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 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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'Clean Living' is a Euphemism for... What?

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

WNYC

In 1946, there was a 29% increase in the cases of venereal diseases in New York City.  Interestingly, there was a correlative rise in flushed exclamations of catching VD from toilet seats, park benches, and bus seats.

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The Democratic Machine: Carmine DeSapio and Jacob Javits Debate Ethics in Politics

Monday, September 03, 2012

WNYC

Speaking first in this 1955 debate, the Democratic boss Carmine G. DeSapio bristles at the question, "Is Tammany Hall fundamentally corrupt?" He dismisses such "sinister implications," claiming they refer to long-ago scandals.

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Sammy Davis Jr. Writes His "Emotional Soul" in Yes I Can

Friday, August 31, 2012

WNYC

Overcoming a life of hardship, Samuel Davis Jr. became a major performer in Las Vegas and a member of the legendary Rat Pack. In a quiet, moving tone, Davis, author of the just-published Yes I Can, speaks at a Books and Authors Luncheon in 1965.

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The "Overpoweringly Witty" Fiction of Noël Coward

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WNYC

Celebrating the appearance of his first published novel, Pomp and Circumstance (1961), Noël Coward coolly rebuts those critics calling him "antiquated, snobbish, and belonging to an earlier, more complacent age." 

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Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency: Wertham Versus Gaines On Decency Standards

Monday, August 27, 2012

WNYC

The investigation continues! The evils of horror comics are explicated by two contrasting witnesses, Dr.  Fredric Wertham, a reserved psychiatrist, and William Gaines, the chief purveyor of such lurid publications as The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror, and Tales From the Crypt

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Poor Little Annie!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

WNYC

During the 1945 newspaper deliverymen's strike, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia kept the children of New York City up to date on the adventures of Dick Tracy and Little Orphan Annie by reading the Sunday comics over WNYC's airwaves.

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Eleanor Roosevelt's Hidden Talent

Friday, August 24, 2012

WNYC

To generate interest in a series of talent shows benefiting the 1957 March of Dimes, Eleanor Roosevelt tried her hand as an amateur disc jockey on WNYC.

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Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency: Comic Books, "Soda-pop," and Societal Harm

Friday, August 24, 2012

WNYC

This is "not a subcommittee of blue-nosed censors," the chairman Robert Hendrickson claims, in his introductory remarks at these famous Congressional hearings on the link between comic books and juvenile delinquency, broadcast over WNYC on April 21, 1954.

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Radio from 'The Twilight Zone'

Thursday, August 23, 2012

WNYC

During his freshman year at Antioch College, Rod Serling worked as an unpaid intern at WNYC. Although his newsroom and script-writing duties kept him mostly off the air, Serling's unmistakable voice can be heard in the station's public service series Toward Return to Society, produced in cooperation with the New York City Department of Correction.

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We Love People Who Love Brooklyn

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WNYC

It's a documented fact that in 1942, radio stations, newspapers and magazines maligned the borough of Brooklyn no less than 2,623 times. And that's not even counting movies. Fugheddaboudit!

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Van Cliburn's Musical Diplomacy Eases Tense U.S.-Soviet Relationship

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WNYC

Fifty-five years ago this week, Van Cliburn was feted in New York City for his gold medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Russia. Our sister station WNYC covered the young Texan's triumphant return.

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Arthur C. Clarke Dabbles in Science Nonfiction and Speculates About Space Travel

Monday, August 20, 2012

WNYC

"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. 

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Random House Founder Bennett Cerf, as Skillful Storyteller and Humorist

Friday, August 17, 2012

WNYC

Alongside his meteoric rise as a publisher, Bennett Cerf pursued his natural talent for writing humor. 

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