The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
Michigan State University. Vincent Voice Library
East Lansing, Michigan
Repository URL: http://vvl.lib.msu.edu
Repository code: miem
Repository description (CRHP): The library has grouped a number of relevant speeches, lectures, press statements, oral history interviews, and broadcasts together as "civil rights" and "labor" recordings; other finding aid categories also hold content related to civil rights efforts. See, for instance, VVL-01-0933 (Collected speeches and news broadcasts about labor unions and the labor movement in the United States).
Repository description (extant): The G. Robert Vincent Voice Library is a collection of over 40,000 hours of spoken word recordings, dating back to 1888. The collection includes the voices of over 100,000 persons from all walks of life. Political and cultural leaders and minor players in the human drama are captured and cataloged to serve the research needs of a local, national and international user base. Clients include students and faculty of Michigan State University, other scholars and researchers, broadcasting networks, news agencies and film, video, and Web production companies.
[. . .] The Vincent Voice Library is a collection of primary source sound material, found mainly in speech, interview, lecture and performance formats. It is the largest academic voice library in the United States and is part of the Michigan State University Libraries.
The collection is stored primarily on reels of magnetic recording tape. Items represent, in most cases, a migration from other recording formats, off-air broadcasts, or Voice Library original recordings. New items are mastered digitally and a retrospective digital re-mastering of existing analog recordings is underway. About 15,000 digital sound files have been created.
Voice recordings are really the product of the Twentieth Century and very few exist which were made prior to 1900. Sound was distributed more widely with the coming of radio in the 1920's and more signals meant the likelihood of more things being recorded. The Voice Library collection begins to reflect the greater prevailing culture beginning in the 1930's and 1940's, with the coming of FDR.
Strong areas of collection emphasis include, American and foreign politics and government, labor history, show business and media history, academic lectures, sports, popular culture, literature and the arts and Michigan State University history.
Repository Notes (CRHP): In addition to the recordings documented separately in this database, the library holds recordings that are of potential interest to CRM researchers, but were deemed peripheral to the scope of this survey; these recordings are compiled in a Word document attached to this repository entry as an upload.
Repository type: University Special Collection
[Civil rights recordings]