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Collection The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

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  1. 1950

    Songs of America

    Elinor Remick Warren writes "God Be In My Heart."

    Aaron Copland's first set of Old American Songs includes settings of "The Boatmen's Dance," "The Dodger," "Long Time Ago," "Simple Gifts," and "I Bought Me A Cat."

    Seeger Family Concert. Mike, Peggy, and Pete Seeger with the Short Sisters, recorded at the Library of Congress, March 16, 2007 [webcast].


    Gian Carlo Menott writes: The Consul

    Marc Chagall paints King David

    Oliver Strunk publishes Source Readings in Music History

    The folk music group The Weavers release their first big hit, Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter's "Goodnight, Irene," bringing national attention to the growing folk music revival. Formed in 1948, the Weavers consisted of Ronnie Gilbert, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman, and Pete Seeger.

    In the News

    Joseph McCarthy begins anti-Communist investigations

    President Truman approves building a hydrogen bomb

    Korean War begins (to 1953); Douglas MacArthur leads United Nations forces

    "God be in my heart" [sheet music]
    The Weavers
  2. 1951

    Songs of America

    Aaron Copland composes Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson.

    Ned Rorem (born 1923) composes his Cycle of Holy Songs, on Psalm texts.


    Census Bureau purchases first UNIVAC computer

    Virgil Thomson resigns as music critic of the New York Herald Tribune

    Arthur S. Alberts publishes "Hunting Musical Game in West Africa" in National Geographic, discussing his collection of West African music and songs and their relationship to African American musical styles. Dance song with solo vocal, sung by a local singer known as "Lizahbet." Recorded by Arthur S. Alberts in what is today Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso in 1949. Arthur S. Alberts Collection, AFC 1953/008: AFS 10,754 A9.

    In the News

    Julius and Ethel Rosenberg convicted of espionage and sentenced to death

    The 22nd amendment limits the president to two terms

    Truman recalls MacArthur from Korea

    Ned Rorem
    West African dance
  3. 1952

    Songs of America

    Aaron Copland's second set of Old American Songs, written for baritone William Warfield, includes settings of "The Little Horses," "Zion's Walls," "The Golden Willow Tree," "At the River," and "Ching-A-Ring Chaw."

    "La pajaro pinta," a Puerto Rican dance song sung by Cruz Losada. Recorded by Sidney Robertson Cowell in Oakland, California on April 10, 1939.


    John Cage writes his piano composition 4'33" during which the pianist does not play.

    Samuel Beckett publishes Waiting for Godot

    Otto Luening’s book Electronic Tape Music

    In the News

    Elizabeth II crowned Queen of England

    University of Tennessee admits its first African-American student

    Puerto Rico accepts a new constitution and joins the United States commonwealth on July 25, 1952.

    Richard Nixon's "Checkers Speech" to refute charges of financial misdeeds

    Queen Elizabeth II
  4. 1953

    Songs of America

    William Grant Still sets to music "Grief" by LeRoy V. Brant.

    Leontyne Price and Samuel Barber premiere Barber's Hermit Songs at the Library of Congress.

    "Konomihu lullaby," a lullaby sung by Ellen Brazill Grant. Mrs. Grant, who was born about 1850, was one of the last native speakers of Konomihu. Recorded by Helen Heffron Roberts in the remote northern California community of Somes Bar in 1926. Roberts made ten recordings of Konomihu songs on dictaphone cylinders. Helen Heffron Roberts Collection. AFS 19,879: 3.


    Aaron Copland summoned before McCarthy's subcommittee

    Arthur Miller writes The Crucible

    Ellsworth Kelly paints Spectral Colors Arranged by Chance

    Marine explorer Jacques Cousteau publishes Silent World

    In the News

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower inaugurated as thirty-fourth President of the U.S.; achieves goal of ending Korean War

    Julius and Ethel Rosenberg executed

    Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev die on the same day

    Refugee Relief Act allows those fleeing Communism to enter U.S.

