November 22, 2002 Library of Congress to Preview New History Channel Documentary

Press Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
Public Contact: (202) 707-5510
Contact: Please note: Press is invited to attend. Please contact Craig D'Ooge to arrange to cover.

A preview of a new documentary film from the History Channel about the efforts to preserve America's recorded sound heritage will be shown as part of a program and reception at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3 for invited guests in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.

The program will feature an excerpt from "Save Our History: Save Our Sounds," a new one-hour film about the extraordinary efforts of the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution's Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage to preserve rare historical American audio recordings.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and Secretary of the Smithsonian Lawrence Small will speak at the event. Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead and chair of the Save Our Sounds Advisory Committee and Phil Wiggins, Grammy award-winning blues artist, also will attend.

Within the collections of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution are tens of thousands of sound recordings that chronicle the history of America-from Thomas Edison's famous first recitation of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" to speeches of presidents, songs of Native Americans, memories of ex-slaves, and sounds of the 1950s workplace. In the process of sorting through thousands of recordings for preservation to digital media, archivists and engineers have come upon astonishing, forgotten American treasures, such as Lead Belly's last sessions; radio broadcasts from the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and a previously unknown 1944 acetate disk recording of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," with additional verses.

An auction of 70 Gibson guitars signed by some of today's biggest names in music, film and fashion-from Aerosmith to Joan Baez, Mickey Hart, Madonna, Cindy Crawford, Will Smith, and Donald Trump-and other celebrity-signed music collectibles will be held to benefit the "Save Our Sounds" project on eBay from December 2 to December 31. A selection of these guitars will be on display at the December 3 event.

The complete "Save Our History: Save Our Sounds" program will premiere on the History Channel at 8 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 26. Advance review copies of the program are available from Kathie Gordon, director, Public Affairs & Communications, A&E Television Networks at (212) 210-1320.


PR 02-168
ISSN 0731-3527