Collections & History

Collections overview

The ARS collection of 300,000 items spans sound recording history from its beginnings to the present day. Almost all formats developed to record sound are represented including wax cylinders; shellac, acetate, aluminum and vinyl discs; magnetic wire and tape recordings; and compact discs.


A history

New: Read the Stanford News Service report on the Archive's 50th anniversary.

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Co-operative Activities
As a member of the Associated Audio Archives Committee (AAA) of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC), the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound has worked with other major U.S. sound archives since 1974 to find co-operative solutions to common problems confronting archival sound collections. The Rigler and Deutsch Record Index (RDI), funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ledler Foundation, was the result of such an effort to provide access to more that 600,000 previously uncataloged items in five major archives in the United States. Recently, the AAA consortium has focused its attention on audio preservation concerns.
The Archive works not only on campus but also within California to help safeguard recorded legacies, such as those of Ambassador College and the Djerassi Foundation. Among those who deposit their master recordings on a regular basis are the Carmel Bach Festival and the Monterey Jazz Festival. Other institutions consult Archive staff regarding preservation and conservation issues.
Looking Ahead
The Archive of Recorded Sound's holdings have been developed over the years largely through gifts from generous donors, both individuals and organizations. For example, the family of Hattie Clark Rosenbaum recently established a memorial fund that enables Stanford to acquire classical music sound recordings, books, and other related materials for the Archive. Those interested in contributing to the Archive's mission and helping to enhance its collections and programs are invited to contact Jerry McBride, Head of the Music Library and Archive of Recorded Sound.

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