Seventy-six important recording collections are now available for use by researchers, students, and the visiting public at Stanford’s Archive of Recorded Sound. The archive has completed its processing of collections under the sponsorship of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a division of the National Archives.
The new collections include a wide range of recorded sound from the beginning of sound recording to the present. Among the highlights is the Blanche Thebom Collection documenting the operatic career of the Wagnerian mezzo-soprano whose international career included the role of Baba the Turk in the première of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. The archive also holds recordings of the “Standard Hour” broadcasts of live symphonic programs in the 1940s and 50s, featuring major orchestras and soloists. Conductor Gerhard Samuel’s collection includes important rare recordings of contemporary music and his correspondence with leading composers, such as Aaron Copland, Darius Milhaud, and Igor Stravinsky. The jazz collections include a decade of radio programs covering all styles of jazz by music historian and founding editor of the Record Changer Magazine, Richard Hadlock. The collection of traditional jazz cornetist Jim Cullum is an unparalleled resource for the first two decades of live recordings of his band.
The new collections also include historically significant spoken word recordings. Among the more notable is the “Project South” recordings of eight Stanford students who interviewed civil rights workers in the South at the height of the civil rights movement in 1965. The “Stanford Program for Recordings in Sound” contains literary and poetry readings by world-famous authors from the mid-1970s, including Saul Bellow, Robert Bly, Edgar Bowers, John Cheever, Robert Creeley, Robert Pinsky, Adrienne Rich, William Stafford, Yvor Winters, and others. The Roy Pryor Collection captures radio programs from the mid-1930s to 1940s, many of which document the beginning of World War II in startling ways. The Womens’ International League for Peace and Freedom oral history project contains interviews with California women who devoted their lives to further peace in the world.
The Archive of Recorded Sound was founded in 1958 to acquire, preserve, and provide access to historical sound recordings in all formats, to document historical events and culture, and to support research and teaching at Stanford University and by the scholarly community. It contains over 350,000 recordings. Finding aids for all of the available collections are on the Online Archive of California: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/. For more information and to use the collections, contact the Stanford University Archive of Recorded Sound (firstname.lastname@example.org; (650)-723-9312; https://lib.stanford.edu/ars).