Historic sound snapshot from our past.
Visually stunning picture records, historic radio transcriptions such as President Roosevelt’s speech to the U.S. Congress following Pearl Harbor, and hundreds of original recordings by Italian tenor Enrico Caruso are among the treasures being inventoried at the new Recorded Sound Archives at Florida Atlantic University Libraries.
These relics of the recording industry are among an estimated 50,000 vintage records that were recently donated to FAU Libraries and used to create its “Vintage 78s Collection.” The records, along with extensive holdings of Jazz recordings and Judaic music, inspired FAU libraries to recently establish the Recorded Sound Archives with more than 150,000 phonograph records and other sound recordings.
“This makes us one of the top 20 libraries in the nation for sound recordings,” said Dr. William Miller, dean of Libraries at FAU. “People know….that we are a library interested in rare and historic recordings.”
Unpacking the recent donation of tens of thousands of recordings from the estate of Cleveland collector Jack Saul has been daunting, but with the help of staff and volunteers, the materials are being digitized and eventually will be available on FAU Libraries’ website.
The Recorded Sound Archives has three major collections:
(1) Vintage 78s Collection: Early disc recordings were dubbed 78s, referring to their playing speed of 78 revolutions per minute, and were produced between 1901 and the mid-1950s. Music, speeches, radio transcriptions and even movie soundtracks were produced on 78 rpm records.
(2) Jazz Collection: The Recorded Sound Archives is creating an inventory of the more than 20,000 jazz recordings donated by Dr. Henry Ivey in 2006 and later transferred to the library from FAU’s Department of Music. Volunteers are currently entering information about the recordings into a database so that musicians and others will be able to easily search for what they want.
(3) Judaica Sound Archives: The Judaica Sound Archives (JSA), created in 2005, established FAU Libraries as an international leader in the collection and digitization of early phonograph recordings. It now boasts a collection of more than 15,000 non-duplicated recordings. Its website offers listeners over 11,000 songs in English, Hebrew and Yiddish.