NYPR Archives & Preservation
March 3, 2017 - Volume 16  Issue 09
Edition # 751


1955: Gilbert Seldes, cultural critic and author, comments in his show The Lively Arts on the stupidity of living in a world with atomic bombs. He also talks about the coming of television to Sweden and the promise of subscription television in the United States.

1969: On this edition of Black Man in AmericaDr. John Henrik Clarke, historian and editor of Harlem: A Community in Transition, talks about the fascinating ethnic history of the Striver's Row neighborhood.

1974: On The Reader's Almanac  Walter James Miller interviews Dr. Gerald Greenberger and John McGee, magazine writer, about Dr. Greenberger's book Everything You Should Know About Acupuncture.

Alice's Restaurant - An Early Rendition

February 18, 1967 


The Scene: WNYC's American Music Festival concert at Carnegie Hall, hosted by Oscar Brand with Len Chandler, John Hammond, Tom Paxton, Jean Ritchie and a nineteen-year-old Arlo Guthrie.


"In truth he didn't think the youngster was all that special. Brand would later reminisce, 'I knew he was a kid. I was just doing him a favor by putting him on because, what the hell, he was Woody's kid.'  The afternoon of the Carnegie concert Arlo asked Brand, 'How long do I have, Oscar?' Brand told him that every performer was expected to adhere to a twenty-five minute segment. As long as they stayed within their allotted time, performers could choose to perform as many songs as they wished. 'Twenty-five minutes is one song,' Guthrie frowned. 'What do you mean that's one song?' Brand replied incredulously. Following Brand's own set, Arlo managed to perform two original songs in his segment:  I'm Going Home, a slight but pretty autumn song written in the Berkshires, and Alice's Restaurant. An attending New York Times critic described Guthrie's long-winded talking blues as 'an amusing but pointed spoken monologue on the vagaries of law enforcement, the selective service draft and their relation to the war in Vietnam.' "

Source: Reineke, Hank, Arlo Guthrie: The Warner/Reprise Years, Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2012, pgs. 47-48.

Editor's Note: This was one of Guthrie's earliest public performances of Alice's Restaurant (if not the earliest). The Times brief review by Alan Hughes was printed on page 71 of the paper the following day. The ballad reportedly aired a number of times over WBAI in 1966.

The archives staff spends all day surrounded by our history and keeping track of our present. We’ve been part of some incredible moments. But we couldn’t have done any of it without supporters like you. So please, keep us going strong with a show of support – give now at:

WNYC first day of broadcast, July 8, 1924 (Municipal Archives Collection)

WQXR's Great Artists program has recently shifted from 'shows' to 'series' on the web. We're making this transition with all other archive shows that are no longer on the air. We expect this will improve on access and allow for more options through link rolls. 

Q2 has been raiding the archives! Check out the reincarnation of WNYC's 1985 series Meet the Composer with host Tim Page.

Also, Page with John Cage.

And Page with Otto Luening.

The New York Public Radio Archives Celebrates Women's History Month. We've pulled together some of the department's leading preservation work, series and sonic artifacts concerning women's history.
WNYC celebrated its 92nd anniversary this past July. Just think, 7-and-a-half short years to the big centennial. In this space we'll be linking to various historical WNYC champions, broadcasts and milestones celebrating nearly a century on the air in the public interest. This week: David Randolph: The Father of Weekly Thematic Music Programming.

This week's post on the NEH-funded Annotations blog series is Agnes de Mille: Trailblazer in National Sponsorship of the Arts.

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Interested in revisiting some of the 750 previous issues of The New York Public Radio History Notes? We've put up links for editions since June 2013. See: History Notes.

Welcome to the WNYC Archives NEH Map 

In 2015, we began work on a National Endowment for the Humanities grant project to digitize and provide access to some 600 hours of archival WNYC broadcasts from the 1930s to the 1970s, pulled from the New York City Municipal Archives' massive WNYC collection. That’s nearly two thousand programs that can now be heard again.

The map, inspired by A. G. Lorimer’s 1937 painting of our Greenpoint transmitter, plots some of the hundreds of voices we’ve unearthed in our work on our two-year grant. Any place referred to and discussed in depth by the men and women who stood in front of WNYC microphones is pinpointed here. You can ride along with Robert Weinberg Around New York, or linger and scan the evolution of Robert Moses’ grand plans for the Coliseum at Columbus Circle. You can hang with one of New York’s  hippest mayors, John Lindsay, on MacDougal St., head abroad to investigate the Tunguska Event in Siberia with Radio Moscow, or brush up on the 1950s rise of Pan-Africanism in Accra, Ghana.

This map is a work-in-progress created by Ben Houtman with special thanks to the folks at NYPR Data News.


The WNYC Archives is on Twitter with 3,075 followers @wnycarchives. We tweet regular reminders of, and links to, WNYC broadcasts from that day in the past.
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