Skip to main content

Oral History of the University of Southern Maine's School of Social Work / Barry H. Rodrigue Collection

Identifier: MF208

Scope and Contents

A collection of interviews from 2016 and 2017 related to the origin and history of the School of Social Work at the University of Southern Maine (USM). Interviews conducted by Dr. Barry H. Rodrigue and Sandra Wachholz. Materials: 22 cassette tapes, 16 release forms/biographical data forms/audio and video recording logs, 2 binders with institutional history, 41 pp. collection index (digitized).


  • Creation: 2016 and 2017


Conditions Governing Access

For digitized items free from access restrictions, we are working to upload this material (pdfs, mp3s, jpgs) for public access, but it is an ongoing project. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, contact Special Collections (

Conditions Governing Use

Rights assessment remains the responsibility of the researcher. Some release forms missing.


1 box

Language of Materials



Box 1/1:

NA4413 Interview with Penthea Burns. 1 cassette tape, 4 pp. index. Penthea Burns was interviewed by Barry Rodrigue and Sandra Wachholtz, March 7, 2017. She is from Maine and has always had a vision of working with homeless young people. Her mother had experienced poverty and domestic violence in her childhood. She discussed how the program was in 1977, her interview with her later advisor, her internships and her policy class, which gave her real insight into the value of critical thinking and humane values. She talks about fellow students and if they came from the same background, bringing up that there wasn’t a wide variety. Her internship was at the Little Brothers Emergency Shelter, now Opportunity Alliance, they were a group home, foster care program and emergency shelter for boys. BR asks her to compare her experiences of UM and USM, where she states the differences had to do with her own life circumstances. Her boss for Casey Family Service invited her to lunch where she was offered a job at USM, where she worked helping tribes and foster care youths. The tape goes on to discuss Maine Wabanaki Reach and her work involvement.

NA4414 Interview with Dr. Franklin Brooks. 1 cassette tape, 1 pp. brief index; release form, biographical data form, audio and video recording log. Dr. Franklin Brooks interviewed by Sandy Wachholz , January 31, 2017. Dr. Brooks talks his background; about being a gay man; recognizing his need for a PhD while studying with Richard Steinman, a faculty member at USM; Richard Steinman’s courses; his dissertation “Transgender Behavior”; being active in LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) causes; the country’s time of radical social action, social change and social justice; having a private political practice; child welfare; social justice; mental health; Equality Center; Laura Godfrey; parent’s being republican and conservative; Diane Elsie (sp?): OutRight; adults vs children; Friday night LGBT meeting; USM archives; HIV/AID; Supreme Court case criminalizing sodomy; bi-racial marriage.

NA4415 Interview with Vincent Faherty. 3 cassette tapes, 1 pp. index (derived from only side A of tape 1). Vincent Flaherty who is Professor Emeritus and former Director of the USM School of Social Work was interviewed by Barry Rodrigue and Sandra Wachholtz, October 27 and November 10, 2016. BR and SW want to get a sense of early days in the School of Social Work. VF talked about whether he has been a social worker for his whole career or not. Originally wanting to be a priest, he interned at Catholic Charities in NYC, which gave him a taste of various aspects of social work. He discusses how Catholic Charities placed MSWs in parishes where gang activities were found, one found at Flaherty’s school, this was his first experience of social work. He worked for the NYC welfare department which was the start of his social work career.

NA4416 Interview with David Finkelhor. 2 cassette tape, 3 pp. index (derived from only side A of tape 1). David Finkelhor who taught Social Welfare at USM was interviewed by Barry Rodrigue and Sandra Wachholtz, February 23, 2017. David Finklhor shares background about himself and his family which is from Pittsburgh. He attended Harvard with a major in Social Relations, which he later got a summer fellowship for sociological research in Avignon. After being in Paris he returned to Harvard eager to be involved in anti-Vietnam activity. Through the Social Relations program he turned course material into a book called Up Against the American Myth. He was also networking around the country by being a member of Students for a Democratic Society. He talks briefly about her organizing on Beacon Hill. He talks briefly about graduate school and how he dropped out and started working for the Southern Kennebec Valley Community Action Program in Augusta, ME. Later he was hired by USM to teach in the relatively new Social Welfare department. He touches on the department being cohesive and fascinating and began to mention Joe Kreisler who was hired the year after DF and how he also had a strong social conscience, providing help and support to many community agencies who were low-income.

NA4417 Interview with Tara Healy. 1 cassette tape, 3 p. index. Tara Healy, a specialist in gerontological social work, grew up in New Hampshire and lived in Massachusetts for 23 years. She had worked in private practice for 30 years before coming to USM. Though offered a similar position at UNH, she felt USM would be less homophobic. She was the first openly lesbian in the Social Work Department, though Richard Steinman—openly gay and ahead of his time—was already teaching there. USM students are dedicated and engaged, tend to focus on issues close to home.

