Amplifying the Voices, Saving our Sounds - A Day In the Life of the National Recording Registry

March 25, 2015

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington named 25 new sound recordings to the National Recording Registry today.  He remarked; “By preserving these recordings, we safeguard the words, sounds and music that embody who we are as a people and a nation.”  The recordings selected are; “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and are at least 10 years old. 
 
Here is today's article in the Washington Post  with my thoughts on this important work. http://wapo.st/1BMfMxz.
Here is the link to the full list. http://1.usa.gov/1xgYAow.
 
I’d like to invite you to celebrate the rich audio history of America with me every Wednesday on my Facebook page. We will highlight a piece of history from the archive in my "Amplifying the Voices, Saving Our Sounds" series.  There are over 400 unique and special audio artifacts just waiting to be explored.
 
My colleague Steven Feld and I have a few stand outs we'd like to mention: In terms of American vernacular and popular music there are significant folk and blues artists like Ben E. King and Joan Baez in addition to great pop recordings from RadioHead and Lauryn Hill. 
 
From the standpoint of preservation of early recordings two items deserve special mention and praise. One of them is the 1890-1910 collection of vernacular recordings, which makes clear the importance of home-made American cylinder recordings. This kind of home recording is the precursor to the home-taping that became popular after WWII, (and indeed the precursor to the famous practice of Deadhead concert taping.) When people take recording technology into their own hands all kinds of things happen, and this is really a window into that prehistory.
 
A particular jewel in the crown in the World music category is the selection of The Benjamin Ives Gilman Collection, recorded at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition at Chicago. Gilman was an academic psychologist and museum curator. His World Fair recordings were unique in many ways, certainly in the range of styles, countries, cultures, and artists recorded at a single moment and in a single place in 1893. 
 
Remember that we can build this this digital treasure together.  Click here to see how to submit your recommendation to the NRPB board for 2015.  http://1.usa.gov/1GVa1SU