The Institute of Oral History was established in 1972 for the purpose of "preserving the history of the region adjacent to the Rio Grande both in the United States and in Mexico." Since that time, the Institute has built one of the largest border-related oral history collections in the United States. While an emphasis has been on the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez region, the collection also contains interviews dealing with the history of communities all along the U.S.-Mexico border. These materials cover a wide range of subjects, spanning social, economic, political, cultural and artistic concerns.
The Institute of Oral History is a partner in the Bracero History Archive which contains oral histories from the Bracero program, a guest worker initiative that spanned the years 1942-1964.