NA4418 Interview with Anne Heros. 4 pp. index. Anne Heros of Center for Grieving Children was interviewed by Barry Rodrigue and Sandra Wachholtz, December 26, 2016. She was asked about using students at her place of work, where it was mentioned that Bill Hammond began this place. They had to move around for around 10 years, before opening their new quarters in first permanent home, Bill was diagnosed with cancer and died. Now it is open to both children and adults. Center trains volunteers asking a year’s commitment one night a week. Multicultural Program was also started when a 10-year-old Cambodian boy was shot and killed. AH talked to Portland City Council about work of Center in general and Multicultural Program for funding, but they only gave a little money one year. They don’t provide money but do appreciate Center’s work and school staff helps with relationships with families. Had volunteered for 2 years or so and then began working with schools. Two trainings a year were done emphasizing reflective listening, child development, self-awareness on how work impacts you. Discussed trainings in more detail. At first they wanted it to be a membership organization but that was dropped because they didn’t want to add to family stress. She has trained many other groups. 30 training for Intercultural Program is 45 hours. People need an idea of what children have been through.

NA4419 Interview with Jessica Labbe. 1 cassette tape, 2 pp. index. Jessica Labbe, a graduate student in Social Work at USM was interviewed by Sandra Wachholtz, April. JL is from Maine and did her undergraduate at Smith College, studying American Studies, Theatre and Education. Her interest in Social Work began with her unhappiness working a “high octane” IT job in Wisconsin. She began thinking about being a school counselor. However, her family and friends experienced serious health and mental health challenges, so she was moved to level the playing field. SW asks JL to talk about her work in Diversity Center where she initiated a move to make USM housing more gay-friendly. SW asks follow-up questions about the policy change which leads her to remind us this is being recorded in the “Trump era”, when every day is a challenge. JL discusses the workshops on Safe Zone trainings she has been conducting multiple times a semester. It is noted that Maine has always been progressive on LGBTQ issues.

NA4420 Interview with Anne Ladley. 1 cassette tape, 3 pp. index (derived from only side A of tape)Anne Ladley, a former faculty member in Social Work at USM was interviewed by Sandra Wachholtz, January 27, 2017. AL went to the University of Pittsburgh where her interest in social work began. She was involved in the civil rights movement, studying English and Fine Arts. She later worked for Travelers’ Aid and while working with runaway children she noticed only kids in poor parts of the town landed in juvenile courts. She created a job for herself, bringing in volunteers to support children when they needed. She eventually ended up in Maine working with Bath-Brunswick Mental Health. Eventually after not being engaged with her job, a job came up at USM. Still torn between social justice and creative work, she realized USM offered a lot of freedom. AL talks about her involvement in “EEOC” at USM. AL continues to work to help set up free health and dental clinic in town. AL touches on her involvement with “Family Crisis” and how she was surprised at who turned up.

NA4421 Interview with Ana Lazar and others. 2 cassette tape, 3 pp. index (derived from only side A of tape 1). Ana Lazar, a faculty member in Social Work at USM was interviewed by Barry Rodrigue and Sandra Wachholtz, October 20, 2016. AL is originally from Long Island and believes her interest in social work stems from her involvement in anti-Vietnam War activities in college. She went to State University of New York at Buffalo in 1966 and majored in English. She went directly to graduate school for Social Work where she was just concerned with getting a job and didn’t have too much of a clue, so she majored in Group Work because she wanted to bring people together for mutual aid. Her first job was in a mental hospital for children and then after 3 years started work at Florence Crittenden Service which provided places for pregnant girls to have babies, after she came to USM. At USM she was hired as an Instructor to teach Introduction to Social Welfare. AL took over courses on “Women and Social Change” and developed a course on “Introduction to Social Work”. When she picked up the “Women and Social Change” class she was known as a feminist and began to make connections on this basis. This class was an introduction to Women’s studies focusing on topics rather than theories. Group work remained the foundation of her work throughout this.

NA4422 Interview with Barbara Rich. 1 cassette tapes, 2 pp. index; release form, biographical data form, audio and video recording log. Barbara Rich interviewed by Sandra Wachholz and Barry Rodrique, January 05, 2017. Barbara Rich, a social work teacher at USM, talks about teaching a course on substance abuse treatment; attending University Of Maine in Orono, The Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child and Family Development, and USM; graduate school at Columbia; direction of residential treatment agency for young women; her most significant job: working in “the sanctuary,” a place for runaways; students and faculty in social welfare department; mental health; substance abuse; street culture; John Ramashin; riot in Maine State Prison; change in regards of policy; (SIDE B) Department having clinical and policy faculty; work atmosphere/culture in Department; Community Lab Course (their version of Fieldwork); Department goal of policy change and social change; social change by working with individuals; individuals: Jim Tierney, Jim Francoise, and Neighborhood Youth Corps, students at USM, Joe Chrysler (the “heart of the place”); activism of the students in different times; attending Social Work school at Columbia, friends there; attending conferences; retirement: classes, gym, disaster preparation, diving, village movement, Esty; discuss depositing the interview with the Maine Folklife Center.

