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Welcome to—Echoes of History

We invite you to explore vanished eras and forgotten times through the medium of sound. To experience a fresh look at history through the very voices, music and sounds that fell upon the ears of our ancestors. Welcome to "Echoes of History."

Here you will find examples of the kind of historic audio that the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) strives to recover, preserve and make available to the world. Each podcast runs from two to four minutes and includes narration that puts the historic sound clip in context.

Written and hosted by Anthony Wellman—a longtime student of the history of recorded sound and member of ARSC—each episode of "Echoes of History" uses authentic, period recordings that help us witness times past like nothing else can.

Visit this page often to hear more podcast episodes as we add them.

Click on any of the links below to listen or download.

Wallace Record Label

Echoes of History – The Battle of The Bathroom Scale

Time: 04:08

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Today, when the bathroom scale tips forward in that "higher" direction, we have a vast array of resources to call upon to help us fight back. There are weight-loss magazines, videos, TV shows and other products. But when did the public first enlist the media in the fight to stay slim?

In this episode hear Wallace Rogerson and his "music method"--Dating to circa 1920, it is one of the first exercise phonograph records.

--Audio from the original recording is in the collection of Anthony Wellman. This program was produced at Tabby Sound Studios.

78rpm Wallace record label
Illinois and Washington Streets Scene

Echoes of History – "A Street Scene For The Ear"

Time: 04:12

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The sounds of a city street scene from 80 years ago, frozen in time. Automobiles, people, breaking news events, a whole vanished lifestyle, unseen for decades, comes alive again when we close our eyes and listen.

It is a "snapshot in sound" made at the corner of Illinois and Washington Streets in Indianapolis, Indiana, probably sometime in early 1932. In it you will hear sounds, once commonplace on that and thousands of other city streets, but now foreign to our ears today, including a surprise…

--Audio from the original recording in the collection of Anthony Wellman. This program was produced at Tabby Sound Studios.

The corner of Illinois & Washington Streets from an early 20th century postcard
Crystal Palace

Echoes of History – "The Crystal Palace"

Time: 04:01

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Step into the audience, on a summer afternoon in 1888, at the magnificent and now vanished Crystal Palace in London, England. Hear 4,000 voices rising in song, accompanied by a 500-piece orchestra. This amazing survivor from the era of Queen Victoria's England is the oldest known recording of a public performance in existence.

--We thank the Edison National Historic Site, National Park Service, and United States Department of the Interior for the historic audio used in this program. For more information visit This program was produced at Tabby Sound Studios.

Crystal Palace, London, from Tallis' History and Criticism of the Crystal Palace, 1852
William BryanWilliam Taft

Echoes of History – "First Sound Bites"

Time: 03:37

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The birth of the "sound bite." While brief campaign slogans have existed since the beginnings of American political elections, it wasn't until the United States Presidential election of 1908 that political speeches, themselves, were altered to accommodate audio-visual media on a mass-produced and distributed scale. Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan and Republican candidate William Howard Taft learned to tailor their previously long speeches to the short duration of that era's phonograph record so their voice and basic message could reach a larger audience. The medium affects the message as speeches are winnowed down to two minutes or less. A first step towards speeches and catch phrases tailored for the mass media and the "sound bite" popular many decades later on TV, radio and the internet.

--We thank Archeophone Records and their production team, David Giovannoni, Meagan Hennessey, and Richard Martin for the historic recordings used in this episode of Echoes. The audio clips were selected from among the 22 complete Edison recordings of the candidates to be found on the Archeophone CD set: "Debate '08: Taft and Bryan Campaign on the Edison Phonograph." This program was produced at Tabby Sound Studios.

Top: William Jennings Bryan, Bottom: William Howard Taft, Courtesy of the Library of Congress


Opinions expressed in these podcasts are those of the producers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARSC. All original audio clips and visuals on this page are believed to be in the public domain. You may download and use these podcasts for any non-commercial purpose, news stories or educational use, so long as they are not modified and credit is given to ARSC and Anthony Wellman.

ARSC recommends that you also check the podcasts sponsored by the Library of Congress that celebrate selected inductees to the National Recording Registry. These short pieces on individual notable recordings are entertaining and excellently produced by Ben Manilla Productions. The series was honored with a Peabody Award in 2013. They may be heard here:
"Inside the National Recording Registry", Studio 360 (2009-present)
National Public Radio (2007-08)


The Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings -- in all genres of music and speech, in all formats, and from all periods. Visit us at


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