Sounds of America

June 24th, 2010 by Sarah Laleman Ward

The National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress is an amazing collection of “sound recordings and collections of sound recordings that are culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and that are at least 10 years old. This collection is an attempt to capture the sounds of American history.

A couple of neat things about the registry:

1. You, the citizens of the United States of America, can nominate sound recordings to be added to the National Recording Registry. Criteria for nominations can be found here:

2. The registry includes such cultural artifacts as: a 1907 recording of Tenor Enrico Caruso singing “Vesti la giubba,” a famous aria from Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci ; a 1945 recording of former New York mayor Fiorello Laguardia reading the comics to the children of New York City on WNYC; Public Enemy’s “Fear of a Black Planet” from 1990, and so much more! View the full registry here:

3. You can listen to a montage of the entries to the registry from 2007 and 2009.

It’s sort of a fun thing to explore, year to year, to see what the Librarian of Congress decided to add to the collection. If you think it is missing something, suggest a recording. Who knows – maybe it will get added and you will have an impact on future generations of researchers of American history!

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