Mary Stewart

Photograph of Mary Stewart stood in front of the King's Library
Lead Curator, Oral History, and Director of National Life Stories
Oral History
Related Offices
Trustee of the Oral History Society

As Lead Curator of Oral History and Director of the oral history fieldwork charity National Life Stories, I work across a diverse range of projects at the British Library and liaise with external partners depositing their interviews into the Library collections. I am also a Trustee of the Oral History Society, a member of both the Oral History Society Archives Sub-committee and the British Library/Oral History Society Training Liaison Group.

My research interests include family histories and narratives and their use as a tool for academic research and oral history and its reception by family members of interviewees. I have also been exploring the 'biography' of the oral history archive: contextualising collections, capturing information about the research process and exploring ethical debates about the re-use of archived oral history material. My previous research includes the history of Scottish settlement in New Zealand in the 19th century.


  • 'Exploring encounters between families, their histories and archived oral histories’ with Cynthia Brown in Archives and Records vol. 38 , iss. 2, 2017
  • Exploring family reactions to life story recordings,’ in Oral History, vol 41 no.1 2013, pp. 51-62
  • ‘Historia Oral ¿un acto político? Rob Perks en Conversación con Mary Stewart’, Mary Stewart and Rob Perks, translated by Alexia Massholder in Revista Testimonios: Revista digital de la Asociación de Historia Oral de la República Argentina, 2011 Año 2, No. 2 pp. 349-370
  • 'Unveiling the Biography of the oral history archive', presented at Oral History and the Sense of Legacy one-day conference, run by the Centre for Public History, Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, India, July 2011 and also at 16th International Oral History Association Conference, Prague, 2010
  • 'Interviewees, their families and the archive', and, with Monise Durrani, 'A Broadcaster’s Perspective Life Stories on the Radio,' in National Life Stories Review 2008-2009
  • 'Expanding the archive: the role of family history in exploring the connections within a settler’s world', in Hilda Kean and Paul Ashton, eds., People and Their Pasts: Public History Today (Palgrave Macmillan, hardback 2008, paperback 2013)
  • 'Going digital: digital capture and online access', in National Life Stories Review 2006-2007
  • 'Calvinism, migration and settler culture: the case of William McCaw', in John Stenhouse and Antony Woods, eds., Christianity, Modernity and Culture: New Perspectives on New Zealand History (ATF Press, Australia, 2005)

Collection guides

Oral history

One of the largest collections of oral history and life story interviews in the world