Homepage logo Project Homepage [spacer] Search Collection Browse Collection Project Overview Cylinder History Donate Collections Help Contact Us Links Links [spacer] Special Collections UCSB Libraries Banner

Historical Speeches on
Edison Cylinders

Podcast

M3U

Thomas Edison originally envisioned sound recording as a tool for office dictation and not popular amusement, but eventually entertainment, primarily recorded music, prevailed. Nonetheless, from the earliest days of recorded sound, spoken word was also recorded on cylinders and sold for educational purposes such as language instruction, edification of the people through exposure to historical speeches, as well as for entertainment, including comic monologues and vaudeville sketches. This program presents examples of the second of these three categories.

Speeches by contemporary figures were recorded because of their current fame like the cylinders of actress Sarah Bernhard or because of their political importance such as the cylinders of Roosevelt, Taft, and Bryan. They are significant today becuase they are still important historical figures, but also because their voices are not well known today. Edison infrequently recorded, but his famous speech about WWI can be heard here. Other cylinders, like the recitations by Harry Humphrey including his dramatization of Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech show which historical figures were admired and how history was viewed in the early 20th century.

This program begins with a cylinder that is somewhat different, Len Spencer's famous "Advertising Record" where he personifies the phonograph in a speech designed to demonstrate and sell phonographs in stores. This cylinder, recorded purely for commercial purposes has become historically significant itself, not unlike the famous television commercials created by Coca-Cola or Apple Computer. - David Seubert, UC Santa Barbara


An initiative of the UC Santa Barbara Library • (805) 893-5444 • Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9010. [Envelope] Direct questions or comments about the project or this page to the project staff or visit the help pages.

Featured Cylinder

Zacatecas marcha - Banda Española. (Columbia Phonograph Co.: 40322), [between 1904 and 1909].


Cylinder Radio

Listen to a podcast or live stream of early black artists and composers on Cylinder Radio

Podcast icon


Facebook icon Like us on Facebook


Keyword Search



Did You Know?
"Dialect recordings" were common cylinder recordings and were often negative portrayals of the Irish, African-Americans and other ethnic groups.

Creative Commons License
Copyright and licensing information