    The Survey of California and Other Indian Languages is established, bringing together scholars studying various indigenous languages of California and the western region. The Survey grew out of work done to understand the interrelationships of western language groups and from a concern for the rapid extinction of Indian languages.

    Ethel and Julius Rosenberg
  5. 1954

    Songs of America

    Irving Fine (1914-1962) writes Childhood Fables for Grownups on texts by Gertrude Norman.

    Sonny Burgess and The Pacers of Arkansas perform rockabilly songs and music at the Library of Congress, October 18, 2006. This performance includes songs composed by Burgess, including his signature "Red Headed Woman," first recorded in 1955. [webcast]


    Gian Carlo Menotti writes The Saint of Bleecker Street

    J.R.R. Tolkien publishes The Lord of the Rings in three volumes

    Musician and composer Sonny Burgess forms the band The Moonlighters, later renamed The Pacers. The Pacers are among the first bands to combine boogie woogie, Gospel, country music, and emerging rock and roll styles in what came to be known as "rockabilly."

    First Newport Jazz Festival

    In the News

    Brown v. Board of Education overturns "separate but equal" doctrine

    First tests of polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk

    President Eisenhower introduces "domino theory" of communism at news conference

    Televised Army-McCarthy hearings lead to censure of Senator McCarthy

    First nuclear submarine, U.S.S. Nautilius, launched

    U.S. and Canada approve Distant Early Warning Line to warn against surprise Russian attack

    Newport Jazz Festival poster
    Students at a desegregated school
  6. 1955

    Songs of America

    Lee Hoiby (1926-2011) writes Songs of the Fool, a song cycle for voice and lute on texts from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

    Dominick Argento (born 1927) sets to music poems by E. E. Cummings in Songs About Spring.

    "The Candidate's a Dodger," performed by Pete, Peggy, and Mike Seeger at the Library of Congress, March 16, 2007.


    Marian Anderson is the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera

    Oscar Kokoschka paints Thermopylae Triptych

    Pierre Boulez writes Le Marteau sans Maître

    Avery Claflin’s madrigal Lament for April 15, text from IRS tax form instructions

    In the News

    First U.S. "advisors" arrive in South Vietnam

    Pete Seeger is subpoenaed to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee on August 18, 1955. He refuses to name his personal or political affiliations on the grounds that the question violated his First Amendment rights. Subsequently he is indicted and then convicted of contempt of Congress in 1961. The conviction is overturned in 1962.

    Eisenhower gives first U.S. presidential news conference taped for television

    Warsaw Pact signed by the Soviet Union, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania

    Merger of AFL and CIO labor unions

    Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California

    Montgomery Bus Boycott following arrest of Rosa Parks; Martin Luther King, Jr. first gains prominence as civil rights leader

    Pete Seeger
  7. 1956

    Songs of America

    Dominick Argento writes Ode to the West Wind for soprano and orchestra on a text by Percy Bysshe Shelley.


    Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady opens on Broadway

    Leonard Bernstein writes Candide

    In the News

    Egypt nationalizes Suez Canal

    Work begins on interstate highway system

    Soil Bank Act is passed

    My Fair Lady poster
    Interstate highway cartoon
  8. 1957

    Songs of America

    Ned Rorem sets several Walt Whitman poems, including "As Adam, Early in the Morning," "Sometimes With One I Love," and "Look Down, Fair Moon."

    Dominick Argento writes Six Elizabethan Songs.


    West Side Story is created by Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins

    James Agee publishes A Death in the Family

    Jack Kerouac publishes On the Road

    Wham-O begins selling a flying disk toy soon to be called a Frisbee

    In the News

    U.S.S.R. launches Sputnik satellite into Earth's orbit

    Governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, calls out National Guard to stop nine black students from entering a Little Rock high school; Eisenhower sends Federal troops to ensure desegregation

    Eisenhower Doctrine provides aid for countries in the Middle East to fight communism

    First successful test by the U.S. of intercontinental ballistic missile

    Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
  9. 1958

    Songs of America

    Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987) composes a cycle of Emily Dickinson Songs.

