In the early morning hours of August 24th, 1970, four men detonated a bomb in front of Sterling Hall on the UW-Madison campus. They had targeted the Army Mathematics Research Center, one of several departments housed in Sterling Hall, as an act of protest against the Vietnam War. The bombing resulted in the death of a physics postdoctoral researcher, injury to five others, millions of dollars of damage to Sterling Hall and surrounding buildings, and the loss of years of professors' and students' research. In many ways, this act represented the culmination of years of student protest activity on the UW-Madison campus. It caused profound and lasting effects both on campus and in the wider Madison community.
During the week of August 23, the UW—Madison Oral History Program and Wisconsin Story Project co-sponsored the Project’s Story Booth inside UW—Madison’s Memorial Library. We installed the booth to attempt to gather stories about the Sterling Hall Bombing, as well as its place in the larger Vietnam Era U.S. homefront history. Over the week, we averaged basically a story and half per hour, meaning we finished with over 95 stories deposited into the booth!
Even though the booth has been out of Memorial for over a week now, there are still ways for folks to leave their Sterling Hall Bombing Stories with us. If they want to tell their stories, they can call this number 608-890-1899 and leave their story as a message on voice mail (after 4:30 pm or before 8:30 am [CDT] will get them right to the voice mail). They would need to leave their name, number, and mailing address, so I can send them a release form.
Or, if they would rather write out their stories, they can email it to email@example.com or send it to UW—Madison Archives, 430 Steenbock Library, 550 Babcock Dr, Madison, WI 53706.
Last, we finished our mini-movie and podcast on the Sterling Hall Bombing and have posted the movie to YouTube and the podcast to the website. Visit our webpage at http://archives.library.wisc.edu/oral-history/campusvoices.html and click on the Sterling Hall bombing link.