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.
Recently in Archives and Preservation
Friday, February 10, 2012
On January 3, 1934, Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia swore into office Seymour N. Siegel as WNYC's Assistant Program Director. Immediately after Siegel affirmed his commitment to the people of the City of New York, the mayor promptly ordered him to "go across the street and close down the joint." The "joint" was WNYC. One of La Guardia's campaign promises was to close the station and just a few days earlier he had released his cost-cutting program of ten major reforms. Number nine on the list was "abolition of the municipal broadcasting station, WNYC." But after carefully surveying the situation Siegel determined there wasn't anything a little good management and TLC couldn't fix. A panel of experts was convened, a thorough study was done and recommendations were made and implemented. Because of Sy Siegel, WNYC became a political asset for the mayor and a ground-breaking public broadcaster.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Long before language mavens Patricia T. O'Conner or Richard Lederer ever matched puns with Leonard Lopate, WNYC had Frank Horace Vizetelly (1864-1938). Known in his day as the "Dean of Lexicographers," Vizetelly was a major force behind the Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary. The etymologist, however, was not limited to the discussion of words and their origins: on WNYC he covered a wide range of topics. Among his talks were "The Ant and Its Ways," "The Story of the Sneeze," and "The Story of the Garter." Before WNYC he was on WOR, and after WNYC he moved to WJZ and WABC.
Saturday, December 31, 2011
On New Year's Eve, 1944, Mayor F. H. La Guardia devoted the first few minutes of his weekly "Talk to the People" broadcast to bidding a somber farewell to a harsh year of international war, domestic hardship and staggering loss of life. Listen to his short address to New York City citizens, delivered on the last day of a year many Americans were glad to see end.
Friday, December 30, 2011
On December 30, 1924, The New York Times radio listings* for WNYC included a remote broadcast from the Newspaper Club of New York. It was a children's Christmas party for the sons and daughters of newspaper men. The entertainment line-up included Marilyn Miller, the Duncan Sisters, The Singer Midgets, George Haas and his singing canaries, Betty Bronson, Toto, Bob Miller, Gedney and Magee, Winifred Toomey, Rachel Mastrota, Richard B. Gilbert, Sam Wooding's Orchestra and Teddy, the baby elephant. Who were they? Let's find out.
Friday, December 23, 2011
Keeping Fit was a regular series of health and exercise talks by Joe Ruddy on WNYC in 1926.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Americans had plenty to celebrate in December 1945. The Second World War had just ended in September, making this the first peacetime holiday season they had seen in several years. In his regular Sunday "Talk to the People" broadcast on Christmas weekend, Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia recited the Nativity story and told New Yorkers to "resolve to live the spirit of Christmas."
Friday, December 16, 2011
Thornton Fisher (1888-1975) began his broadcasting career in 1923 at AT&T's WEAF in New York as one of radio's earliest sports commentators. He switched to WNYC the following year, not long after the municipal station began broadcasting. The Evening Leader of Corning, New York praised Fisher's Tuesday and Thursday evening program, Sports Analysis, and said, "he is one of the keenest sports writers and cartoonists in the world of journalism. His love for all sports, coupled with his sparkling wit and understanding of every phase of every game, have created an immortal place for him as chronicler of the progress of sports."
Friday, December 09, 2011
On December 9, 1926, the Locust Sisters sang popular tunes in our studio. The Locust Sisters were a singing quartet with a fifth sister, Mathilda, on the piano. Known as the "miracle makers of harmony," they were featured as missionaries in the 1927 Vincent Youmans Broadway musical Hit the Deck. Reviewing the performance in The New York Times, Brook Atkinson wrote, "the thin harmonies of the four Locust Sisters, admirably introduced, are artless and delightful." They also appeared in a five-minute movie short in 1928, the first of their two appearances for MGM Metro Movietone Revue. The sisters also briefly recorded for Columbia Records. Watch and listen to them in their 1930 MGM short at: LOCUST SISTERS.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Seven years after Sputnik 1 was launched into orbit, and just six weeks after the U.S. space probe Ranger 7 sent back the first close range photos of the moon, civic leaders and Nobel Laureates gathered in Flushing Meadow, Queens, on a hot September day in 1964 to dedicate the World's Fair Hall of Sciences as a permanent structure committed to science education and exploration in New York City.
Monday, December 05, 2011
Preservation is moving toward center stage in the audio world, and nowhere is this more patent than at the AES Convention. Marquee names (Chuck Ainlay, Bob Ludwig) are expressing concern over the legacy of their work, and their talks are increasingly well attended by the rank-and-file membership, who increasingly face challenges that require coordinated solutions.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The second installment of the Archives' celebration of Thanksgiving continues today with a 1952 show focusing on cayenne peppers, featuring Mrs. Gannon, WNYC's Mistress of Markets. Tune in to learn all about incorporating this "pepper-upper" into your diets -- and be sure to catch her recipe for cheese croquettes!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Three years before he was elected President of the United States, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy won the Pulitzer Prize in Biography for his book Profiles in Courage, which he co-wrote with his adviser and speechwriter Ted Sorensen. The day the award was announced, May 6, 1957, Senator Kennedy addressed a special Overseas Press Club event honoring the accomplishments of members of the foreign press, which was broadcast over WNYC on May 31, 1957.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Howdy, Homemakers! Welcome to the first in a special holiday series of Annotations featuring a few culinary highlights from the WNYC radio collection. Today the crew at the Department of Markets brings you their program on "food and rationing with a silver lining," featuring the wisdom of Commissioner Daniel P. Wooley and the experience of Frances Foley Gannon, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Services.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
This week's Studio 360, "Making Better People," takes a look at man's preoccupation with improving man. Featuring interviews with Greg Stock, author of Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future, and others, the program considers how we might better nature through engineering. Meanwhile, in the Archives we found a WNYC program exploring the same topic ...almost exactly sixty-two years earlier.
Monday, November 07, 2011
Forty-nine years ago today activist, politician and former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt passed away at the age of 78. An outspoken advocate of civil rights, the Chairman of the President's Commission on the Status of Women and a former delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, Mrs. Roosevelt spent her final years speaking to groups around the country and raising money for various charitable organizations.
Friday, November 04, 2011
Contrary to prevailing belief, the Jewish Daily Forward's first radio program was not on WEVD (a leader in Jewish and Yiddish radio programming in the 1930s and 40s), but on WNYC! The Yiddish newspaper marked the May 21, 1926 broadcast nine days later by printing the photos on the left with the following caption:
"The First Forward Radio Concert --Isa Kremer, the world famous balladiste, who was the featured soloist of the Forward radio hour May 21, from WNYC. (Left) The famous Stringwood Ensemble, which rendered a program of classical music."*