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
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
With sadness we note the passing on October 11th of former WQXR Chief Engineer Zaven “Doc” Masoomian. Doc had visited us here recently and was always available to answer questions about WQXR history. He joined WQXR in May, 1941 as a studio engineer before serving as a B-17 bomber pilot and enduring a German POW camp.* He returned to WQXR after the war and worked tirelessly through till 1986 when, after 44 years at the station, he retired as WQXR's Chief Engineer.
Monday, October 28, 2013
From the May, 1944 WQXR Program guide:
Roy Harris, who is well known to our audience, is a Westerner by birth and upbringing. He resides in Colorado Springs, where he holds the post of Composer-in-Residence to Colorado College. Rated by such publications as Time, Life and The Christian Science Monitor as "America's Leading Symphonic Composer," Harris has written six symphonies and a great deal of choral and chamber music. He has been recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Because National Music Week is celebrated this month, we asked Mr. Harris to write about American music and we feel sure his opinions will arouse your interest in contemporary composers.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
From the letterhead of New York City's Municipal Broadcasting System to the new design today, WNYC has gone through a number of logos. While each logo represents WNYC in a specific period of time one thing remains constant: WNYC is "The Voice of the City."
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
The recently published National Recording Preservation Plan from the Library of Congress includes a recommendation to "encourage scientific and technical research leading to the development of new technologies to recover, reformat, and preserve audio recording media". Although at first sight this passage seems to refer to high-tech projects such as IRENE, there may be other, more modest ways to advance audio preservation technology. Here is an example.
Monday, October 21, 2013
From the August, 1944 WQXR Program Guide:
The Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra tells in this article how music appreciation is spread through the use of records. Though Russian by birth, he has done much to advance the cause of American composers during his years of conducting orchestras in the United States and Europe. This month New York welcomes him as guest conductor at the Stadium Concerts.
Monday, October 07, 2013
Pioneering news commentator Quincy Howe (1900-1977) was on WQXR between August, 1939 and June, 1942. His essay for the September, 1941 WQXR Program Guide was introduced this way:
Mr. Howe needs no introduction to the WQXR audience for he has been the station's news commentator since the outbreak of World War II. In addition to his radio duties, he is Editor-in-Chief of Simon & Schuster, and is the author of numerous books, the latest being "The News and How to Understand It."
Friday, October 04, 2013
Recorded just a year shy of the iconic moon-landing, this interview captures a singular moment of prescience and optimism for a world entering into the future.
Monday, September 30, 2013
Polish composer, pianist and statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski died June 29, 1941. The following tribute was published in the August, 1941 WQXR Program Guide. Here is its introduction:
Mr. Steinway, President of Steinway & Sons, was an intimate friend of Paderewski. The following is based on a talk he gave over WQXR on the evening of July 1st, 1941 during the broadcast of a program honoring the memory of the great pianist-composer.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Listen to a 1940s five-inch transcription disc recording from the highest coin operated booth in the world - the Voice-O-Graph automatic voice recorder on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.
Monday, September 23, 2013
[Editor's Note] Composer Aaron Copland wrote the following for the WQXR Program Guide in June, 1942. It was, of course, the early months of the United States' involvement in World War II and the reader should keep that in mind. As well, Copland's use of 'Negro' for 'African' or 'African influenced' was common for the time in which he wrote, as was the phrase, 'serious music' for what is now generally referred to as classical music. The program guide prefaced the article with this introduction:
Aaron Copland, gifted American composer and writer on music ("Our New Music" and "What to Listen for in Music") writes about the place of Latin American countries in the world's musical scene, and of the increasing influence being exerted by the composers of our sister republics.
Monday, September 16, 2013
WQXR News Commentator Lisa Sergio wrote the following article for the WQXR Program Guide in April, 1943. As a woman in the almost exclusively male domain of news commentary, Sergio distinguished herself as the only woman Variety included in its 1945 analysis of 30 popular radio news commentators. Her essay is a brief reminder of just how far women have come in the field of journalism. The guide prefaced the piece with this introduction:
Because many people wonder how it feels to be a woman radio commentator, we asked Miss Sergio to write the following article. She need no introduction to the WQXR audience, which listens to her regularly at 7 o'clock every evening, Monday through Friday, nor to her morning audience at 10 A.M. on Monday and Friday.
Monday, September 09, 2013
For the January, 1944 of the WQXR Program Guide, the station's announcers got together and wrote the following:
Have you ever thought: "I could be a radio announcer. My friends say my voice over the telephone is good"? Maybe you could--and then again maybe you couldn't. And after reading this article cooperatively written by members of the WQXR staff--maybe you wouldn't even if you could.
Tuesday, September 03, 2013
As we enter the back stretch of the current mayoral campaign, there have been a lot of competing voices for the city's top spot. For contemporary oratory, what we've heard so far has been fairly standard: frequently finding fault, at times dogmatic, often punctuated with clichés, promising the moon, but always familiar in tone. The candidate, after all, needs to look and sound appealing to win those votes. Oddly enough, it wasn't always this way. Let's dial back the years to the earliest recording made of a New York mayoral candidate, incumbent Mayor John F. Hylan, in this abridged recreation of his Primary renomination acceptance speech from the fall of 1921. 
Sunday, August 18, 2013
If it's good enough for Elvis, it's good enough for you and your child - On the birthday of the city's first female Health Commissioner, we honor Dr. Leona Baumgartner and the New York City publicity campaign for the polio vaccine.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
As New York City's Broadcasting Supervisor, Raymond Asserson was charged with designing and building the first WNYC facility by then Commissioner for Plant and Structures, Grover A. Whalen. Generally behind the scenes in bringing WNYC to life, Asserson made his mark publicly before the House Merchant Marine Committee on March 12, 1924. Testifying on behalf of Whalen, the former Navy engineer charged that through its patents, AT&T had stymied New York City's efforts to set up a radio station and had effectively created a radio monopoly.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Frances Foley Gannon was described as “a brisk little woman with a smiling Irish face.” Her advice was two-fold: in her daily five minutes on air, she told mothers what foods were in season and how to use them to plan family meals.