CENTER FOR U.S. WAR
VETERANS' ORAL HISTORIES

Carol Fowler

DIRECTOR

If they are lucky, soldiers come home from war. Memoirs are written by some, but for most, expecting to move on with their lives, the memories, good and bad, linger on in their minds. It was ever thus.  It is those veteran stories that the Veterans Oral History Project at the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey, affiliated with the Library of Congress program, wishes to capture and preserve for the future.

Carol Fowler with veteran and former Governor Brendan Byrne.

The Museum’s Oral History Director is Assistant Curator Carol Fowler. Ms. Fowler was born in Jersey City and is a graduate of the College of Saint Elizabeth. After having a family, she returned to Brookdale Community College to take history courses and ended up doing work as an Associate Producer of a college television show titled Triumphant Spirit Series: America’s WWII Generation Speaks. She then began conducting veteran interviews with History Mentor Paul Zigo and his project, The Center for WWII Studies and Conflict Resolution. and was hired to help establish an oral history program at the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey in 2001.

Over the years since, Ms. Fowler has conducted over 600 interviews with veterans from World War II to the present, has been commended by the Library of Congress and invited to several meetings in Washington, where she was named among the top fourteen oral history interviewers in the country.  Asked about her program, Ms. Fowler has defined it as her “life’s work.” And that it is what she was “always meant to do.” She has no plans to retire.

Carol conducting an interview.

Ms. Fowler also works with local community leaders and programs, including Veterans’ organizations, the Manasquan Elks, who sponsor her annual Veteran Oral History luncheon, Assemblyman Edward Thomson, who provides legislative resolutions personalized to each veteran at the luncheon and the Quilts of Valor award program for veterans.

For further information on access to this collection, or to participate in the program, please visit or contact Carol Fowler at the museum in Sea Girt at 732-974-5966. Interested veterans are asked to complete the Oral History Biographical Questionnaire Form.

July 11, 1865
The Second New Jersey Infantry regiment, the last remaining unit from the First New Jersey Brigade, was mustered out of the Union army.  

July 9, 1892
A five-hundred-pound shell fired from the United States ordnance testing range at Sandy Hook accidentally hit the schooner Henry R. Tilton and sank it.

July 4, 1813
An American subterfuge of hiding an armed party of sailors below decks on a local fishing boat, the Yankee, succeeded in capturing the British schooner Eagle off Sandy Hook.

“The key is to listen.”

– Carol Fowler

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Oral History Testimonials

I was very much impressed with your program and what you are doing for all vets. Carol was very prepared and she is a very easy person to speak with and you can tell she cares.
I was made to feel relaxed and comfortable. The time spent was enjoyable. Carol was very good to keep me relaxed so I could try to remember my time in WWII.
It’s a fantastic way to preserve and come to terms with one’s combat service. I most enjoyed the fact that the interview will help future generations of soldiers and historians.

M-47 tank and crew in the 50th Armored Division's 113th Tank Battalion, NJNG, at the Dover Armory around 1955.

November 30, 1967: Captain Eleanor Grace Alexander, a US army nurse from River Vale, NJ was killed in an aircraft crash near Qui Nhon.

July 2, 1863: At Gettysburg, the Newark boys of New Jersey’s Artillery Battery B, deployed near the Peach Orchard, fired 1,342 rounds, more than any other Union battery in the Civil War fired in a single day.

Atlantic City's Company B of the 1st Separate Battalion participated in rescue operations for survivors of the Morro Castle ship fire in September 1934.

Researchers

Researchers interested in viewing our collections should contact Mr. Joseph Bilby, Assistant Curator, at (732) 974-5966.