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, December 13, 2013
Beginning in February 1957, a new influenza strain virus (known to virologists as H2N2) emerged in China. Throughout April, May, and June, it spread steadily and rapidly across Asian and Middle Eastern countries. There was one question in everyone’s minds: Would the new virus behave like the feared 1918 virus, which had caused tens of millions of deaths? Or would it behave like the ordinary influenza strains with which physicians were familiar? This November 1957 conference, organized by the New York Academy of Medicine and broadcast by WNYC, attempted to provide some answers.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Vonnegut talks about his strange sci-fi tale of fraternal twins who are brilliant when they can interact with each other but only “dull normal” when separated. He reveals that his portrait of these fictional twins was based on his deep real-life bond with his only sister, Alice.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Ted Cott was just 17 in 1934 when Seymour N. Siegel hired him to be the station's Drama Director. Cott had been a volunteer doing weekly radio plays with other City College students when his promising work came to the attention of Mayor La Guardia, who insisted 'the young man' be hired. La Guardia had only been Mayor about six or seven months and had campaigned to shut WNYC down, believing it was a waste of money. But Siegel had engineered a stay of execution and needed to bring in some fresh ideas and talent to further convince La Guardia that the station was worth keeping. Since there was no equivalent civil service post at WNYC's parent agency, the New York City Department of Plant and Structures, Cott was hired as a ticket taker for Staten Island Ferry and reported for work at WNYC. 
‘The World Has Suffered Many Losses through Time’: Environmental Conservation and The Passenger Pigeon, December 1931
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Most of us are familiar with the sad story of the passenger pigeon: the North American bird whose immense numbers (believed to have been up to forty percent of the wild bird population) and intensely social habits (being unable to thrive or breed successfully in small groups) prevented its recovery ...
Monday, December 09, 2013
From the November, 1942 WQXR Program Guide.
We take pleasure in presenting another article from the pen of America's outstanding popularizer of good music, Dr. Sigmund Spaeth. He last appeared in these columns with a strong plea for the American composer. This time he takes up the cause of the interpreting artist, whose work is of such importance in the fields of radio and records alike. Dr. Spaeth recently began a new series of programs over Station WQXR, sponsored by the Columbia Recording Corporation. These broadcasts are heard every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evening from 7:30 to 8 o'clock under the title of "Dr. Sigmund Spaeth and His Record Library." The detailed programs for November will be found in this issue.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
After years of obscurity in the 1950s and early 1960s, Vonnegut now found himself one of the handful of most-talked about writers in America. This interview reveals him at the top of his game—confidently proclaiming the novelist’s ability to “make up new myths that people will believe.”
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Imagine a newly constructed hospital with room for over 300 occupants, sitting idle and standing empty in a time of great need.
By the mid-1920s the Bronx Hospital, originally founded in 1911, had outgrown its original facility and began construction on a state-of-the art hospital at Fulton Avenue and 169th ...
Monday, December 02, 2013
From the December, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
When you think of interesting approaches to music you think of Mme. Stokowski, whose Layman's Music Course at Town Hall, New York, has been famous for years. To know why she is so successful in her method, we suggest you listen to her WQXR program every Sunday morning at 10 A.M.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The WQXR Archives celebrates Month of Mozart with highlights from Lloyd Moss's WQXR show This is My Music.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
On April 17, 1937 WQXR invited Evan Roberts, the Managing Director of the WPA Federal Theatre Project Radio Division, to talk about the wonders of radio and its potential to be entertaining, educational, amusing, exciting and appealing to the intellectual as well as the average person.
Monday, November 25, 2013
From the October 1941 WQXR Program Guide:
Mr. Spaeth, radio's famous "Tune Detective" , is an author, music critic and commentator of wide reputation. He addresses this message to WQXR's listeners as President of the National Association for American Composers and Conductors.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Listen to a chilling account, created only days later, of President Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963.
Monday, November 18, 2013
From the February, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
You or we may not agree with everything [or anything] that Sir Thomas Beecham says about women in music, but we know his comments will interest you. This article is condensed from the original which appears in the recently published "Vogue's First Reader." We wish to express our thanks to the publishers for their permission to reprint it.
Monday, November 11, 2013
From the September, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
Alec Templeton is one of the few great artists who is equally at home in the realm of the popular as he is among the classics. His thorough musicianship has won for him an outstanding place on the air and in the concert hall, and we know that his thoughts on the music of today will be stimulating. When we asked Mr. Templeton the other day what we should say about him in this introduction, he said, "Say I am a devoted listener to WQXR." We say so proudly.
Monday, November 04, 2013
From the March, 1942 WQXR Program Guide:
Irwin Edman, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University and author of Philosopher's Holiday, Fountainheads of Freedom, and other books, has on various occasions spoken over WQXR and is, as the following indicates, one of its devotees.
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.