    Experimental composer John Cage writes his Aria for unaccompanied voice.


    Leonard Bernstein becomes music director of New York Philharmonic and launches Young People's Concerts

    The first commercial stereo disc recordings appear.

    Gian Carlo Menotti and Thomas Schippers found Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy

    Truman Capote publishes Breakfast at Tiffany’s

    Edgard Varèse's Poème électronique is premiered at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair

    Van Cliburn wins first International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in the U.S.S.R.

    In the News

    New Zealand explorer Edmund Hillary reaches South Pole

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is formed

    U.S. launches first artificial satellite: Explorer 1

    North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) formed

    Leonard Bernstein
  10. 1959

    Songs of America

    Gary Haleamau performs traditional Hawai'ian music from Las Vegas, Nevada[webcast]. Recorded at the Library of Congress August 20, 2008.


    Ground-breaking for Lincoln Center in New York

    Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum opens in New York

    The Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center is established with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation

    In the News

    Nikita Krushchev and Fidel Castro visit the U.S.

    Luna 2, launched by the U.S.S.R., is first spacecraft to impact on the Moon.

    Alaska becomes 49th state

    Hawai'i becomes the 50th state.

    St. Lawrence Seaway opens to connect Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes

    Charles Van Doren admits to receiving answers during quiz show scandal investigation

    Model of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
  11. 1960

    In the News

    First student "sit-in" at lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina

    Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) formed

    U-2 spy plane incident in which American pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down in Soviet airspace

    Televised presidential debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon

  12. 1961

    In the News

    Eisenhower warns of "military-industrial complex"

    John F. Kennedy inaugurated as thirty-fifth President of the U.S.; youngest elected president and first Catholic

    Peace Corps founded

    Bay of Pigs crisis in Cuba

    CORE "freedom riders" attacked while testing racial integration of interstate bus system

    Berlin Wall constructed in Germany

    Agency for International Development (USAID) created

    Berlin Wall
  13. 1962

    Songs of America

    Margaret MacArthur, performs folksongs and ballads of Vermont at the Library of Congress, June 21, 2005.


    Folksong collector and singer Margaret MacArthur publishes her first album, Folksongs of Vermont, which was recorded in her kitchen.

    First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy's televised tour of the White House

    In the News

    Astraonaut John Glenn is the first American to orbit Earth

    Students for a Democratic Society issue Port Huron statement

    African-American student James Meredith admitted to University of Mississippi

    Cuban Missile Crisis between the U.S. and U.S.S.R over placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba

    Folk dance musicians
  14. 1963


    Philips introduces the Compact Cassette tape format, and offers licenses worldwide.

    Betty Friedan publishes The Feminine Mystique

    In the News

    Martin Luther King, Jr. writes "Letter from Birmingham Jail" after being arrested for participating in a civil rights protest in Alabama

    King gives "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial during March for Jobs and Freedom

    Black church bombed in Birmingham, Alabama; four young girls killed

    John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas; Lyndon Johnson becomes thirty-sixth President of the U.S.

  15. 1964

    Songs of America

    Reverb, a Washington, D.C. a capella group, recorded at the Library of Congress, February 7, 2007 [webcast]. The first five songs in this concert are staples of the Civil Rights Movement.


    The Beatles first appear on the Ed Sullivan show

    In the News

    President Johnson announces War on Poverty

    24th Amendment abolishes poll taxes for voting

    Freedom Summer in Mississippi to register African-American voters and engage in community organizing

    Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlaws major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women.

    Gulf of Tonkin, off the coast of northern Vietnam, incident leads to Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which allowed President Johnson to escalate the undeclared war in Vietnam

    Warren Commission report concludes Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assassinating John F. Kennedy

    Free Speech Movement begins at the University of California, Berkeley

    Martin Luther King, Jr. awarded Nobel Peace Prize

    Lyndon B. Johnson elected president

    Civil Rights bill cartoon
  16. 1965

    Songs of America

    "DaNang Lullaby," a song about "Operation Rolling Thunder," sung by James P. "Bull" Durham, who served as a pilot during the Vietnam War. Recorded at the Library of Congress, July 13, 1989.

