This is tangential to your quest but may help. I did a massive transfer job a few years ago for
Poets House in NYC:
www.poetshouse.org. Unfortunately, due to copyright laws, you need to visit the site to hear the
massive audio archive, but there is a ton of recorded poetry there, dating back to the 78 era. It's
mostly American and British poets, but you get the full run of English dialects from the early 20th
Century up to the 1990s.
I also just completed a massive transfer job of oral histories for a U.S. state. I'll tell more
about it when the audio is in the database and accessible online. In that collection, you get mainly
the southwestern US dialects from the 20th century generations.
Also, Vermont has a folklore archive, which I assume includes oral histories and the various New
One interesting side road to your quest could be advertising audio from the early days of radio
onward. I think these examples demonstrate both what is considered "Generic" American English as
well as regional dialects and terminologies for local ads. Many OTR transcriptions contain the
syndicated ads, but I think local radio statiions also inserted local ad copy. There is a large
quantity of TV advertising available on YouTube and iTunes (at no cost).
It's also worth search archive.org. You never know what's up there because they don't have the
greatest self-promoting system.
By the way, if we on the ARSC List want to start a discussion of oral history Best Practices, I'd
love to hear from others. I've transferred many cassette-tape oral histories and have had to
mitigate pretty much all the wrong practices, but in the digital age, I think we should discuss the
better ways to do it, especially using "smart phones" and similar devices. One thing that
transferring 1000+ oral histories over the years has taught me -- most people have at least one good
story and most people have deep knowledge about at least one thing. Get them engaged about that
keystone topic, and it's like turning on a switch. It never fails to amaze and impress me.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Hugh Paterson III" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, May 17, 2014 2:00 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Collections of oral histories
>I am looking for audio archives with significant oral histories, oral texts, or wordlist, holdings.
>I am particularly looking for non-english language holdings, and dark archives (where listings are
>not complete or listings are not available online). Two summers ago I presented a paper on language
>documentation and I was discussing the fragile nature of audio language artifacts. Several people
>told me that there were places in Europe and Russia with significant recordings either on wax
>cylinders or other non-digital mediums but I fail find these institutions via google searches
>(partially because I don't remember the names).
> Any ideas as to which museums or archives might have these sorts of recordings?
> - Hugh Paterson III