Behind the Music: The Vinyl Frontier – We Are the United Nations

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

As technology continued to improve, so did the music industry. As the wax cylinders were going out of style, vinyl records were becoming the next big thing! Also known as “gramophone records”, they remained popular from the 1950’s to the 1990’s (The Record Collectors Guild, n.d.).

The first company to promote the vinyl industry was RCA in the 1930’s; however, their vinyl were a “… commercial failure” because of “lack of affordable, reliable consumer playback equipment and consumer wariness during the Great Depression” (The Record Collectors Guild, n.d.). By the end of the 1930’s, Columbia Records improved the quality of the vinyl records and led to a creation of various sizes of vinyl records. The most commonly used vinyl records were the 12” and 7”; however, the compact discs, or the CD, took over as the new “ruler” in the 1990’s (The Record Collectors Guild, n.d.).

“We Are the United Nations” was wrote by Richard Rosencranz. Rosencranz, an Evansville native, wrote the song for the University of Evansville, dedicated to the United Nations (Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, Newsbank Database, 1971). He was the secretary of the original Board of Trustees for the University of Evansville in 1919, when the school moved from Moores Hill, and was a member of numerous associations (EVPL Newsbank Database, 1971). Rosencranz passed away on January 25, 1971, at the age of ninety-one (Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, Browning Genealogy Database, n.d.).

If you are curious to know what the song sounds like, click on  “We Are the United Nations” and listen to it. Enjoy!

References

Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library. (n.d.). Browning genealogy database. Retrieved January 27, 2017, from http://browning.evpl.org/

Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library (1971). Newsbank database. Retrieved January 27, 2017, from http://infoweb.newsbank.com/resources/?p=WORLDNEWS&t=product%3AEANX-NB

The Record Collectors Guild. (n.d.). About vinyl records. Retrieved January 27, 2017, from http://www.recordcollectorsguild.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=44&page=1

Behind the Music: Evansville (in Old Indiana)

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

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There are numerous song lyrics with references to well-known cities: Barcelona by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé, Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys, and Viva Las Vegas by Elvis Presley, just to name a few. Some people would not think Evansville would have a song because it is not New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, or another other big city. Just like every good song, there is a back-story to them.

In December 1945, a meeting composing of barbershop quartets began and Colonel R.H. “Dick” Sturges was attending the meeting. He went back to Hotel McCurdy to reserve a room; however, there was not any room available. Sturges stated he was a part of the barbershop quartet group and the management housed him inside their barbershop with a cod to sleep on. Six years later, Sturges wrote the song based on his hospitable experience in Evansville. Later, Mayor Edwin Diekmann proclaimed it the official song of Evansville (Evansville City View Staff, n.d.).

Reference

Evansville City View Staff. (n.d.). Artifacts of the City. Retrieved January 24, 2017, from http://www.evansvilleliving.com/city-view/articles/artifacts-of-the-city

History of the L&N Spittoon

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

This spittoon belonged to the Louisville and Nashville Depot, or commonly known as the L&N in Evansville. Spittoons were used for disposing of chewing and dipping tobacco in public places. The L&N was located on the corner of Ohio Street and Fulton Avenue from 1902 till 1985, across from the Mulzer Crushed Stone Company.

Behind the Music: Edison Phonograph Spools

Over the next several weeks, we will be discussing the various music mediums used throughout history. I’ll be discussing the Edison phonograph wax cylinder.

There were early prototypes of the phonographs around 1857; however, Thomas Edison is credited to inventing the phonograph in 1877 (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, 2010). His phonograph used various materials such as paraffin paper, tin foil, and different types of wax (i.e. – ceresin, beeswax, stearic, and “brown”). On October 8, 1887, the Edison Phonograph Company was created in order to promote his phonograph machine and wax cylinders (“History of the Cylinder Phonograph,” 2017).