    Sreevidhya Chandramouli with Poovalur Sriji. Sreevidhya Chandramouli of Portland, Oregon performs South Indian vina music and songs in Sanscrit with Poovalur Sriji on the mridangam (drum) and her two sons, Kapila and Sushruta, on tambura. Recorded at the Library of Congress, August 20, 2009 [webcast].

    Augustín Lira and Alma and Quetzal: Cantos de mi cantón, Chicano Music from California. The groups Alma and Quetzal perform songs related to the Chicano Movement, 1965 to the present. Recorded at the Library of Congress, September 14, 2011 (webcast).


    Augustín Lira and Luis Valdezco found the theater company El Teatro Campesino during the Delano Grape Strike headed by César Chávez. The company creates songs and plays and performs at picket lines and rallies, providing a venue for the cultural and artistic expressions of the growing Chicano Movement.

    National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities created

    In the News

    Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society program announced

    Malcolm X assassinated in New York City

    Attack on civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama

    Airforce pilots and Marines arrive at the airfield near DaNang Harbor, Vietnam, as "Operation Rolling Thunder" begins. The Marines are deployed to protect the airfield as Airforce squadrons take off and return from bombing North Vietnamese strategic military sites. This operation marked the beginning of direct warfare between the United States and North Vietnam.

    Voting Rights Act passed by U.S. Congress

    Watts Riots in Los Angeles

    Robert C. Weaver named Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; first African-American cabinet member.

    President Lyndon Johnson signs the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, eliminating per-country immigration quotas and introducing immigration on the basis of professional experience and education. The impact of this law was to increase immigration of non-Europeans and people from southern Europe.

    Vietnam War scene
  17. 1966

    Supreme Court rules in Miranda v. Arizona that police may not question subjects without first advising them of their constitutional rights, now known as "Miranda warning"

  18. 1967

    In the News

    Three astronauts die in a fire in an Apollo space capsule at Cape Kennedy in Florida

    U.S. Supreme Court rules in Loving v. Virginia that states cannot ban interracial marriages

    Six Day War between Israeli and Arab forces

    Summer of Love in San Francisco

    Thurgood Marshall becomes first African-American Supreme Court justice

    Protests against the Vietnam War in Washington, D.C. and New York, among other cities

    Vietnam War protest
  19. 1968

    Songs of America

    "Jolly Green," sung by James P. "Bull" Durham. "Jolly Green Giant" was a nickname for the Sikorsky HH-3E helicopter, used extensively to insert and extract troops during the Vietnam War. Recorded at the Library of Congress, July 13, 1989.

    "Don't Say it Can't Be Done," composed and performed by Pete Seeger. A song written after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in reflection on lessons learned from Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement. Recorded at the Library of Congress, March 16, 2007.

    Dineh Tah Navajo Dancers from Albuquerque, New Mexico, perform at the Library of Congress, November 16, 2005 [webcast]. The singer stands to the left, often off camera, as the dancers take center stage. The members of the troupe, founded in 1993, are mainly college students whose goal is to help foster a greater understanding of Navajo culture.


    The Navajo Nation founds the Navajo Community College (later re-named Diné College), a two-year college and the first college in the U.S. created by and for American Indians. Its programs stress the use of Navajo language and the study of Navajo culture. The college enables many Navajo youths to gain education beyond high school who would not otherwise have an opportunity to do so, and also aids the transfer of graduates into four-year colleges.

    In the News

    The North Vietnamese forces launch the Tet Offensive, attacking key cities and provinces in South Vietnam during an agreed upon cease fire during the Tet holiday. The attack catches South Vietnamese and United States forces off guard. Although the attack is turned back, the large scale of the attack and the loss of American lives is demoralizing to the American public, already discouraged with the progress of the war.

    My Lai massacre by American soldiers in Vietnam

    The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, a day after addressing a rally in support of striking sanitary workers. Riots follow in more than 100 cities.

