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

Foreign Correspondent David Halberstam Analyzes Conflict in Vietnam

Friday, October 12, 2012

WNYC

David Halberstam briefs this 1964 meeting of the Overseas Press Club on what he sees as a "sharp conflict" between America's official optimism and the reality experienced by reporters embedded in Vietnam.

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John Gunther, Author of 'Inside' Travel Guides, Offers Glimpse of African Continent, 1955

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

WNYC

Formerly a foreign war correspondent, Chicagoan John Gunther drew on his background to write the 'Inside' travel series, which included Inside Europe (1936), Inside Asia (1939), Inside Latin America (1941), and here, Inside Africa.

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The Extemporaneous Sir Alec Guinness: Shorter Than You Thought, and to the Point

Monday, October 08, 2012

WNYC

"The Actor and Clichés In the Theater," is the subject Sir Alec Guinness chooses for this impromptu 1964 performance before the Overseas Press Club. 

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Günter Grass on American Vagaries: Boxing, Dancing, and Creating Art

Friday, October 05, 2012

WNYC

In May 1965, the Overseas Press Club hosted the German novelist Günter Grass, who had arrived in New York to teach a seminar at Columbia University. 

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The Benny Goodman Sextet Fields Requests on 'America in Swingtime'

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

WNYC

This WNYC American Music Festival program from February 19, 1941 captures the Benny Goodman Sextet in a rare and wonderful moment. 

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We All Sag in the Middle: The Delightfully Indignant Edna Ferber

Monday, October 01, 2012

WNYC

Popular best-sellers of the day, Edna Ferber's books also provided the stories for influential plays, musicals, and films. At this 1958 Books and Authors Luncheon, she talks about her new book, Ice Palace.

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Feminine Mystique or Mistake: Men Make Fun of Women for Having Feelings, Then Dismiss Charges of Discrimination

Friday, September 28, 2012

WNYC

"Is the Feminine Mystique a Mistake?" is the question posed at the beginning of this 1966 edition of Maincurrents, hosted by Lee Graham.

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Cartoonist Jules Feiffer Probes the Intellectual Depth of Comics and Pop Culture, 1965

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WNYC

At a Books and Authors Luncheon featuring such literary establishment figures as the historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and the literary critic Alfred Kazin, a 36-year-old cartoonist gets up to speak. 

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‘Most of Them Can Be Helped’: Building a Language of Disability

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

These cerebral palsy radio spots, recorded in 1951 for the United Cerebral Palsy Fund, highlight the ideas and words applied to children born with disabilities.

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James T. Farrell on a Writer's Inner Life

Monday, September 24, 2012

WNYC

James T. Farrell, the creator of Studs Lonigan, is often thought of as a crude, dogged, naturalist writer; it's refreshing to hear the author speaking, in this recording from 1952, of what truly obsesses him: literature.

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James L. Farmer Jr. Advocates Revolutionary Freedoms for African-Americans

Friday, September 21, 2012

"America is being forced to face itself," James Farmer proclaims in this 1963 Overseas Press Club appearance, before discussing the upcoming march on Washington and the historical roots of the civil rights struggle.

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Abba Eban Pushes Israel's Application for U.N. Membership

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In 1949, Israel's Abba Eban defends his country against a variety of accusations and urges the United Nations to act favorably on Israel's application for admission to that international body.

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Owa Tagoo Siam! Good Clean Fun in Harlem, 1946

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

WNYC

Harlem Hospitality Club is an audience participation and variety show by and for African Americans. 

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Richard Dyer-Bennet's Living Tradition of American Minstrelsy

Monday, September 17, 2012

WNYC

WNYC's American Music Festival features Richard Dyer-Bennet in his all-too-brief heyday, before betrayal and political accusations would derail his career, in this 1945 studio appearance.

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Heart Troubles: Monologist Ruth Draper Performs Three Generations of Women

Friday, September 14, 2012

WNYC

"Three Generations From the Court of Domestic Relations" is the title of this 1954 performance by the  monologist Ruth Draper. The setting is the Starlight Roof of the Waldorf Astoria, where Draper, the afternoon's entertainment, takes the stage.

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Oil and Extremism: The Prescient Caution of Justice William O. Douglas

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WNYC

"We are heading up to one of the greatest crises, I think, in modern history." This prediction about oil and the Middle East was made in 1951 by none other than Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas at a Books and Authors Luncheon.

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'Hello, There! Let's Speak American!' 1952

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

WNYC

This is not a radio show featuring our 43rd president; here, ‘speaking American’ is a colloquialism for functional English.

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Tommy Dorsey and Leopold Stokowski Bring Brass and Rhythm to Young Audiences

Monday, September 10, 2012

WNYC

Tommy Dorsey's 1945 teaming up with Leopold Stokowski drives the young audience into a frenzy even before the first note is played. Stokowski comes across as a bit schoolmasterish, admonishing the audience to be quiet or "the concert ends now."

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"A Great Day for the Irish" as New York City Welcomes Eamon de Valera

Friday, September 07, 2012

WNYC

The former prime minister and future president of Ireland, Eamon de Valera, is welcomed to New York by various dignitaries during this 1948 visit. Grover Whalen, the city's official greeter, introduces "the boy from Manhattan island" who now returns as a recognized world leader. 

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Backing a Democrat for the White House: Carmine DeSapio's Partisan Politics

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

WNYC

Carmine G. DeSapio rose through the ranks of Tammany Hall, the New York City Democratic machine, starting out as an errand boy and becoming "boss" in 1949. The upcoming presidential contest is very much on DeSapio's mind during this 1955 edition of Campus Press Conference.

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