The oldest person to speak on a surviving recording was Hungarian patriot Laszlo Kossuth, who was born in 1802 and recorded in 1890. The cylinder is on the web at:
There was some discussion about this on 78-L some years ago. There was another man, Horatio Perry, who recorded for the Ohio Phonograph company in 1890 on his 100th birthday. None of those cylinders have been found. Someone mentioned that a couple of Irish singers who were yet a little older recorded somewhat later, but these haven't been found and I can't remember the details offhand.
If I'm wrong, please come forward.
---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: Jerry McBride <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List<[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 17:19:12 -0700
>We recently received this question, and there is probably someone in ARSC
>who knows the answer. If you do, I'd be grateful for the help especially if
>you can back it up with a reliable source. Thanks
>What is the earliest birth date of anyone whose voice has been recorded?
>Therefore not, necessarily, the birth date of "oldest" person recorded, nor
>the birth date of the first person recorded. But rather, the birth date of
>a person who was probably around 100yrs of age when voice recording started
>in the 1890s - and possibly therefore was born before 1800.
>If this recording no longer exists or cannot for any reason be listened to
>- what is the earliest birth date of anyone whose voice has been recorded
>that may still be listened to - and how and where can one listen to this
>Jerry McBride, Head Librarian (650) 725-1146
>Music Library & Archive of Recorded Sound (650) 725-1145 (fax)
>Braun Music Center [log in to unmask]
>541 Lasuen Mall
>Stanford, CA 94305-3076