I am pleased to announce that my dad's record collection has found a new home. Dad and I had
been working with Syracuse before he died in February, and the family is very pleased with the
Belfer Sound Archive/Syracuse University association and their eagerness to maintain the integrity
of the collection.
FYI, dad's personal collection is being sold by Warren Hicks. You can download the catalog (with
over 1,200 of dad's 78's) from http://www.recordsforcollectors.com/RFCcatalog/catindex.html
From today's NY Times:
Syracuse University Gets an Oldies Collection
Compiled by BEN SISARIO
Syracuse University has acquired a major collection of 78 r.p.m. records from the family of a
Manhattan dealer, giving the university what it says is the second-largest collection of 78s in the
United States, after the Library of Congressís. Doubling the holdings of 78s at the universityís
Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive, the collection of more than 200,000 records was donated by
the family of Morton J. Savada, who ran the Records Revisited store on West 33rd Street in
Manhattan for 29 years and died in February. Particularly strong in jazz and big bands, the Savada
collection contains a wide swath of popular music from the first half of the 20th century, with
country, blues, gospel, polka, folk, Broadway and Hawaiian music. It also has a strong selection of
V-Disc records, which were produced for American military personnel overseas in the 1940s. Now
in transit in 1,300 boxes, the collection will be cataloged once it reaches Syracuse, said Suzanne
Thorin, the dean of libraries.
From today's Syracuse Post Standard:
SU receives records worth $1 million
By Nancy Cole
A collection of about 200,000 record albums has been donated to Syracuse University, boosting
its collection of 78-rpm records to about 400,000 -- second in the United States only to the
Library of Congress collection.
The records are the entire inventory of "Records Revisited," a Manhattan record store owned by
the late Morton J. "Morty" Savada.
Savada wanted the records -- valued at about $1 million -- donated to SU Library's Belfer Audio
Laboratory and Archive.
"I was glad that someone was going to really appreciate it," said Savada's son, Elias.
Morton Savada, 85, had been diagnosed with lung cancer and died Feb 11.
He was familiar with SU's audio laboratory and archive and its staff from meetings of the
Association for Recorded Sound Collections.
He also had a link to the university through his granddaughter, Shira Savada, Elias Savada's
daughter, who graduated from SU in 2005.
Savada's collection includes recordings from 1895 to the 1950s and has genres such as big band,
jazz, country, blues, gospel, polka, folk, Broadway, Hawaiian and Latin. It also contains spoken-
word, comedy, broadcast recordings, and V-disks, which were distributed as entertainment to the
U.S. military during World War II.
"We're very excited to learn more about the gems that are in there," said Melinda Dermody, head
of arts and humanities services for the SU Library.
The collection is packed into 1,300 boxes and will be transported to SU next week by six 20-foot-
long FedEx trucks.
The records are thicker and heavier than the 33-rpm albums many people stored in their
basement or attic when cassette tapes and then compact discs came along. The 10-inch, 78-rpm
albums have one song to a side, and the lightest albums weigh about one-half pound each.
Savada's collection is estimated to weigh about 50 tons total.
Savada took over his father's shirt business, Savada Bros., in the 1950s and ran it until opening
the record store in 1977.
But Savada's record collecting started well before he opened the store -- he began collecting 78-
rpms in 1937.
Savada loved music, especially big band, Elias Savada said. He remembers his father tinkering with
the piano, playing songs by ear. When the family watched "Name That Tune," Morton Savada
would get the jump on everyone, as long as it wasn't rock music, Elias Savada said.
"We always marveled if it was two tones, he could figure it out. It was all up in his head," Savada
SU officials don't know exactly what they have waiting in the tons of boxes down in New York, but
they do know of Savada's reputation as a collector and the reputation of the collection itself.
Savada would often bring collectors together at his shop, where the narrow aisles were flanked
floor to ceiling with shelving holding his records. The shop also had a desk, a turntable
and the complete index of the collection written on cards, Savada said.
The shop was a frequent stop not only for collectors but for people in the film and music
Elias Savada said actor/director Woody Allen used his father's recordings in his movies, and
actor/director Matt Dillon also frequented the shop. Dillon sent Elias Savada an e-mail after he
heard of Morton Savada's death.
Savada's connections even landed him a part in the 1999 Woody Allen movie "Sweet and
Lowdown," which starred Sean Penn and Uma Thurman. The movie was about a jazz musician and
Savada had a role as a jazz expert, Elias Savada said. His appearance ended up on the cutting-
room floor, but Morton Savada continued to receive annual checks from the Screen Actors Guild
for his part, Elias Savada said. Last year, he received a check for five cents, Savada said.
Dermody said SU is excited about the donation and the ways it will be used by SU students and
faculty. Those researching musicology, history, filmmaking, journalism and political science will
all benefit by being able to hear the recordings.
"To have these recordings is a huge, wonderful addition," Dermody said.
Nancy Cole can be reached at [log in to unmask] or 470-2173.
pictures can be seen at http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2008/07/su_receives_records_worth_1_mi.html