NYPR Archives & Preservation
January 9, 2015 - Volume 14  Issue 2
Edition # 640


1925: A baseball chat with Fred Lieb.  Note: Frederick Lieb (1888-1980) was a sportswriter and baseball historian. At the age of 89 he published his memoirs, Baseball As I Have Known It, documenting nearly 70 years as a baseball reporter.

1966: WNYC's architecture critic Robert C. Weinberg reports on (and laments) the demolition of the Ziegfeld Theatre at 6th Avenue & West 53rd St. He reviews the architectural details of the 1927 classic designed by Joseph Urban in the Art Nouveau style.

1975: Meyer Levin discusses his new book, The Spell of Time, with Walter James Miller on The Reader's Almanac.

2004: The Next Big Thing revisits breaking news from Walter Winchell for January 11, 1948.
Inventions on the Air!
WQXR's Dorothea Beckman ponders the inventiveness of inventors as she attempts to determine which of the gadgets before her will be included on a special program on inventors for July 28, 1937. Among the inventions are mop cleaners, golf stroke teachers, fencing aids, window shade roller slower-uppers, and other devices too numerous to mention. (Acme News Photo/WQXR Archive Collections)
Those 'Dusty' Archives
It's true, we do occasionally find valuable things in less than wholesome places like damp basements, forgotten crawl spaces and blistering hot attic corners. But I would venture a guess that 96% of the time we are neither digging up nor dusting off aural relics, like some prospecting Indiana Jones of the library desk set.

Believe it or not, a great many of our choicest bits of the past are cataloged (to one degree or another) and neatly arranged by format in a well-lit, temperature-humidity controlled room with compact moveable shelving. There is no dirt, no shovels, nor pick axes. There is a little dust, but there is a little dust just about everywhere. And there may be a faint scent of vinegar from degrading acetate tape or some stale bit of off-gassing from vintage lacquer discs.

By and large, it is our task to make these materials knowable and accessible, not to keep them hidden. (Reminder, Producers you can access the catalog). Still, (sigh) people love that image, a gritty romantic cliché of discovery really: The crusading archivist in the jungle of his/her own collection wearing a tan fedora with white cotton gloves, carrying a pack of acid-free record sleeves in pursuit of sonic treasures to be rescued from oblivion. Okay, I will not disabuse you of the stereotype. Give me a musty, crumbling sepia-toned box of broadcast recordings and I will gladly plumb its depths.
Andy Lanset
WNYC first day of broadcast, July 8th, 1924 (Municipal Archives Collection)

  WQXR - 'Long Reads' from WWII

Memories of WQXR
"In the hot summers of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in the early '50s we kids would congregate after supper on the stoops in front of the apartment buildings and chat. I quickly got bored of hearing about 'dem Dodgers' and brought down from my parents' apartment my Emerson portable radio to listen to 1560AM. The sound attracted another music lover, who taught me about the rudiments of classical music.

"We never heard the chatter and ramblings of the batting averages and the Yankees vs. the Dodgers. I escaped boredom and was hooked for a lifetime of QXR and beautiful meaningful music."
Harold Edelstein, from Hudson, MA 1/29/2012


WNYC celebrated its 90th anniversary this year. We're now officially a nonagenarian radio station. In this space we'll be linking to various historical WNYC champions and milestones. This week: Virgil Thomson on What Makes a Good Music Critic.

The New York City Police Academy training, circa 1961. From the collection, New York: A Portrait in Sound.

The WNYC Facebook page has a station timeline (1922-present) with more than 600 milestones, photos, and links to audio. (Right hand column) This week:1946.
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 Check out the @mayorlaguardia Twitter feed straight from the WNYC broadcasts! His Honor now has 558 followers.

The WNYC Archives is on Twitter with 2,332 followers @wnycarchives. We tweet daily reminders of, and links to, WNYC broadcasts from that day in the past.
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