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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 889; T-395

Papers of Kristen R. Yount, 1980-2004 (inclusive), 1980-1983 (bulk)


Audiocassettes and transcripts of oral history interviews with female and male coal miners in Colorado and Utah, conducted by Kristen R. Yount, sociologist and environmental policy consultant.


  • 1980-2004
  • Majority of material found within 1980-1983

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research with the following exceptions:

Folders and tapes #2.3-2.4, T-395.35 - T-395.40 are closed until January 1, 2036.

Folders and tapes #3.2, #3.6, T-395.69 - T-395.71, T-395.84 - T-395.85 are closed until January 1, 2038.

Folders and tapes #2.10, #2.15, T-395.48 - T-395.51, T-395.62 - T-395.65 are closed until January 1, 2041.

Folder and tapes #1.5, T-395.20 - T-395.24 are closed until January 1, 2043.

Folders and tapes #1.1-1.2, T-395.4 - T-395.9, T-395.13 - T-395.17 are closed until January 1, 2046.

Folder and tapes #4.8, T-395.116 - T-395.117, T-395.129 - T-395.132 are closed until January 1, 2048.

Tape T-395.187 is closed until January 1, 2050.

Folders and tapes #4.11, #5.2, T-395.137 - T-395.138, T-395.146 - T-395.147 are closed until January 1, 2053.

Folder and tapes #3.4, T-395.77 - T-395.78, T-395.105 - T-395.107 are closed until January 1, 2054.

Folder and tapes #1.6, T-395.25 - T-395.27, are closed until January 1, 2055.

Folders and tapes #2.12-2.13, T-395.54 - T-395.57 are closed until January 1, 2056.

Folder and tapes #2.1, T-395.32 are closed until January 1, 2057.

Folders and tapes #3.8, #4.2, T-395.89 - T-395.91, T-395.112 - T-395.113 are closed until January 1, 2058.

Folders and tapes #2.8, #2.11, T-395.46 - T-395.47, T-395.52 -T-395.53 are closed until January 1, 2061.

Folders and tapes #1.7, 2.2, 4.3, T-395.28 - T-395.30, T-395.33 - T-395.34, T-395.114 - T-395.115 are closed until January 1, 2062.

Folder and tapes #3.7, T-395.87 - T-395.88 are closed until January 1, 2063.

An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Kristen R. Yount is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


2.5 linear feet ((6 file boxes) plus 188 audiotapes)
This collection documents the integration of women workers into three coal mines in Colorado and five coal mines in Utah during the 1970s and early 1980s. This collection includes 188 audiocassettes, 60 transcripts, conference materials, and related articles by Kristen R. Yount. The oral history interviews were conducted by Yount for her doctoral dissertation. Yount's focus was the integration of women into traditionally male jobs, and her research emphasized the multiple challenges faced by the female coal miners, including sexual harassment, gender discrimination, lack of seniority in the coal mining unions, lack of appropriately-sized protective clothing, and hostility from the male miner's wives. Most of the coal miners interviewed had worked with each other at one time; some overlapped at multiple mines.

Between 1980 and 1986, Yount interviewed 44 women and 37 men individually, or with their spouses, held six group discussions, and held short interviews at four national conferences sponsored by the Coal Employment Project. Yount also recorded workshops and group discussions at these conferences. She asked many of the same questions to both male and female miners, and loosely followed an outline for each interview. Questions asked in these interviews included the male miners' perspective on women in the mines; the work ethic of male and female miners; the miners' opinion of the women's liberation movement; the physical strength of women and their inability to do some of the tasks in the mines; accidents and death in mines; menstruation and sanitation problems underground; old superstitions of women being bad luck in mines; how long each miner had worked in the coal mining industry; training received; differences between union and non-union mines; the reactions to bad language and sexual jokes of both male and female miners; the miner's personal lives; reputations of the women who chose to work in the mines; the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; the Coal Employment Project; the American Civil Liberties Union; and racism found among the miners.

Many of the women interviewed discussed the difficulty of obtaining the training needed for most of the positions in the mine, such as roof bolter, pinner operator, engineer, mechanic, beltline fire boss, and mantrip operator. The women also stated that female miners were not generally allowed to work at the face of the mine, where the coal was actually being mined, and were relegated to the general labor positions. Some of the male coal miners Yount interviewed expressed the opinion that any woman who went to work in a coal mine was only there to find a husband, and therefore the men felt free to flirt or sexually harass them. Three of the women Yount interviewed in 1980 were not miners or married to miners. They discussed the community as a whole, as well as their personal lives. Two of these women were members of the Happy Heart Extension Homemakers Club, which offered community activities, fund raisers, and bake sales in town.