    Robert F. Kennedy assassinated in Los Angeles

    Chaos at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago

    Helicopters in Vietnam
    In front of the White House after the assassination of Martin Luther King
  20. 1969

    Songs of America


    Woodstock music festival in upstate New York

    In the News

    Richard Nixon inaugurated as thirty-seventh President of the U.S.

    Apollo 11 moon landing

    Charles Manson and his followers murder actress Sharon Tate and others in Los Angeles

    Anti-war protests continue

    Native Americans begin nineteen-month occupation of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay

    Woodstock festival
  21. 1970

    In the News

    Apollo 13 lunar mission returns safely after accident with space craft while in orbit

    Earth Day first celebrated

    Invasion of Cambodia by U.S. forces

    Killing of students by National Guard at Kent State University in Ohio

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established

  22. 1971

    Songs of America

    "Tlingit Rowing Song," sung by the Mt. Edgecumbe School Boys Chorus in southeast Alaska. Arranged and recorded in 1950 by choral director Michael O. Ossorgin (the harmonies in this version of the song are not traditional).

    "Tchepone," a song about the bombing of Tchepone, Laos, during the Vietnam War sung by Chuck Rosenburg. Recorded at the Library of Congress, July 13, 1989.


    John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts opens in Washington, D.C.

    In the News

    The Alaskan Native Claims Settlement Act, the largest land claims act in U.S. history, was signed into law by President Nixon on December 23, 1971, giving lands to Native Alaskans in return for relinquishing rights to aboriginal lands needed for the Alaska oil pipeline project.

    During Operation Lam Son 719 the United States provides air support to an invasion of Laos by South Vietnamese Forces to destroy North Vietnamese bases that were being created to launch attacks against South Vietnam. The United States launched air strikes on the North Vietnamese base at Tchepone, Laos ahead of the arrival of South Vietnamese forces.

    Pentagon Papers published in the New York Times and Washington Post, detailed the history of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam

    National Railroad Passenger Corporation, better known as Amtrak, organized

    Prisoner occupation of Attica prison in New York

    Native Alaskans
  23. 1972

    In the News

    President Nixon visits China

    Five men associated with Nixon's reelection campaign arrested while breaking into the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.

    26th Amendment lowers voting age to 18

    Last U.S. ground forces leave Vietnam

    Senate ratifies SALT-1 arms limitation treaty with the Soviet Union

    Bobby Fischer becomes first American world chess champion

    American swimmer Mark Spitz becomes first athlete to win seven Olympic gold medals during a single Olympiad

    Richard Nixon reelected

    Bobby Fischer
  24. 1973

    Songs of America

    James "Super Chikan" Johnson and Richard Christman of Mississippi performing blues songs at the Library of Congress, May 23, 2006.


    As a budding Mississippi Delta blues musician James "Super Chikan" Johnson begins performing with his uncle Big" Jack Johnson during the period when blues was increasingly blending with rock and roll. Super Chikan went on to develop his own style, compose his own songs, and build his own instruments.

    In the News

    U.S. Supreme Court rules in Roe v. Wade on constitutionality of abortion

    Members of American Indian Movement occupy Wounded Knee, South Dakota, site of 1890 massacre

    Watergate scandal becomes public

    Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns to avoid prosecution for bribery while governor of Maryland

    Blues musician
  25. 1974

    In the News

    Richard Nixon becomes the first president to resign from office. Gerald Ford becomes the thirty-eighth president and pardons Nixon for any crimes he may have committed.

    Ford at hearing to pardon Nixon
  26. 1975

    Songs of America

    Sama Ensemble, concert of Sufi music, song, and dance recorded at the Library of Congress, July 26, 2006 [webcast].

    Natasinh Dancers and Musicians from Iowa, recorded at the Library of Congress, April 25, 2007 [webcast].


    Digital tape recording begins to take hold in professional audio studios.

    In the News

    Iran's Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi abolishes multi-party government, requiring membership in the single Rastakhiz party. This marks a period of growing political unrest. Iranian students in the U.S. begin seeking permanent residence.

