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 UCSB Library.

Collections of Commercial Sound Recordings

  • Adams (Carlisle) Collection (PA Mss 23). Approximately 5,000 vocal 78 rpm sound recordings.
  • African 78 rpm Recording Collection. Collection of over 1,200 commercial African 78 rpm recordings, 1920s-1960s.
  • 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.
  • Bastin (Bruce)/Interstate Music Collection. Collection of 10,000 78 rpm recordings from Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain, and Portugal.
  • 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, Bérard, and Maurice Chevalier among others.
  • Hill (Donald R.) Papers and Collection (PA Mss 118). Papers of anthropologist Don Hill, focusing on his fieldwork on the Carribbean island of Carriacou, as well as his collections of LP and 78rpm ethnic recordings, primarily African, Latin American, and Carribbean, as well as ethnographic postcards.
  • Häupl (Benno) Collection (PA Mss 122) Collection of over 9,000 early ethnomusicological sound recordings and photographic images.
  • 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 78rpm 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.
  • Kuğay (Kutay Derin) Collection. Collection of 500 Turkish and Greek 78rpm recordings.
  • Levin (John) Collection. Collection of 19th-century brown wax cylinder recordings.
  • Lotz (Rainer) Collection. Collection of ethnic 78 rpm recordings of noted German discographer.
  • 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.
  • Nordskog Phonograph Recording Company Collection (PA Mss 101). Collection of published and unpublished recordings and research files related to early Los Angeles, California, recording company.
  • Pecourt (Edouard) Tango and Latin American Music Collection (PA Mss 78). Extensive collection of Latin American music and tango recordings and supporting manuscript and published materials, as well as early French wax cylinders.
  • 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 78rpm 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 78rpm recordings, strong in popular and dance band music as well as spoken word.
  • Swerilas (Ken) Collection. Collection of Western Swing and Decca "race" records.
  • 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 78rpm 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.
  • Wolff (Ditte) Collection. Collection of folk, jazz, and blues 78rpm discs and folk revival, labor union, and protest music song books.
  • Zeitgeschichte Collection. Collection of sound recordings, including historical speeches and radio broadcasts, primarily from Germany in the 1910s-1950s

Collections with Unique Sound Recordings