Independent Nepa -Written by LeeAnn Searfoss
By day, Ann Smith is a psychotherapist– by night, a personal historian. Through her business, Life Stories Remembered, LLC© she captures and “packages” the personal life stories of people from the area.
Smith brings more than 40 years of professional interview experience to Life Stories Remembered, LLC©. Before starting the business in 2008, Smith interviewed Judge Max Rosenn to archive his personal history. Taking more than 25 one-hour sessions to complete his archive, this first client provided a future for this intimate business.
“It was interesting when his two sons– both prominent in their fields– saw this material and were blown away. They learned so much about their father’s life that they did not know,” she said.
Smith creates audio, video, and transcript copies of interviews for purchase. She believes that, while many people insist they cannot remember much of their family or personal history, they seem to open up and remember more as the conversation continues.
“A videographer, transcriptionist, and professional editor work with me to produce the finished product,” she explained.
Life Stories Remembered, LLC©‘s website not only walks visitors through Smith’s history as an archivist and the history of the company, but also offers audio, video, and written testimonials about the work she and her small team have done for the 16 interviews conducted over the last two years.
According to the website, Dr. Daniel Rosenn, a professor at Harvard Medical School and son of Judge Rosenn, said he “can personally attest to the sensitive, conscientious, and respectful biographical interviews she did with [his] father.”
Drawing from her psychotherapy background, Smith noted that one of the keys to the interview she is archiving is in knowing when to be silent.
“People are usually quiet for two reasons,” Smith explained. “Either they are thinking of what to say next or waiting for the subject to change. I have a sense of when I should intervene or when I should sit back.”
Smith runs her business with an appreciation for the African proverb she often uses when giving presentations to groups. The proverb states that “when an elder dies, a library burns to the ground.”