Directed by archivist Andy Lanset, the department provides a central repository for thousands of audio recordings, photographs, memorabilia, reports, news items, program guides, institutional records, and promotional materials.
Among its holdings are more than 50,000 recordings in a variety of formats, from early lacquer and acetate discs, to reel-to-reel tapes, to digital audio tapes and compact discs.
In 1949, the State of New York's Board of Water Supply was in the middle of constructing the Delaware Aqueduct as a means of augmenting New York City's water supply. During this time, residents and officials were deeply concerned with how all of the city's water was used -- or wasted.
Following the landfall of Hurricane Irene this past weekend, flood waters overtook the WNYC AM transmitter site in Kearny, NJ, causing the station to stop over-the-air broadcasting. WNYC has owned several other transmitters in its history -- indeed, the AM tower used to be in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, in the location that will soon become WNYC Transmitter Park. This AM transmitter was dedicated in a ceremony on October 31, 1937.
In this 1965 Overseas Press Club Luncheon, Hallie Burnett, novelist and publisher, describes her experience in Berlin in August, 1961. On assignment for Reader’s Digest, Burnett was charged with reporting on the conditions of the East German refugees, who were “coming over at that time at about 2,000 a night.” Amidst a quiet week, she describes the night of August 13 when the foundations for the Berlin wall were laid. She describes standing among Berliners at the Brandenburg Gate, who were so shocked they had not yet found their voices to protest.
The largest court in the United States Tennis Association's complex in Flushing Meadows, where the US Open has taken place since 1977, is named after Arthur Ashe, one of tennis's great ambassadors. Today we give you a chance to listen to the late Ashe, in a 1987 installment of WNYC's broadcast of Voices at the New York Public Library, where he spoke about his upcoming book on racism in sports.
The Museum of Modern Art's 1951 exhibition of paintings, sculptures, and drawings by French artist Henri Matisse nearly didn't happen. In this recording, broadcast over WNYC on the evening of November 15, 1951 (and with the artist's son in the audience), museum officials discussed the trouble the museum had in receiving the artworks and the importance of the materials presented.
It's always exciting when we turn up an important long lost recording. In this case, the unlabeled flip side of one of Mayor La Guardia's talks had half-a-show that's not been heard for 67 years. Hailing from February 14th, 1944, we hear two friends get together to share some music with each other and WNYC's listeners. And what better venue than the station's annual American Music Festival, eleven days of studio performances and concerts around the city dedicated to home-grown music and talent? Talent indeed. Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Leadbelly, a renowned folksinger and bluesman, performed with pioneering folklorist Alan Lomax.
The publication of the Pentagon Papers by the New York Times in 1971 caused more than a commotion --it precipitated the first of the "credibility gaps" between the US government and the American public. Listen to a interview with Sidney Zion, shortly after he broke the story on Daniel Ellsberg supplying the documents to the paper.
Before achieving national acclaim for her exposé of the chemical industry, Silent Spring (1962), marine biologist and nature conservationist Rachel Carson wrote prolifically about the world of the ocean. Her sea trilogy, Under the Sea Wind (1941), The Sea Around Us (1951), and The Edge of the Sea (1955), quickly made her a New York Times bestselling author and a literary star.
Tyne Daly appears in the Leonard Lopate Show this week to speak about her portrayal of legendary diva Maria Callas in Terrence McNally's Tony award-winning “Master Class.” Listen to this George Jellinek tribute to Callas in the WQXR show The Vocal Scene, aired just six days after the death of the great singer.
Philip Levine is set to become the nation's Poet Laureate this Fall, but he already was WNYC's Poet in Residence back in 2003. Listen to Levine read William Matthews' "Mingus at the Half Note," and how the poem relates personally to him.
The author Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) worked with WNYC producer Marty Goldensohn on a 1998 series known as Reports on the Afterlife. A year earlier, Vonnegut explained these reports would come as a result of "controlled near-death experiences."
It's summertime in New York, which means theater lovers all over the city have been scrambling to get tickets to the Public Theater's near-daily Shakespeare in the Park performances. Today we celebrate the tradition with two archival recordings from the WNYC/Municipal Archives collection featuring Joseph Papp, founder of the Public Theater (and, later, Joe's Pub).