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.
"Around the close of this century." That is when distinguished author, scientist, and visionary Arthur C. Clarke, in this 1954 appearance at a Books and Authors Luncheon, predicts man will break free of Earth and fly to the moon.
Alongside his meteoric rise as a publisher, Bennett Cerf pursued his natural talent for writing humor.
Novelist and screenwriter James M. Cain promotes his idea for an American Authors Authority that would treat literature as "property." Though it never caught on at the time, Cain's plan offers insight on present-day debates about copyrights.
Harp music plays as announcer Sy Freed quotes Voltaire, “Poetry is the music of the soul and above all of great and inspired souls.” So begins this episode of The Poet Speaks from 1949, featuring poets A.M. Sullivan and Shaemas O’Sheel.
Poet, playwright, and novelist William Packard moderates this 1968 broadcast: Is there a New York poet?
In two excerpts from speeches given in 1946 and 1947 by Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, one can see the tightrope he walked in the years immediately following World War II as the Cold War loomed.
Jack Kerouac famously suggested the Beat Generation is "a swinging group…of new American men intent on joy." Scholars and writers join Kerouac in this 1959 discussion at the Brandeis University Club of New York for a rollicking, witty debate.
In the early hours of February 24, 1949, on the Greek island of Rhodes, Dr. Ralph J. Bunche emerged from the Egyptian-Israeli talks to announce the signing of a General Armistice Agreement.
Better known for his punditry, here mayoral candidate William F. Buckley Jr. complains about delivering stump speeches "without boring the voter, which is bad enough, but without boring yourself, which is worse."
On this 1957 broadcast of The New York Herald-Tribune Books and Authors Luncheon, the German-American scientist and science writer discusses satellite technology and the recent launch of Sputnik.
Musical prodigy and composer Marc Blitzstein, the featured guest on this 1941 installment from WNYC's American Music Festival, increasingly identifies with radical left-wing political movements in the hardscrabble years leading into the Depression.
Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt interviews her friend Mary McLeod Bethune in a 1949 radio broadcast in support of 'interracial understanding.'
From July 1939 to March 1942, conductor and composer Macklin Marrow led the WNYC Concert Orchestra. The 35-piece ensemble was sponsored by The New York City Music Project, a unit of the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). One of Marrow's earliest assignments at the station was the August 2, 1939, dedication of the WNYC WPA murals when the orchestra performed the scherzo from William Grant Still's Afro-American Symphony (audio above).
"I can talk for an hour without notes, but for 15 minutes, I have to read it. I shall look up occasionally to give an air of spontaneity." Thus, Gore Vidal begins one of his customarily suave and witty speeches, this one delivered at a Books and Authors Luncheon held on November 30, 1964.
In this 1964 talk, Louis Auchincloss, author of the new book The Rector of Justin, describes the great themes facing writers and offers generous advice to those of his profession.
This Overseas Press Club conference is a reminder of the unfortunately routine institutionalized gender oppression in American industry. Featuring deft pilots in the Angel Derby, an all-female air race from New York to the Bahamas, this panel's male moderator and reporters dole out condescension and hostility, but "the girls" hold steady despite the dismissive questioning.
Five years after the U.S. Army Air Force dropped atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Cold War-era New York officials were preparing for the worst case scenario, an atomic bomb detonation over New York City.
As eloquent in her speech as she is in her song, the contralto Marian Anderson addresses the issues of prejudice and segregation head-on in this 1957 Books and Authors Luncheon appearance.