In the New York City Municipal Archives WNYC Sound Collection, we hear the voices of presidents, dignitaries, world leaders, artistic revolutionaries, musical geniuses, luminaries of the literati, and cultural icons. The sounds of a city and a nation are captured through nearly a century of transformations, tribulations, and triumphs. WNYC microphones were present when Admiral Byrd returned from his historic flight over the North Pole in 1926 and when Colonel Charles Lindbergh returned from his solo flight to Paris the following year. Perhaps best known are New York City Mayor F. H. La Guardia's weekly Talk to the People broadcasts over WNYC throughout World War II.
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Recently in Municipal Archives
Friday, January 25, 2013
Herman Wouk, appearing in this 1955 Books and Authors Luncheon, contests what he perceives as the common view of his being "a conformist."
Monday, January 21, 2013
Walter White, head of the NAACP, ponders race and foreign relations at the Great Hall of Cooper Union, in New York City, in this 1949 recording.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Monday, January 14, 2013
In this 1956 appearance at the Books and Authors Luncheon, Grover A. Whalen takes us from his childhood on the Lower East Side to his role in assuring that the United Nations would build its headquarters in New York City.
Friday, January 11, 2013
In this amusing, time-capsule of a talk, given at a 1956 Books and Authors Luncheon to promote his best-selling novel Island In the Sun, Alec Waugh explains how he came to write about the West Indies.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
In 1954, entertainment superstar Danny Kaye became UNICEF's first Ambassador at Large, a post he held until his death in 1987. This is Mr Kaye's personal recounting of his first East Asian tour visiting many of the world's impoverished children.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Virgil Thomson is the guest on this 1948 edition of The Reader's Almanac. Not Virgil Thomson the composer, though, but Virgil Thomson the critic, whose collection, The Art of Judging Music (1948), had just been published.
Monday, January 07, 2013
Rex Stout, the creator of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, addresses the audience at this 1966 Books and Authors Luncheon as if they were his "Committee on Grievances."
Friday, January 04, 2013
In a 1962 interview, Leopold Stokowski discusses his founding of the American Symphony Orchestra with WNYC's Seymour Siegel, calling for more emphasis on the arts.
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
The Democratic nominee, Adlai Stevenson, addresses the 1952 American Legion convention at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Monday, December 31, 2012
When a "member of the opposition" said that he had read Ted Sorensen's new book, Kennedy, and that he didn't like it very much, Sorenson replied that he was surprised, because "I didn't know you could read." Thus the sharp-tongued attorney and political advisor begins his talk before a 1965 Book and Authors Luncheon.
Friday, December 28, 2012
In this episode from Northwestern University Reviewing Stand, a panel of experts discusses Dwight Eisenhower's 1956 budget message. Were those different times? Former director of the Congressional Budget Office Rudolph Penner compares the budget struggles of yesteryear with today's.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
In this 1948 New Year’s Day address, NYC Health Commissioner Harry Mustard radiates post-war optimism and faith in the future. He proudly recounts the accomplishments of the previous year in infant and maternal health, food and water safety and venereal disease treatment. He also candidly discusses the resource shortages of the Health Department, as well as the need to do more in the areas of environmental health (smoke from old furnaces was a key issue of the time), tuberculosis, chronic disease and mental hygiene. In short, he sounds like he is giving a report from NYC’s current model for action, “Take Care, New York”.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
One of the few practitioners of monology, Cornelia Otis Skinner does not give a customary sales pitch at this 1951 Books and Authors Luncheon, instead reproducing "what goes on in the mind of the subscriber to the Friday symphony who goes to the concert by herself."
Monday, December 24, 2012
Though it is already two decades after the start of World War II, the shadow of Nazi Germany still looms large over this 1960 talk given by journalist and historian William L. Shirer at a Books and Authors Luncheon.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Calling himself a "Broadway wise-cracker and a Hollywood hack," Robert Sherwood, author, soldier, pacifist, and speechwriter, gives a stirring account of his wartime work for the Roosevelt administration at this 1948 Books and Authors Luncheon.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
In this speech at a Books and Authors Luncheon in 1965, the former special assistant to the president answers his critics and defends his insider's view of the Kennedy administration.