Sounds From the Past

The last “Let’s Talk Library” Blog featured information regarding the Library of Congress’s efforts to archive and preserve one of the most contemporary forms of communication—Tweeting.  Today’s post showcases another program at the Library of Congress to preserve an important form of communication—this one from the past.  It is known as the National Jukebox and it attempts to “make historical recordings available to the public free of charge.  The Jukebox includes recordings from the extraordinary collections of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation (pictured above) and other contributing libraries and archives.”

Here users may listen to the famous contralto Marian Anderson sing “My Lord, What a Mornin’” (1924) or a 1911 recording of Irving Berlin’s “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” performed by Collins and Harlan.  The collection also includes a number of spoken word recordings, including speeches by famous political figures and comedies, monologues, dialogues, and recitations.

Significant historical details of each recording (author, performers, date and place of recording, and label name and number, etc.) have been meticulously preserved.  One of the most interesting features of the site is the ability to view reproductions of the actual label on each recording.  Other features include listings of all of the artists and the recordings by genre as well as featured playlists.  One of my favorites is the selection of titles in the “Civil War Music” playlist.

For assistance with these or other library resources or services, stop by or contact the Rice Library Reference Desk (812/464-1907; 800/246-6173, libref@usi.edu).

P.O.

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