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Recorded Sound Reference Center (Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division)
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About the Reference Center

In the 1920s, the sound recording archive began when phonorecord companies gave the Library samples of their records. About the same time, the Library's Archive of American Folksong started assembling a rich collection of original field recordings of American music and folklore.

A grant from the Carnegie Corporation in 1940 started the Library's Recording Laboratory. Later, technological advances in the post-war years--the LP in 1948, and later the tape recorder-- boosted the sound recordings collections by generating commercial and personal materials. The Library's audio collections are now the largest in the United States and among the most comprehensive in the world.

NBC Radio's broadcast discs, 1935 to 1970, brought to the Library radio coverage of the Depression, World War II, post-war recovery, and a rich mine of radio drama and comedy. Armed Forces Radio, the WOR-AM collection, United Nations recordings, and the Library's own concerts and literary recordings further broaden the collections. Now, the recorded sound archive reflects the entire history of sound technology, from the first wax cylinders, through LPs and tape, to the latest compact audio discs.

See also: Guidelines for Listening to Recordings and Locating Sound Recordings

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  Home >> About the Reference Center
  The Library of Congress >> Especially for Researchers >> Research Centers
  July 21, 2005
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