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.
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
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.
Monday, September 24, 2012
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.
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.
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.
Monday, September 17, 2012
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.
Friday, September 14, 2012
"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.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
"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.
Monday, September 10, 2012
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."
Friday, September 07, 2012
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.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
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.
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
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.
Monday, September 03, 2012
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.
Friday, August 31, 2012
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.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
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."
Monday, August 27, 2012
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.
Friday, August 24, 2012
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.