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Course & Subject Guides

Archives & Special Collections Exhibits

Guide on Past and Current Archives & Special Collections Exhibits @ the University of Pittsburgh Library System - Oakland (2020-present)

A Brief History of Sound Recordings

Date of Exhibition: Fall 2020- Present

Curator: Kathryn Haines (Head of the Center for American Music)

Location: Archives & Special Collections exhibit gallery, 3rd floor Hillman Library, University of Pittsburgh 3960 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15260 

Description: The History of Sound Recording exhibit illustrates the development of recording technology from Edison’s earliest tin foil cylinder to magnetic tape. On display are several early recording devices as well as items from our newest acquisition, the Bing Crosby Collection.

  • Gramophone disc; 1890s
  • Wire recorder;1940s
  • Ampex Reel to Reel tape;1950
  • Bing Crosby production still from The Big Broadcast; 1932
  • Rosario Bourdon, the Victor Company musical director, conducting a studio orchestra; 1920-1925
  • Edision Cylinder Phonograph; 1890s
  • Photograph of Thomas Edision and his tinfoil phonographer

The Edison Cylinder Collection represents both the songs and the sound recording technology of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The songs range from Christmas tunes to Stephen Foster melodies and showcase American Popular Music through Thomas Edison's innovations.

Exhibit Photographs