The Music Division, WETA-FM and CD Syndications are production partners for this new series of 13 one-hour programs. Accompanying the radio broadcasts is a companion Web site offering a glimpse into the Music Division’s treasures—more than 22 million individual items that make up the world’s largest music archives. Original manuscripts and sketches by J. S. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Copland, Gershwin and many others, along with letters, photographs and memorabilia, will be accessible. Unique documents and artifacts, such as Paganini’s private pocket diary and a handwritten 1765 account of an eyewitness interview with a 9-year-old Mozart, will also be included as part of the companion presentations, as will audio and video excerpts of the concerts.
From large battery-operated table models to tiny transistors to portable units that can play songs from your iPod, radios have come a long way. But the question of who invented the radio has been one of debate. Although Gugliemo Marconi is generally thought to be the father of the wireless radio, experiments and discoveries by many other scientists and physicists contributed to its development. Alessandro Volta’s 1838 invention of the battery and Andre Ampere’s scientific studies about electricity and magnetism helped Samuel Morse invent the first electric telegraph machine. In 1865, Washington, D.C., dentist Dr. Mahlon Loomis began experimenting with the idea of wireless messaging or what he called “wireless telegraphy.” He was able to make a meter connected to one kite cause another one to move, marking the first known instance of wireless aerial communication. The exhibition “American Treasures of the Library of Congress” showcases some of his items, including pages from his journal and early speculative sketches illustrating the possibility of transoceanic wireless communication.