NA4423 Interview with Leslie Richfield. 2 cassette tape, 3 pp. index (derived from only side A of tape 1). Leslie Richfield, a faculty member in Social Work at USM was interviewed by Barry Rodrigue and Sandra Wachholtz, February 7, 2017. LR is from Ohio and then went to Boston University for both her undergraduate work and an MSW where her social justice concerns were encouraged. She then moved to Maine where she did her field placements, her specialty was casework because she wanted to work with kids. LR was always interested in working with children as her major was Early Childhood Education, but looking back she was always interested in observing people and in social justice. Her path to USM started with her being the first MSW hired to work in the Portland public school system, where they wanted her to supervise non-MSW, she objected. She worked in schools but got pregnant and was “laid off”. Once at home for a while she was hired as a half-time field coordinator in the Social Work Department at USM, later sharing an office with a great mentor. BR has her talk about her impressions of the department and staff when she first arrived where she shares that some people were intimidating with complicated relationships with others, some more powerful than others. RESTRICTED: NO RELEASE.

NA4424 Interview with Penny Collins and Heather Stiltz. 1 cassette tape, 2 pp. index (derived from only side A of tape 1). Barry Rodrigue and Sandra Wachholtz interviewed Penny Collins, a founding partner of Adoption Partners of Maine, and Heather Stultz, the Managing Director of Adoption Partners, January 26, 2017. In 2016 PC worked as an adoption director at the St. Andre Home in Biddeford, where later HS started working. When they learned it was closing down, they both decided this program was important and wanted to begin again. When they got their license, adoption counselor Sue Lobosco called and asked them to handle an adoption for a baby whom they placed with a family they knew through St. Andre. BR points out that there is value of networking and experience in this kind of work. Hospitals often call Sue directly and HS explains that medical providers who knew them from Stepping Stones often called them with referrals. BR is interested in background on Sue, who has been working in adoption for 30 years. She previously did child protective work but now is involved with birth parent counseling. They touch on where they went to school and Sue’s training. BR asked HS if she had personal experience in social work. She mentions an internship at a Romanian orphanage, where she shares her experience with how the kids were tied to cribs, she came home with lice and how it was survival of the fittest. PC says her instinctive affinity for adoption work and drive comes from the experience of motherhood. She also had internships that were eye openers for her.

NA4425 Interview with Elizabeth Szatkowski. 2 cassette tape, 2 pp. index (derived from only side A of tape 1). Social worker Elizabeth Szatkowki at USM was interviewed by Barry Rodrigue and Sandra Wachholtz March 21, 2017 to produce a web-based history of the Social work program. BR has ES explain how she got involved with Social Work, where she talks about her college life, previous work and her experience with Upward Bound. While studying Psychology in college she spent a year at Durham University in England where the class system is more transparent, which helped her understand the inequalities of life in the USA. ES saw first-hand the effects of what seemed to be limited life choices. She sees social work as showing people that they do have power. When ES was applying to graduate schools, her professor noted that her focus of career seemed remarkable because she wanted to use Psychology to make a difference in the world. Once she finished college she did some work which made her realize she didn’t want to teach small children and through Williams she found a job increasing college access for poor West Virginians. ES wanted to do graduate work in something with education, culture and social change, so she went to Penn because the focus of its program was social change and elimination of racism which in the end emphasized the importance of understanding your own experience of privilege/oppression to her.

NA4426 Interview with James Tierney. Cassette tape, 4 pp. index. James “Jim” Tierney, interviewed by Barry Rodrigue, October 31, 2016. Tierney discusses how he got into the field of Social Work and how he went to UCONN. He talks about what he did after Graduate school and how he likes case work. He talks about the changes that led to acceleration as well as if there were fundings available. He talked about the distinction between social welfare and social work. He discusses the differences in more detail and then compares UCONN to Maine and whether there were differences in workers as well. He discusses Joe Kriesler and the use of violence on side B of the tape.

NA4427 Interview with Mark Swan. 1 cassette tape, 2 pp. brief index; release form, biographical data form, audio and video recording log. Mark Swan interviewed by Sandra Wachholz January 30, 2017. Swan executive director of Preble Street (a resource center agency), talks about Joe Chrysler the 1975 founder of Preble Street; social work support; Chrysler’s role as chair of the department; Preble Street getting incorporated in 1985; how it was once called High Street Resource Center; 1993 being a big year when they moved to Preble Street from a church basement; how they help with food, shower, and shelter; the main goal for organization is social work; teen center services; funding; Florence Young.

NA4428 Interview with Florence Young. Cassette tape, 3 pp. index. In the interview with Florence Young she talked about her work with Joe Kreisler along with how clients found her. She talked about her typical work day: services not caught up, students helping, and folks dropping in. She talked about Joe Kreisler and the Salvation Army. She talked about why she wanted to do social work, about professors, about and courses.

NA4430 Deposit material and supporting research.

NA4431 Center for Grieving Children research materials. Background on William Hemmens who established the Center. Interview notes.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received from Barry Rodrigue June 21, 2017.

Guide to Oral History of the University of Southern Maine's School of Social Work/Barry H. Rodrigue Collection
Digital Objects Available
Katrina Wynn
June 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States