walks of life, helping them to share their stories.


Why hire me?

As an oral historian, I bring several elements to the process that enhance the results:

  • I am dedicated to helping people tell their stories in a timely fashion.
  • I will produce a high-quality product using technology that will last for generations.
  • I know when to ask a question and when to listen.
  • I help focus the interview so we cover the aspects desired.
  • Because I do not figure into the client’s life history, I won’t cut the process short due to prior knowledge or preconceptions.


University of Chicago,
Human Development, PhD
Kenyon College,
History, BA