Streams

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.

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Recently in Archives and Preservation

A Report to Listeners

Monday, May 12, 2014

When WQXR was a commercial station sponsorship was a selective affair.

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A Very Weird Song About Adolf Hitler

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Decades before Mel Brooks made it okay to sing about Hitler, an obscure singer recorded this defiant song about the Fuhrer. Just a two weeks later, in September 1940, the Germans bombarded London.

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Boys in the Bach Room

Monday, May 05, 2014

From the June, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:

Editorial Note: You know that various organizations are doing a great deal to bring music to the boys in the armed forces. But here is what one anonymous private is doing for himself. We at WQXR were amused and pleased when we read it and thought you would enjoy it, too. So through the courtesy of Common Sense magazine in which publication's May issue it appeared, we bring you this down-to-earth appreciation of good music.

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Listen to Rare, Beautiful Music from the Robeson Archives

Monday, April 28, 2014

WNYC

Paul Robeson Jr. (November 2, 1927 - April 26, 2014) spent much of his life preserving his father's legacy, and in 1976, he came to the WNYC studios to share rare recordings spanning the performer's influential life and singing career.

Robeson and Folk and Baroque host Dave Sear begin with some of ...

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Remembrance of Themes Past

Monday, April 28, 2014

From the February, 1944 WQXR Program Guide.

Dr. Edman, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University and known for his many books, including the popular Philosopher's Holiday, is one of WQXR most ardent fans. This philosophical reaction to music is one which we feel sure is shared by many of our listeners.

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Calypso on WNYC

Friday, April 25, 2014

WNYC
Did you know WNYC was one of the first U.S. broadcasters of calypso music? Neither did we, until we dug up this clip from 1941 and started dancing.
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Nicholas Pileggi, The Mafia in New York City

Thursday, April 24, 2014

In a one-hour talk that has the easy-going feel of a conversation in a diner, Nicholas Pileggi provides an account of how the Mafia came to power in New York City. 

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We Know What You Like

Monday, April 21, 2014

From the May, 1941 WQXR Program Guide:

"My little boy, aged 4, has very definite likes and dislikes in music. He will sit as quiet as a mouse all through Tchaikowsky's Symphony Pathetique..."

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Happy Earth Day - Now Move Your Car

Monday, April 21, 2014

WNYC

On the first Earth Day - that would be April 22, 1970 - Mayor John V. Lindsay implores New Yorkers to be more thoughtful with their parking.

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An Opera Impresario Looks at Radio

Monday, April 14, 2014

From the March, 1941 WQXR Program Guide:

The magic of radio has broadened the ranks of the Metropolitan Opera audience until it extends from coast to coast and beyond to the countries of South America. But radio has not been able to bring back to our stage the great voices of the past which were stilled before opera performances went on the air, nor can it repeat an opera again and again to satisfy the appetite of the enthusiast.

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A Walking Tour of Don Draper's New York

Friday, April 11, 2014

WNYC

The year is 1971. Manhattan's Fur District is booming and Mad Men's Don Draper is about to enter a decade of possibilities (or not).

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Music For American Youth

Monday, April 07, 2014

From the January, 1941 WQXR Program Guide:

Mr. Ganz is conductor of the Young People's Chorus of the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Society. He is a pioneer in the field of children's concerts, having directed such concerts for the past eighteen years. The Young People's Concerts from Town Hall, New York, January 13th and February 17th at 3:45 P.M. will be broadcast by WQXR.

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Why Are These Men Twisting a Fish?

Thursday, April 03, 2014

WNYC

Before the Fulton Fish Market moved to the Bronx in 2005, nearly 2,000 men spent their early mornings down on South Street between Fulton and Beekman at one of the oldest and busiest open air markets in the country.

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Paul Fussell: The Poetry of Three Wars: World War I, World War II and Vietnam

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The late Paul Fussell (1924-2012) was a noted cultural and literary historian, who taught at Rutgers and the University of Pennsylvania. He wrote about such diverse subjects as Samuel Johnson, travel, and the American class system. His numerous books include Poetic Meter and Poetic Form, The Great War and Modern Memory (for which he won a National Book Award), and The American Infantry in Northwestern Europe, 1944-45. Fussell was a veteran of World War II, fighting in Europe, where he was wounded and decorated with a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

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What a New Cold War Could Sound Like

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

One thing about the Cold War: It made for some great radio. 

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The Place of Radio in Musical Education

Monday, March 31, 2014

From the April, 1941 WQXR Program Guide:

Mr. Hutcheson is President of the Juilliard School of Music in New York. In addition to being a great pianist and teacher, he is the author of numerous books on music, including the recently published "A Musical Guide to Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung."

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The Classics on Broadway

Monday, March 24, 2014

From the October, 1944 WQXR Program Guide:

The success which has attended the presentation on Broadway of new forms of music of great composers such as Bizet, Johann Strauss and Grieg has aroused a certain amount of resentment among music purists. As one of them remarked about Carmen Jones: "The orchestration of Bizet's music was expert and adequate, but I still prefer my Bizet straight, if you don't mind."

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Hello Future, Can You Hear Me?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Last week we presented an allegory for retrieving audio, where we compared it to listening to a distant radio station. Of course, that is only half of what audio archivists do: the other half is to try to extend the reach of that signal into the future.

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Who Likes Good Music?*

Monday, March 17, 2014

The following essay was written for the December, 1942  WQXR Program Guide by the Elliott M. Sanger, Executive Vice President  and Co-founder of the Interstate Broadcasting Company, Inc., WQXR's owner.

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Hello Past, I Can Hear You!

Friday, March 14, 2014

WNYC

Picture yourself on a weekend retreat in a rented cabin in the woods, not far from your home. Although you love the isolation (no wi-fi, no TV), you would like to listen to your favorite radio show on Saturday afternoon¹. After looking around, you find a cheap clock radio in the bedroom and, at the appointed time, you fiddle with the (maddeningly small) tuner wheel, tune the (analog) dial, and hope that your favorite station's signal reaches your receiver's dinky little antenna.

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