Curator’s Picks: Signature Sounds

(The following is from the July/August 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. You can read the issue in its entirety here.)

Matt Barton in the Library’s Motion Picture and Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division discusses some of the nation’s most iconic radio broadcasts.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a Joint Session of Congress on Dec. 8, 1941—one day after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The president referred to Dec. 7 as “a date which will live in infamy.” Within an hour of the speech, Congress passed a formal declaration of war against Japan and officially brought the U.S. into World War II. “In his nine-minute speech, the president sought not only to rally the nation, but to provide the most accurate picture possible of the extent of the attacks made in the Pacific to that point, countering rumors but also conveying the seriousness of the situation.”
Weltbild Publishing Company, Prints and Photographs Division

Denied the right to sing at DAR Constitution Hall because of her race, contralto Marian Anderson performed an Easter Sunday concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on April 9, 1939. The event drew an integrated audience of 75,000, including members of the Supreme Court, Congress and President Roosevelt’s cabinet. “News photos and newsreels of this event have become iconic, but millions of Americans experienced the radio broadcast first, live and in real time.”
Prints and Photographs Division, courtesy of the NAACP

In 1962, Philadelphia Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain shattered the NBA record by scoring 100 points in a single game. The game was broadcast only by a Philadelphia radio station and rebroadcast later that night. “Those broadcasts were lost but fortunately two fans recorded key portions of those broadcasts. The NBA eventually acquired both recordings.”
Prints and Photographs Division

WHO’S ON FIRST? 3c26194u.tif
Comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello first performed their now- legendary baseball sketch for a national radio audience on “The Kate Smith Hour” in March 1938. This broadcast is now lost, but in response to popular demand, the duo gave an encore performance later in the year, which survives.
New York World- Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection, Prints and Photographs Division

Calvin Coolidge made history at his second inauguration on March 4, 1925. “It was the first time an inauguration was broadcast nationally on the new medium of radio, and it was carried on 30 stations nationwide.”
National Photo Company Collection, Prints and Photographs Division


All of the above radio broadcasts were selected for inclusion in the National Recording Registry, which ensures their long-term preservation. 

Library in the News: July 2016 Edition

In July, the Library of Congress was widely in the news with the U.S. Senate’s vote to confirm Carla Hayden as the 14th Librarian of Congress. She will be both the first woman and first African American to serve in the position. “Hayden will be the first Librarian of Congress appointed during the internet age […]

A Hamilton Mixtape, Library of Congress Style

Nominated for a record-setting 16 Tony Awards, “Hamilton” the musical swept the ceremony winning 11, including Best Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score and a handful of best actor/actresses. The show is based on the Ron Chernow biography on founding father Alexander Hamilton, which Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the musical, had picked up on a whim […]

Library in the News: May 2016 Edition

The month of May saw the Library of Congress in a variety of headlines. In April, the Library announced that, the online legislative information system, will officially retire July 5, completing the multi-year transition to David Gewirtz for ZDNet Government wrote, “You have to wonder what Thomas Jefferson would have made of the […]

The Changing Field of Folklife

(The following is an article by Stephen Winick from the March/April 2016 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. You can read the issue in its entirety here.) Changes in technology have facilitated global access to the Library’s folklife collections. This year, the Library’s American Folklife Center turns 40. During that time, the world […]

Library Bestows Gershwin Prize on Willie Nelson

(The following story was written by Mark Hartsell, editor of the Library of Congress staff newsletter, The Gazette.) Whenever Willie Nelson’s bus rolls into town, actor and host Don Johnson said, you know you’re in for a good time, a big party. Wednesday night at DAR Constitution Hall was no exception. The Library of Congress […]

A Legacy of Librarians

(The following story, written by Center for the Book Director John Y. Cole, is featured in the November/December 2015 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM. You can read the issue in its entirety here.) Thirteen Librarians of Congress helped shape a legislative, national and international library. Today the Library of Congress is truly a […]

Expert’s Corner: Collection Development Officer Joseph Puccio

(The following story is featured in the July/August 2015 issue of the LCM, which you can read in it’s entirety here.) Collection Development Officer Joseph Puccio discusses the Library’s collection-building today and tomorrow. When I began my career at the Library of Congress in 1983 as a freshly minted library school graduate, I was astounded […]

A Founder and a Firebrand

The nation and the world are mourning the passing of civil-rights activist Julian Bond, who died on Saturday in Florida at age 75. Brought up in an intellectual family, he was a skinny, witty, articulate young man when he helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, in 1960, traveling around the south to […]