    After the Vietnam War, when a communist government takes over Laos in 1975, Laotians begin immigrating to the United States in large numbers.

    Saigon falls to North Vietnamese; U.S. evacuates remaining civilian and military personnel

    United States military academies first admit women

    Apollo-Soyuz space mission between the U.S. and U.S.S.R.

    Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa disappears

  27. 1976

    Songs of America

    Balla Kouyaté and World Vision perform traditional Malian music from Massachusetts. Balla Kouyaté, a griot or djeli, plays the balaphon and performs traditional songs with singer, Adjaratou "Tapani" Demba, Sekou "Pablo" Dembele, Makane Kouyaté, Idrissa Koné, Daniel Day, and Raja Kassis at the Library of Congress, April 28, 2010.


    Alex Haley publishes Roots: The Saga of an American Family, bringing renewed attention to African American history in general, and to the griot or djeli tradition of praise-singers and tribal historians in some African cultures.

    In the News

    Bicentennial of American independence

    Jimmy Carter wins presidential election to become thirty-ninth President of the U.S.

    Balla Kouyaté
  28. 1977

    In the News

    President Carter issues unconditional pardons to all draft evaders from the Vietnam War

    Department of Energy created

  29. 1978

    In the News

    Camp David Accords between Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin; formal agreement signed in 1978

    Jonestown massacre in Guyana included mass suicides by followers of Peoples Temple under Rev. Jim Jones

  30. 1979

    Songs of America

    Dale Jett and the Carter Singers perform a Carter Family Tribute: old time music from Virginia. Recorded at the Library of Congress, September 20, 2005 [webcast]. A concert by descendents of the original Carter Family singers in honor of the work of Janette Carter, recipient of a 2005 National Heritage Fellowship Award.


    Janette Carter, the daughter of composer A.P. Carter and singer Sara Carter of the Carter Family, founds The Carter Family Fold, a performance venue in southwestern Virginia, to showcase and promote traditional Appalachian music.

    In the News

    Three Mile Island nuclear reactor accident in Pennsylvania

    Senate ratifies treaties agreeing to return control of canal zone to Panama in 1999

    Hostage Crisis begins in Iran; hostages freed in January 1981

    Department of Education created

    The Carter Family Singers
    Mountain music
  31. 1980

    Songs of America

    Wayne Newell and Blanch Sockabasin perform traditional Passamaquoddy music From Maine. Recorded at the Library of Congress, Septermber 16, 2009 [webcast].

    D.W. Groethe performs cowboy songs and poetry from Montana at the Library of Congress, July 20, 2005. Groethe, a working cowboy, performs his own compositions along with traditional cowboy songs [webcast]. AFC 2005/025.


    The Western Folklife Center is established in Elko, Nevada to preserve and present folklife of the Western United States. In response to a strong interest in traditional western poetry and song, it sponsors the yearly National Cowboy Poetry Gathering beginning in 1984.

    Sony introduces a palm-sized stereo cassette tape player called a "Walkman."

    In the News

    The Maine Indian Claims Settlement Agreement of 1980, signed into law on October 10, compensates American Indian tribes in Maine for lands taken from them in violation of past treaties. The money awarded to the tribes enables them to buy land, develop tribal businesses, develop educational programs, and invest for their future.

    Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington

    Group performing cowboy songs
    Indian village in Maine
  32. 1981


    Philips demonstrates the Compact Disc (CD).

    In the News

    Ronald Reagan inaugurated as the fortieth President of the U.S.; hostages released in Iran

    Space shuttle Columbia launched on first mission; last space shuttle mission in 2012

    Air traffic controllers go on strike; Reagan fires those who fail to return to work

    Sandra Day O'Connor becomes first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court

    IBM introduces the MS-DOS computer operating system

  33. 1982


    Sony releases the first CD player, the Model CDP-101.

