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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Starting Out in the Thirties (1965), the second installment of Kazin's New Yorker Trilogy, had just been published when he gave this brief talk on the genesis of his artistic motivation at a 1965 Books and Authors Luncheon.
"I feel like an impostor," the author and teacher Bel Kaufman confesses in this talk given at the Overseas Press Club in 1966, where the topics include her accent, poetry, and the classroom.
Jane Jacobs, in this 1962 appearance at a Books and Authors Luncheon, explains her current role as a community leader in the fight against what she views as the excesses and excrescences of the arrogant Modernist redesign of city neighborhoods.
Largely forgotten today, Fannie Hurst was for many years one of the most highly paid and widely read novelists of her time. Anatomy of Me is Hurst's just-published autobiography, which she discusses at this 1958 Books and Authors Luncheon.
On March 5, 1853 a German piano maker named Henry Steinway (né Steinweg) founded Steinway & Sons at 85 Varick Street in New York City, barely five blocks from the present-day WNYC studios. Less than three months later another, much younger German piano maker named Helmuth Kranich would arrive at these shores. Little did he suspect that one of his children would someday work at a competing form of entertainment: radio, specifically WNYC.
A.E. Hotchner, a friend of Ernest Hemingway during the last 14 years of the writer's life, reminisces about their relationship in this Books and Authors Luncheon appearance promoting his memoir, Papa Hemingway (1966).
Chaos rules at this rowdy 1964 meeting of the Overseas Press Club. The guest panel includes Catholic Church critic, Rolf Hochhuth, and a Catholic Church official.
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.
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.
"The Actor and Clichés In the Theater," is the subject Sir Alec Guinness chooses for this impromptu 1964 performance before the Overseas Press Club.
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.
This WNYC American Music Festival program from February 19, 1941 captures the Benny Goodman Sextet in a rare and wonderful moment.
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.
"Is the Feminine Mystique a Mistake?" is the question posed at the beginning of this 1966 edition of Maincurrents, hosted by Lee Graham.
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.
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.
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.