Browse Topics



For immediate release
October 18, 2005
Chad Campbell, NPR: | 202.513.2304

Legendary Oral Historian, Author and Radio Personality Studs Terkel Offers Personal Essay on This I Believe on NPR’s Morning Edition, October 24

WASHINGTON – Studs Terkel, considered America's foremost oral historian, has written and will read a personal essay about his core values as part of This I Believe, the NPR® weekly series – that is a contemporary version of Edward R. Murrow’s landmark 1950s project on the October 24 edition of Morning Edition®.

Terkel’s essay is grounded in his experience with the Great Depression; he believes that people working together can always accomplish more than any individual. In encouraging people to join groups, he notes, "The individual discovers his strength as an individual because he has along the way discovered others share his feelings, he is not alone; and thus a community is formed."

Born in New York in 1912, Terkel was trained as a lawyer but worked for 45 years at various Chicago radio stations as an actor, writer, sportscaster, deejay and interviewer. Terkel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of numerous books about 20th Century American history.

Terkel joins an impressive list of well-known essayists who have contributed to the series since it made its premiere April 4; they include former Secretary of State Colin Powell; Senator John McCain; Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates; activists Andrew Sullivan and Gloria Steinem; authors John Updike, Isabel Allende, Rick Moody and Azar Nafisi; psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison and scientist Brian Greene.

This I Believe also features the work of NPR listeners and, after only six months, the series has generated more than 6600 listener submissions. The hopeful contributors range from professional writers and writing instructors to parole board officials, homemakers and attorneys. Their essays have been revelations about parents, personal struggles and the impact of race on their characters. And they have been serious and, at times, poignant, as well as unabashedly funny.

This I Believe has sparked communal essay-writing sessions in schools, universities, community groups and houses of worship and at life-changing events such as birthdays and funerals. Blogs have been created to share ideas, columnists have been motivated to write their own This I Believe pieces for their newspapers, and one school teacher even penned a This I Believe about using the series in her classroom.

To date, This I Believe essays have ranked among the top e-mailed stories on To listen or to read past essays please visit

NPR is renowned for journalistic excellence and standard-setting news and entertainment programming. A privately supported, non-profit, membership organization, NPR serves a growing audience of 26 million Americans each week in partnership with more than 780 public radio stations. International partners in cable, satellite and short-wave services make NPR programming accessible anywhere in the world. With original online content and audio streaming, offers hourly newscasts, special features and eight years of archived audio and information.

This I Believe is a collaboration between NPR and This I Believe, Inc., Dan Gediman and Jay Allison, producers.