    In the News

    Breakup of AT&T monopoly of regional Bell telephone service

    Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution fails to be ratified by the requisite number of states

  34. 1983

    Songs of America

    "Presentation of Copies of Library of Congress Omaha Wax Cylinder Recordings to the Omaha at the 1983 Powwow in Nebraska: Hethu'shka Song." Sounds of the bells on the costumes of the dancers at the 1983 Powwow can be heard as they dance to the song, celebrating the return of the music of their ancestors. Recorded by Carl Fleischhauer, August 13, 1983.


    The television film The Day After presents the potential effects of nuclear war

    The Library of Congress Federal Cylinder Project begins repatriating early recordings of American Indian music, starting with a selection of Omaha songs presented at the annual powwow.

    In the News

    China eases restrictions on emigration so that Chinese immigrants are able to enter the U.S. in greater numbers. The organization Music From China is founded the next year in New York City with the aim of introducing American audiences to Chinese music, with many of its member musicians having newly arrived in the United States. View a webcast of a performance by three of these musicians: The Ann Yao Trio.

    Omaha Indians dancing to wax cylinders
    Omaha pow wow
  35. 1984

    In the News

    Researchers identify the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)

    Geraldine Ferraro becomes the first woman nominated as a vice presidential candidate when the Democrats choose her as Walter Mondale's running mate

    The Apple Company releases the first Macintosh personal computer

  36. 1985


    "Live Aid" concerts in Philadelphia and London

    In the News

    Coca-Cola resumes producing "old Coke" after the "new Coke" soft drink formula is not a success with consumers

    Oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard's team find the wreck of the R.M.S. Titanic

    Microsoft introduces the mouse-based Windows 1.0 computer operating system

  37. 1986

    In the News

    Space shuttle Challenger explodes moments after lift off in Florida

    Iran-Contra affair of secret arms deals becomes public

  38. 1987

    In the News

    Stock market plunges in October

  39. 1988

    In the News

    Colonel Oliver North is among the individuals indicted for their roles in the Iran-Contra Affair

    Census Bureau announces that for the first time in American history, half of new mothers remain in the workforce

    Civil Liberties Act of 1988 offers both a formal apology and reparations to Japanese Americans interned during World War II

    Lauro F. Cavazos becomes first Hispanic cabinet member with his appointment as secretary of education

  40. 1989


    Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. cancels controversial exhibit of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe; public protests result

    Sitcom Seinfeld premieres on NBC

    In the News

    George H.W. Bush inaugurated as forty-first President of the U.S.

    Oil tanker Exxon Valdez accident in Alaska

    General Colin Powell named chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

    Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 passed in response to the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s

    San Francisco Bay Area rocked by the Loma Prieta earthquake; coincidentally, the third game of the World Series was being played in San Francisco at the time

    President Bush signs law banning smoking on most domestic airline flights

    U.S. forces invade Panama; General Manuel Noriega will surrender in January 1990

  41. 1990


    The write-once CD-R becomes a commercial reality.

    In the News

    Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird" sets transcontinental speed record

    Americans with Disabilities Act

    Operation Desert Shield begins after Iraq invaded Kuwait; U.S. troops sent to Middle East

    Art theft at Isabella Steward Gardner museum in Boston

  42. 1991

    In the News

    The first Gulf War begins with Operation Desert Storm in January against Iraqi forces under Saddam Hussein occupying Kuwait

    Pan American and Eastern Airlines both declare bankruptcy

    Los Angeles police officers are videotaped beating Rodney King during a traffic stop, becoming national news; riots erupted when three of the four officers were acquitted of the racially-motivated beating in 1992.

    U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas and Professor Anita Hill appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to address her accusations of sexual harassment by Thomas

    Breakup of the former Soviet Union into independent republics; Cold War essentially over

  43. 1992


    After a national vote, "young Elvis" beats "old Elvis" to be the first in the United States Postal Services "Legends of American Music" postage stamps

    In the News

    Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer sentenced to life imprisonment

    Tennis great Arthur Ashe announces he contracted HIV from a blood transfusion during heart surgery in 1983. Six months earlier Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson also announced his HIV diagnosis

    Johnny Carson leaves "The Tonight Show" after thirty years on the air; he is succeeded by Jay Leno

    Mob boss John Gotti sentenced to life imprisonment

    Mall of America opens in Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Young Elvis
  44. 1993

    In the News

    William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton inaugurated as forty-second President of the U.S.

