March 19, 2004 Librarian of Congress Names 50 New Recordings to the National Recording Registry

Contact: Sheryl Cannady (202) 707-6456

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has announced the second annual selection of 50 sound recordings to the National Recording Registry. Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian is responsible for annually selecting recordings that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Registry recordings must be at least 10 years old. Nominations for the registry were gathered from members of the public, who submitted suggestions online (, and from the National Recording Preservation Board, which comprises leaders in the fields of music, recorded sound and preservation. The board also assisted the Librarian with the review of nominations.

In announcing the registry, the Librarian called the selection of the National Recording Registry "a difficult, but absorbing task. The number and range of recordings to consider is great - and a tribute to our extraordinarily rich and varied sonic history. This year's list attests to the diversity of significant recorded sound in our lives - not only music of many types, but political addresses, comedy, sports, poetry, sermons, and machinery."

Like the inaugural selections, those for 2003 celebrate many milestones in the history of sound recording in America:

  • The first Bubble Book (the first children's book bound with recordings);
  • The best-selling Okeh Laughing Record of 1922, a comic novelty recording;
  • Guy B. Johnson's field recordings of African Americans in the 1920s;
  • The set of recordings that represent a full day of radio broadcasting from station WJSV in Washington, D.C. (the first time a complete day of broadcasting was recorded);
  • Anne Brown and Todd Duncan as original cast members of "Porgy and Bess";
  • The first broadcast of "A Prairie Home Companion";
  • The radio broadcast of fourth game of the 1941 World Series;
  • The first "foreign" selections named to the registry, including the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and Richard Wagner's "Ring" cycle, conducted by Georg Solti to celebrate their influences on American culture and the global recording industry;
  • The work of two prominent audio documentarians - the recordings of steam locomotives by O. Winston Link and "New York Taxi Driver" by Tony Schwartz.

The creation of the National Recording Registry is one part of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, legislation that promotes and supports audio preservation. The registry celebrates the richness and variety of the nation's audio legacy and underscores the responsibility to assure the long-term preservation of that legacy so that it may be appreciated and studied by generations to come.

On behalf of Congress and the National Recording Preservation Board, the Library of Congress is conducting a study on the state of audio preservation and will develop a comprehensive national recording preservation program, the first of its kind. The study encompasses the current state of sound recording archiving, preservation, restoration activities and access to those recordings by scholars and the public. The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is assisting the Library in conducting the audio preservation study.

In January 2004, the Library and CLIR sponsored an audio preservation engineers roundtable - a two-day discussion of methodologies and procedures for preservation reformatting of at-risk discs and tapes. Fifteen audio preservation engineers from across the nation attended. As a result of the discussions, a number of documents will be published, including a list of audio reformatting common practices, an outline of core competencies for audio preservation engineers, and a prioritized list of research and testing needs. The National Recording Preservation Board will turn its attention to access issues later this year.

The Library is identifying and preserving the best existing versions of the recordings on the registry. These efforts have received support from record companies and archives that own the best available elements and editions of registry recordings. A number of major record labels have located the best surviving elements of their recordings - from master tapes to metal parts - and duplicated them at no expense to the Library, ensuring that the best existing version is added to the National Recording Registry Collection at the Library of Congress.

The Library is currently accepting nominations for the 2004 National Recording Registry at the National Recording Preservation Board Web site, The deadline for public nominations is July 15, 2004.

The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and the world's largest library with nearly 128 million items, which includes more than 2.7 million sound recordings. The Library's Recorded Sound Section holds the largest number of radio broadcasts in the United States - more than 500,000.

2003 National Recording Registry (In chronological order)

1. Emile Berliner. "The Lord's Prayer" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." (ca. 1888)
2. Vess Ossman. "Honolulu Cake Walk." (1898)
3. Bert Williams and George Walker. Victor Releases. (1901)
4. Billy Murray. "You're a Grand Old Rag [Flag]." (1906)
5. Frances Densmore Chippewa/Ojibwe Cylinder Collection. (1907-1910)
6. The first Bubble Book. (1917)
7. William Jennings Bryan. "Cross of Gold." Speech re-enactment by Bryan. (1921)
8. Guy B. Johnson Cylinder Recordings of African American Music. (1920s)
10. Okeh Laughing Record. (1922)
11. Associated Glee Clubs of America. "Adeste Fideles." (1925)
12. Amade Ardoin and Dennis McGee. Cajun-Creole Columbia releases. (1929)
13. Leadbelly. "Goodnight Irene." (1933)
14. Huey P. Long. "Every Man a King" speech. (1935)
15. Marian Anderson. "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." (1936)
16. Robert Johnson. The Complete Recordings. (1936-1937)
17. Jelly Roll Morton. Interviews conducted by Alan Lomax. (1938)
18. Benny Goodman. Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert. (1938)
20. WJSV (Washington, D.C.) Complete Day of Radio Broadcasting. (September 21, 1939)
21. Bob Wills & his Texas Playboys. "New San Antonio Rose." (1940)
22. 1941 World Series Game Four - New York Yankees vs Brooklyn Dodgers
23. Robert Shaw Chorale. Bach B-Minor Mass. (1947)
24. Budapest Quartet. Beethoven String Quartets. (1940-1950)
25. George Gershwin. Porgy and Bess. Original Cast. (1940, 1942)
26. Rodgers and Hammerstein. Oklahoma! Original Cast. (1943)
27. Paul Robeson, Uta Hagen, Jose FĂ©rrer and others. Othello. (1943)
29. Louis Kaufman and the Concert Hall String Orchestra. Vivaldi Four Seasons. (1947)
30. John Kirkpatrick. Ives Piano Sonata No. 2, "Concord." (1948)
31. O. Winston Link. Steam Locomotive Recordings. (6 vol.: 1957-1977)
32. Rafael Kubelik conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Modest Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition. (1951)
33. Billy Graham. Problems of the American Home. (1954)
34. Glenn Gould. Bach Goldberg Variations. (1955)
35. Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book. (1956)
36. Chuck Berry. "Roll Over Beethoven." (1956)
37. Thelonius Monk. Brilliant Corners. (1956)
39. Georg Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Richard Wagner Complete Ring Cycle. (1958-1965)
40. Eastman Wind Ensemble with Frederick Fennell. Winds in Hi-Fi. (1958)
41. Charles Mingus. Mingus Ah-Um. (1959)
42. Tony Schwartz. New York Taxi Driver. (1959)
43. Patsy Cline. "Crazy." (1961)
44. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Robert Frost and others. Kennedy Inaugural Ceremony. (1961)
45. Judy Garland. Judy at Carnegie Hall. (1961)
46. Otis Redding. "I've Been Loving You Too Long. (To Stop Now)" (1965)
47. The Beatles. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. (1967)
49. Johnny Cash. At Folsom Prison. (1968)
50. Ali Akbar College of Music Archive Selections. (1960s-1970s)
51. Marvin Gaye. What's Goin' On. (1971)
52. Carole King. Tapestry. (1971)
53. Garrison Keillor. A Prairie Home Companion. (First broadcast of the variety show, July 6, 1974)
54. Bruce Springsteen. Born to Run. (1975)
55. Fania All-Stars. Live at Yankee Stadium. (1975)


PR 04-061
ISSN 0731-3527