Where can I find an old, old record?
April 19, 2010 7:35 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a very old record that might or might not exist. Sources?

I am looking for recordings from a particular singer -- a soprano working on the radio in Chicago, on KYW (now a Philly station, still owned by Westinghouse), from 1924 to 1931 at least. I know she performed/"recorded" piano rolls for Vocalstyle in Cincinnati, which is what makes me wonder/hope if she might have cut a record singing.

Where would I go to research this? I know very little about old records. I don't actually care if it's the physical record or a digital recording of the physical record or what; I don't need to own the artifact, just the voice.
posted by Eyebrows McGee to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
If you'd be willing to post the name of the singer, then it might be easier to help you.
posted by sciencegeek at 7:41 AM on April 19, 2010

Perhaps she is listed here?
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:02 AM on April 19, 2010

If I knew her name, I'd search GEMM.
posted by klangklangston at 8:12 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's something online about early radio recordings
posted by sciencegeek at 9:27 AM on April 19, 2010

KYW was established by Samuel Insull to broadcast the performances of the Chicago Civic Opera (link). The Lyric Opera of Chicago (link) is the current owner of the old Civic Opera House, which was also built by Insull and housed the Civic Opera before they went bankrupt in 1932. They seem like the most likely organization to have historical recordings and documents from the Civic Opera era.
posted by bgrebs at 12:05 PM on April 19, 2010

After some digging, I found some information on a woman named Ruth Mack who recorded under a couple of other names.
posted by sciencegeek at 12:29 PM on April 19, 2010

I have the pianola information (it's where I got the info about the piano rolls); I've searched GEMM with no luck; and I've contacted the KYW station to find out about their archives and was given a couple of leads. (I've also contacted a friend at the Chicago Trib to find out the best way to search their archives for those years.)

I'll try the opera links ... the music library link didn't seem to turn anything up. Would the Library of Congress have very early recordings or only "important" ones? Would the companies that own the radio stations have at least lists of those early shows?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:10 AM on April 20, 2010

« Older You used to put water on my bedside table every...   |   Pulse + distance watch Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.