Library of Congress Adds 50 Historic Recordings

Feb 6, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors


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Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced his selection of the first 50 historic sound recordings to be added to the National Recording Registry in Washington, D.C. Congress has charged the Librarian of Congress with the responsibility of selecting recordings annually that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant." Nominations were garnered from members of the public and the National Recording Preservation Board, which is composed of leaders in the fields of music, recorded sound and preservation; the Board also helped with the review of nominations.

As a member of the Board, the Audio Engineering Society (AES) advised the Librarian on his selection. Representing the AES on the Board are Elizabeth Cohen, AES past president, and George Massenburg.

The selection, in chronological order, is: Edison Exhibition Recordings (Group of three cylinders): "Around the World on the Phonograph," "The Pattison Waltz;" "Fifth Regiment March" (1888-1889); The Jesse Walter Fewkes field recordings of the Passamaquoddy Indians (1890); "Stars and Stripes Forever" Military Band, Berliner Gramophone disc recording (1897); Lionel Mapleson cylinder recordings of the Metropolitan Opera (1900-1903); Scott Joplin ragtime compositions on piano rolls, Scott Joplin, piano (1900s); Booker T. Washington's 1895 Atlanta Exposition Speech (1906 re-creation); "Vesti la Giubba" from Pagliacci, Enrico Caruso (1907); "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," Fisk Jubilee Singers (1909); Lovey's Trinidad String Band recordings for Columbia Records (1912); "Tiger Rag," original Dixieland Jazz Band (1918); "Arkansas Traveler" and "Sallie Gooden," Eck Robertson, fiddle (1922); "Down-Hearted Blues," Bessie Smith (1923); "Rhapsody in Blue," George Gershwin, piano; Paul Whiteman Orchestra (1924); Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings (1925-1928); Victor Talking Machine Company sessions in Bristol, Tenn., Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest Stoneman and others (1927); Harvard Vocarium record series, T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden and others, reciting (1930-1940s); Highlander Center Field Recording Collection. Rosa Parks, Esau Jenkins and others (1930s-1980s); Bell Laboratories experimental stereo recordings, Philadelphia Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski, conductor (1931-1932); President Franklin D. Roosevelt's radio "Fireside Chats" (1933-1944); New Music Recordings series, Henry Cowell, producer (1934-1949); description of the crash of the Hindenburg, Herbert Morrison reporting (1937); "Who's on First," Abbott and Costello's first radio-broadcast version (1938); "War of the Worlds," Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater (1938); "God Bless America," Kate Smith, radio broadcast premiere (1938); "The Cradle Will Rock," Marc Blitzstein and the original Broadway cast (1938); The John and Ruby Lomax Southern States Recording Trip (1939); Grand Ole Opry, first network radio broadcast, Uncle Dave Macon, Roy Acuff (1939); "Strange Fruit," Billie Holiday (1939); Duke Ellington Orchestra "Blanton-Webster Era" recordings (1940-1942); Bela Bartok, piano, and Joseph Szigeti, violin, in concert at the Library of Congress (1940); "Rite of Spring," Igor Stravinsky conducting the New York Philharmonic (1940); "White Christmas," Bing Crosby (1942); "This Land is Your Land," Woody Guthrie (1944); General Dwight D. Eisenhower's D-Day radio address to the Allied Nations (1944); "Koko," Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and others (1945); "Blue Moon of Kentucky," Bill Monroe and The Blue Grass Boys (1947); "How High the Moon," Les Paul and Mary Ford (1951);. Elvis Presley's Sun Records sessions (1954-1955); Songs for Young Lovers, Frank Sinatra (1955); Dance Mania, Tito Puente (1958); Kind of Blue, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans and others (1959); "What'd I Say," parts 1 and 2, Ray Charles (1959); "I Have a Dream" speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1963); "Freewheelin,'" Bob Dylan (1963); "Respect!" Aretha Franklin (1967); Philomel: for soprano, recorded soprano, and synthesized sound, Bethany Beardslee, soprano (1971); Precious Lord: New Recordings of the Great Gospel Songs of Thomas Dorsey, Thomas Dorsey, Marion Williams and others (1973); Crescent City Living Legends Collection (WWOZ radio, New Orleans) (1973-1990); and "The Message," Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five (1982).

Complete annotations for each recording and information on the National Recording Preservation Board can be found out For information on the AES Technical Committee on Archiving Restoration and Digital Libraries, please visit

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