For the next decade, Edison lost his rights for the photograph to Jesse H. Lippincott; moreover, Edison created another company, the Edison Factory, created “talking dolls” (“History of the Cylinder Phonograph,” 2017). In 1890, Lippincott became ill and lost his power to his phonograph companies; nonetheless, Edison gained control of his rights to the phonograph, due to bankruptcy, in 1894 (“History of the Cylinder Phonograph,” 2017).  In 1891, mass production began of the wax cylinders and remained popular until 1929, when they abandoned making wax cylinders and produced disc phonographs (“History of the Cylinder Phonograph,” 2017).

References

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (2010, April 20). Phonograph (Instrument). Retrieved January 16, 2017, from https://www.britannica.com/technology/phonograph

History of the Cylinder Phonograph – Inventing Entertainment: The Early Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies. (2017). Retrieved January 16, 2017, from https://www.loc.gov/collections/edison-company-motion-pictures-and-sound-recordings/articles-and-essays/history-of-edison-sound-recordings/history-of-the-cylinder-phonograph/

The Name is Hovey … Alvin Hovey!

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

alvin_hovey

Photograph was taken in 1849.

Born in Mt. Vernon in 1821, his parents died when he was young; however, he studied law and passed the bar in 1843.  He served in the United States Army during the Mexican-American War and American Civil War.  His career grew when Hovey was elected as a delegate for the Constitutional Convention in 1850 for Indiana’s new constitution.  He would go on to be an Indiana Supreme Court Justice (1854-1855), US Ambassador to Peru (1866-1870), US House Representative for Indiana (1887-1889), and Governor of Indiana (1889-1891). He died during his term as governor on November 23, 1891.

Vanderburgh County’s Coroner Log Book

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

This book spans from 1888 to 1894 in Vanderburgh County, Indiana. They list various ways these individuals died: for instance, they died by drowning, hit by a train, and falling into bull saws, just to name a few. The book has handwritten notes and a newspaper clipping, which was based on the coroner’s notes of the autopsy.

Wanna read some findings? To read more , stop by the University Archives on the 3rd floor of Rice Library between Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Somebody’s Watching Me: Prosthetic Eye

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

This prosthetic eye is from Harry Thompson’s collection.  He is a former Indiana State Representative and State Senator, from 1969 to 1976.  It is unknown why Thompson had this prosthetic eye; however, it was from the American Optical Company.

American Optical began in 1826 with William Beecher, who was trying to become an apprenticeship as a jeweler in Rhode Island and returned back to Southbridge, Massachusetts; however, it was not until after Beecher needed to glasses that he realized he could make a better quality and local (“History of AO Eyewear, Inc.,” 2016). American Optical grew tremendously and it set an international office in London, United Kingdom in 1905; however, the Southbridge office had been employed two thousand and brought in one million dollars (“History of AO Eyewear, Inc.,” 2016).

As their name became prominent in the industry, they created the earliest form sunglasses, sunwear, and goggles. For instances, American Optical obtained the rights to the Crookes glasses; moreover, they updated them by studying ultraviolet protection and make their glasses usable for outdoor use (“History of AO Eyewear, Inc.,” 2016). During the 1930’s to 1940’s, American Optical supplied the United States Air Force “… with aviator goggles” and “… prescription-polarized sunglasses” (“History of AO Eyewear, Inc.,” 2016).

American Optical played a major part in the World War efforts. For example, during the First World War, they “… designed and built eight mobile optical units to support U.S. troops and Allied Forces in Europe during WWI”; the same happened during the Second World War (“History of AO Eyewear, Inc.,” 2016). They were developing new products, which supplied ” … the US Government with new products including gun sights, bombsights, AR glass, aviation goggles, sunglasses and precision optics for military and instrument applications” (“History of AO Eyewear, Inc.,” 2016).

American Optical continues to work and remain an icon in the optical industry, as well as Americana. Their product have been seen in cinema, such as Top Gun and Easy Rider, and their Original Pilot Sunglass hold the honor as “… the first ever sunglass to land on the moon worn by Commander Neil Armstrong and the crew of Apollo 11 in 1969” (“History of AO Eyewear, Inc.,” 2016).

The prothesic eye can be viewed with your own two eyes this wonderful piece at the University Archives on the 3rd floor of Rice Library.

Reference:

History of AO Eyewear, Inc. (2016). Retrieved January 9, 2017, from http://aoeyewear.com/history/