Electronic Resource & Database Access

There will be no off-campus access to Library electronic resources and databases this Friday, November 28 from 6-10pm. Library buildings are also closed for the Thanksgiving holiday during that time.

Performing Arts Collection: Historical Sound Recordings

The Department of Special Collections holds over 250,000 audio recordings in a variety of formats. Some of these recordings are unique, while many more are commercially issued 78 rpm and cylinder recordings. Commercial recordings are cataloged in the Library’s online catalog, while unique recordings are most often indexed in collection finding guides in the Online Archive of California. This partial list highlights some of the larger collections held by the Library.

Collections of Commercial Sound Recordings

  • Adams (Carlisle) collection (PA Mss 23)
    • Approximately 5,000 vocal 78 rpm sound recordings.
  • Arabic wax cylinders, ca. 1900 (PA Mss 42)
    • Twenty-one commercial brown wax cylinder recordings, made in Damascus, Syria.
  • Archive of recorded vocal music (PA Mss 19)
    • Approximately 18,000 vocal recordings from the first half of the 20th century.
  • Florey (Robert) Sound Recording Collection (PA 2001-001)
    • Film director Robert Florey’s collection of early French 78 rpm recordings. The collection includes many French popular recordings from 1900 to 1940, including recordings by Dramen, Polin, Felix Mayol, Mistinguett, Charlus, Berard, and Chevalier among others.
  • James (Harry and Grace) Collection (PA Mss 5)
    • Donated by Harry and Grace James to UC-Riverside and subsequently transferred to UCSB, the James collection contains approximately 15,000 recordings, including long runs of Victor and Columbia 78 rpm album sets.
  • Kingsbaker/Moeller/Bang collection (PA 2000-003)
    • Jazz and dance orchestra 78s and LPs and a large number of trade catalogs relating to Jazz and popular music.
  • Lucas (Johnny) sound recording collection (PA 2001-007)
    • Collection of jazz 78s of dixieland trumpeter Johnny Lucas (Firehouse Five), including unreleased acetate recordings.
  • Moran (William R.) Collection (PA Mss 57)
    • Collection of author and discographer William R. Moran.
  • Rich (Blanche Browning) Collection (PA 2002-005, PA 2002-006)
    • 1,400 Edison Blue Amberol cylinder recordings and 6,400 Edison Diamond Discs, all unplayed dealer stock.
  • Singletary Collection (PA 1998-012)
    • Donated by Barbara and Bart Singletary, the collection contains approximately 375 78 rpm recordings, mostly of Duke Ellington and Ellington Units.
  • Stokowski (Leopold) test pressings (PA 1999-011)
    • Stokowski’s personal collection of Victor test pressings.
  • Stuart collection (PA 1999-008)
    • 3,000 78 rpm recordings, strong in popular and dance band music as well as spoken word.
  • Todd (Verne) collection (PA Mss 1)
    • Extensive collection of popular, classical, jazz, and other sound recordings and related ephemera.
  • White (Phyllis) collection (PA 2001-015)
    • 3,500 78 rpm recordings, primarily vocal music. White was the wife of Anthony Boucher.
  • Williams (Frederick P.) Papers and Collection (PA Mss 72)
    • Papers and collection of band historian and record collector Frederick P. Williams.

Collections with Unique Sound Recordings