Thursday, August 02, 2012

"...accessible day or night to all the bores he knows..."

The quote is from an Eric Bliven, writing in the New Republic in 1922, as he mused about the present and future impact of new technologies on social life; it almost sounds a little like a vision of Facebook doesn't it? ;-) The quote is found in a book on order for the library, Music, Sound and Technology in America. It is an edited collection of primary source documents on the emerging technologies of a century ago, when recorded music and radio were creating the mass market culture we still inhabit today, expanded by the Internet, Facebook, smart phones...

We have a number of books in our catalog about the early days of radio, movies and the music industry. Article databases like America: History and Life would be good for secondary source articles, and the New York Times Historical database would have articles from the time on such events as the debut of Al Jolson in the Jazz Singer, the first full length "talkie." The American Memory site at the Library of Congress has a section on music and film, including for example a collection of early Edison sound and film recordings.

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