The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives'
record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program
staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted
by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Moss was interviewed for the Smithsonian Institution Archives Oral History Collection because of his service as director of Smithsonian Institution Archives.
This collection consists of an audiotaped interview of Moss by University of Maryland student Keith Winsell conducted in 1986, and a 1993 videotaped interview of Moss
by Marc Pachter, Acting Assistant Secretary for External Affairs, that covers his early life and education; naval career; graduate studies; work at the National Security Agency;
career at the Kennedy Library and the Smithsonian Institution Archives, including interest in history at the Smithsonian, the space problem at the Archives, formation of CIED,
and future directions for the Institution; oral history and archival practices; and interest in China and Chinese archives. The collection consists of 1.0 hour of audiotape
recording, which has been remastered digitally into 2 .wav files and 2 .mp3 files, and 2.0 hours of videotape recording. No transcript is available.
This interview may not be cited, quoted, or reproduced without the permission of the heirs or assigns of William W. Moss.
William W. Moss III (1935-2007) received his B.A. from Haverford College in 1957. Moss began his federal service in the United States Navy in 1958. During nearly five
years of active duty, he spent a year studying Chinese at the Army Language School in Monterey, California. From 1963 to 1964, he undertook graduate work in Chinese and public
law and government at Columbia University, and was awarded the M.A. in 1965. He worked as an Intelligence Research Analyst in foreign language at the National Security Agency
from 1964 through 1969. In 1969, he left to accept a position at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts, as an Oral History Interviewer, and in 1970, became
Chief of the Oral History Program. Moss became Senior Archivist for national security and foreign affairs materials at the Library in 1972 and Chief Archivist in 1975. In
1983, Moss came to the Smithsonian as Archivist of the Institution and Director of the Smithsonian Institution Archives. During his ten years at the Archives, he participated
in the establishment of the Council of Information and Education Directors (CIED) and served as its head for two years. He also presided over the formation of the Smithsonian
Institution Archives and Special Collections Council and served as chairman for three years. Moss retired in 1993 to accept a position teaching in the International Programs
Office at the Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, China, and was named the first Archivist Emeritus.