Streams

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.

This web resource has been made possible in part by the
National Endowment for the Humanities:
Exploring the Human Endeavor

Any views, findings, conclusions, recommendations expressed in this web resource do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Recently in Municipal Archives

Richard Wright's Love Letter to Paris

Monday, January 28, 2013

WNYC

In this brief monologue, the novelist Richard Wright sends home the most glowing postcard of France one could possibly imagine. 

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Herman Wouk Bucks Literary Trends to Produce Best-Selling Novels

Friday, January 25, 2013

WNYC

Herman Wouk, appearing in this 1955  Books and Authors Luncheon, contests what he perceives as the common view of his being "a conformist." 

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Teddy Wilson Contemplates the Future of Jazz

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WNYC

Pianist Teddy Wilson discusses his career and speculates on the future of jazz in this 1950 interview.

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Walter White of NAACP Asserts America's 'Race Problem' Undermines Overseas Efforts

Monday, January 21, 2013

WNYC

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.

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Jessamyn West on an Author's Responsibility to Her Readers

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WNYC
"Dear Reader," Jessamyn West pointedly addresses her audience at this 1960 Book and Authors Luncheon. She then goes on to explore the relationship between an author and her reading public, noting how Victorian novelists felt no qualms in responding to the emotional needs and moral judgments of their audience, whereas today's writers barely acknowledge the reader. Indeed, it is only the Beatniks, "those brave bearded boys," who are willing to admit out loud how "dear" their readers are to them.

 

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Mr. New York: Grover Whalen's Unique Diplomacy

Monday, January 14, 2013

WNYC

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. 

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Gran' Pop Has a Touch of the Flu, 1951

Friday, January 11, 2013

WNYC

What were the signs and symptoms of influenza in 1951? Join Dr. Naltoney to find out.

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Alec Waugh's Martinique, and a Brotherly Deed to the World

Friday, January 11, 2013

WNYC

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.

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Before Bono: Danny Kaye, First UN Ambassador, on his 1954 East Asia trip

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.

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Virgil Thomson on What Makes a Good Music Critic

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

WNYC

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. 

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Rex Stout Writes Detective Stories, Makes Enemies of the FBI

Monday, January 07, 2013

WNYC

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."

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Leopold Stokowski, the Maestro, Advocates for Accessible, Affordable Art

Friday, January 04, 2013

WNYC

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. 

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Adlai Stevenson, Presidential Hopeful, Woos Voters and Patriots

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

WNYC

The Democratic nominee, Adlai Stevenson, addresses the 1952 American Legion convention at Madison Square Garden in New York.

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Ted Sorensen Writes with Affection and Respect for the Kennedy Clan

Monday, December 31, 2012

WNYC

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.

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How Sound is the President's Budget?

Friday, December 28, 2012

WNYC

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.

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Clean Water and Fiery Furnaces: The Health of New York, 1947

Thursday, December 27, 2012

WNYC

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”.

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Monologist Cornelia Otis Skinner: Two Scintillating Performances

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WNYC

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."

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William L. Shirer on Nazi Germany After 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich'

Monday, December 24, 2012

WNYC

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. 

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Robert Sherwood Humanizes Wartime Efforts and Urges 'Enduring Peace'

Friday, December 21, 2012

WNYC

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.

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Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Defends His Account of JFK's Administration

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WNYC

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.  

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