This collection also includes documents from the four Coal Employment Project national conferences attended by Yount. The Coal Employment Project was founded in 1977, after a female staff member of the East Tennessee Research Corporation was denied entry to an underground mine during a tour of a mining facility in Campbell County, Tennessee. To investigate whether this violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Coal Employment Project conducted a study to research and document employment practices in the coal mining industry. In 1980, the Coal Employment Project and the Women's Bureau developed a training program to prepare women to enter the coal mining industry.

Of the 80 interviews with individuals, most are represented here by one or more audiocassettes and a typed transcript. One interview contains only a transcript and not an audiocassette. Twenty seven of the interviews were not transcribed, and only audiotapes of these oral histories are available. Yount assured all her interviewees of complete confidentiality. However, many interviewees named other miners included in the project. Where the promised confidentiality has been compromised in this way, tapes and transcripts have been closed. All tapes in this collection are audiocassettes. Yount's original folder headings were maintained. This collection is arranged numerically by interviewee, following Yount's arrangement.


Kristen R. Yount was born in 1949 to Robert and Bertha (Miliosivich) Yount in Oak Creek, Colorado. Yount attended the University of Colorado (B.A. 1973, Ph.D. 1986), where she studied psychology and sociology. During the late 1960s, Yount was married and had a daughter; the marriage ended in divorce.

From 1973 to 1976, Yount was the director of the Boulder Communications Center, which functioned as a center for the homeless, and conducted needs assessments, directed counseling, procured funding, and conducted public relations work.

From 1980 to 1981, Yount taught "Deviance and Sex Role" courses at the University of Colorado. That same year, Yount began research for her dissertation, titled "Women and Men Coal Miners: Coping with Gender Integration Underground," by conducting oral history interviews with male and female coal miners in Colorado and Utah. Yount interviewed 37 male miners, 44 female miners, and held six group discussions, which included spouses, union leaders, and mine safety officials. Yount also conducted interviews at four National Conferences of Women Coal Miners, which were sponsored by the Coal Employment Project and the Coal Mining Women's Support Team.

In 1985, Yount became an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. In 1990, she became director of undergraduate studies in Sociology. In 1992, Yount left the University of Kentucky for Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, where she taught until 2010. From 2001 to 2006, Yount was the Sociology Coordinator for the Sociology, Anthropology, and Philosophy Department. Classes taught by Yount at both universities included "Global Climate Change"; "Sustainable Communities"; "Social Stratification"; "Sociology of Aging"; and "Work, Gender, Inequality."

Yount was also involved in curriculum development, at both the University of Kentucky and Northern Kentucky University, and collaborated in creating core courses for a women's studies minor, a teaching module on world hunger, the development of a Society, Environment, and Technology track, and courses on global climate change.

On September 11, 1993, Yount married Peter Meyer, a professor of urban policy and economics and director of the Center for Environmental Policy and Management at the University of Louisville.

In 2010, Yount retired from Northern Kentucky University, and became Vice President and Director of Research for The E.P. Systems Group, an environmental policy consultant firm, which she owns with her husband Peter Meyer.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2010-M227

The papers of Kristen R. Yount were given to the Schlesinger Library by Kristen R. Yount in December 2010.


Donors: Kristen R. Yount

Accession number: 2010-M227

Processed by: Cat Lea Holbrook

The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library printed materials collection:
  1. Coal Mining Women's Support Team News, Volume 5, Issue 10. April 1983
  2. Coal Mining Women's Support Team News, Volume 5 Issue 11. May 1983
  3. Coal Mining Women's Support Team News, Volume 6, Issue 1. June 1983
The following items have been transferred to the Schlesinger Library books and printed materials collection:
  1. Coal Employment Project Training Manual, edited by Connie L. White, 1980
  2. Sexual Harassment in the Mines: Bringing the Issue to Light by Marat Moore and Connie White, n.d.
  3. Women Miners: Complaints of Sex Discrimination Force Coal Industry to End "Male-only" Tradition, Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, 1986

Processing Information

Processed: January 2017

By: Cat Lea Holbrook
Link to catalog
Yount, Kristen R. Papers of Kristen R. Yount, 1980-2004 (inclusive), 1980-1983 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Class of 1956 Schlesinger Library Fund, the Zetlin Sisters Fund, and the Jane Rainie Opel '50 Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

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