    Sears stops printing its famed catalog after a century of publication

    Bomb detonated in the garage of the World Trade Center in New York

    Raid by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents on Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas

    U. S. Holocaust Museum opens in Washington, D.C.

    "Don't ask, don't tell" policy replaces ban on homosexuals serving in the military; "don't ask, don't tell" repealed in 2010

    Astronauts fit the Hubble Space Telescope with a corrective lens which allows the telescope to send back clearer images from space

    Clinton signs the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Canada and Mexico

    Trial scene for World Trade Center bombing
  45. 1994

    In the News

    Figure skater Tonya Harding behind attack on rival skater Nancy Kerrigan

    Kenneth Starr appointed to investigate the Whitewater real estate scandal involving Bill and Hillary Clinton

    "Republican Revolution" in November elections gives control of the U. S. House of Representatives and Senate to the Republicans for the first time in forty years

  46. 1995


    Pixar's Toy Story becomes the first full-length computer generated animated film

    In the News

    Republican "Contract with America" legislation in U.S. Congress

    Mississippi becomes the last state to ratify the 13th Amendment

    Oklahoma City bombing; Timothy McVeigh convicted in 1997

    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum opens in Cleveland, Ohio

    Several mergers of entertainment and communications companies: Walt Disney Company with Capital Cities/ABC, Westinghouse, Inc. with CBS, and Time Warner Inc. with Turner Broadcasting System

    Korean War Veterans Memorial dedicated in Washington, D.C.

    Cal Ripken, Jr. breaks major league baseball record for consecutive games played (2,130)

    "Million Man March" of African Americans in Washington, D.C.

    Internet Explorer software introduced

    Heather Whitestone becomes the first hearing-impaired Miss America

    Federal government briefly shut down as President Clinton and Congress feud over how to balance the budget

  47. 1996

    In the News

    January blizzard paralyzes much of the eastern seaboard

    Site of original 1607 fort at Jamestown, Virginia found during archaeological excavation

    Telecommunications Act of 1996

  48. 1997


    James Cameron’s Titanic opens; until 2009 will be the highest-grossing film of all time

    In the News

    Madeleine Albright becomes the first female secretary of state

    Former football star O.J. Simpson found guilty in a civil trial of the wrongful death of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson

    Tiger Woods wins his first Masters Golf Tournament

    McCaughey septuplets of Iowa become the first set of septuplets to survive infancy

  49. 1998


    MP3 players for downloaded Internet audio appear.

    Sex and the City premieres on HBO

    In the News

    Unabomber Ted Kaczynski sentenced to life imprisonment

    President Bill Clinton subject to impeachment by the House of Representatives for lying about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky

    Federal Drug Administration gives approval for Viagra

    Microsoft sued for unfair business practices

    Exxon announces merger with its competitor Mobil

    Google founded in California

  50. 1999

    In the News

    First Legoland in the United States opens in California

    Senate acquits President Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice

    U.S. and NATO airstrikes against Serbian forces in Kosovo

    Massacre by two students at Columbine High School in Colorado

    U. S. cedes control of Panama Canal Zone to Panama

    Americans prepare for possible Y2K computer crisis, which does not materialize

  51. 2000

    In the News

    Bicentennial of the Library of Congress

    Microsoft Corporation found guilty of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act, after judge determined in 1999 that the company had established a monopoly in the personal computer market

    Vermont becomes the first state to legally recognize civil unions of same-sex couples

    Napster ordered to stop allowing users to download copyrighted music from the internet

    Terrorist attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen

    Hillary Clinton becomes the first First Lady to win political office by being elected to the U.S. Senate

    Disputed presidential election between Democrat Albert Gore and Republican George W. Bush; Supreme Court rules that Florida's contested electoral votes go to Bush, which gives him the lead in the electoral college

    Montgomery Ward announces it is going out of business