As we roll into December, we have a variety of Friday Favourites today that includes both photos and audio. Please leave your comments, we’d love to hear them!
Pin of the Week
Pin of the Week comes from user antonia.mk, who pinned this wonderful colour photo of young Japanese-American women in Tule Lake Internment Camp, 1943. One of the many internment camps that the United States government forced those of Japanese ancestry into during World War II, Tule Lake was one of the largest. It was located in Modoc County, California, and over 24,000 men, women, and children lived and worked in poor living conditions throughout the course of the war. Here is a view of the camp during this time:
I like the photo of the women above because despite the darkness of their situation, these women maintain their personal stylishness and most importantly, their smiles.
Have a look at the rest of antonia.mk’s Channel for a good collection of WWII Japanese internment history.
Pinner of the Week
Pinner of the Week is Regionaal Archief Alkmaar (Alkmaar Regional Archives), a partnership of 13 municipalities in North-Kennemerland, West Friesland and North Holland. It keeps a range of archival material, from records, books, maps, photographs, films etc. The Regionaal Archief Alkmaar’s goal is to help both individuals and organisations receive help with research or any other queries within the field of archives and cultural history. It also works within the educational sector to help promote Alkmaar and the surrounding region.
Their Channel contains some wonderful street overlays of Alkmaar around the turn of the twentieth-century:
To view more, visit their Channel here.
Story of the Week
Pin of the Week is a wonderful bit of audio that I discovered through Retronaut, of a trombone solo recording from 1897. The recorder and musician of the piece is Arthur Pryor, at the time a twenty-six year old assistant conductor with John Philip Sousa’s band. He had been playing the trombone all his life – Pryor was a child prodigy and played with his older brother Walt on cornet and younger brother Sam on drums. He went on to form his own Ragtime band, become a Democrat politician, and live into the 1940s. But for now the date is Tuesday 27th July, 1897 in New York City; I imagine a hot summer’s day, with Pryor hard at work recording his trombone solo amid the bustling horse and carts on the street outside:
Retronaut paints a vivd picture of the context in which Pryor made the recording: “Its only twenty years since Thomas Edison first recorded sound…Four months ago William McKinley became the 25th President of the United States, three months ago Oscar Wilde was released from Reading gaol, and last month Queen Victoria of Great Britain celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. There’s been a Gold Rush for ten days, up in the Klondike.” Being able to literally listen-in on the close of the 19th century is a fascinating concept of its own.
This was an exciting time for sound innovation. After Edison first recorded sound with his phonograph (1877), Emile Berliner invented the flat-disc gramophone (1888), which could be pressed from stampers and duplicated over and over again. Machines before this required a new recording session each time, which in effect limited their production capabilities. But even the first issued incarnations of Berliner’s gramophones in 1894 were no more than toys; they were either pressed with zinc, which was really noisy, or hard rubber, which tended to flatten out. With the change to shellac in 1897 records were more practical; these were usually 7 inches in diameter and running around two minutes, which was what Pryor would have recorded onto. Also, these records didn’t have paper labels, but rather a recording date pressed into the record, which is very useful for us today.
We are always encouraging more primary source audio; this particular piece came from the personal collection of writer Roger Wilmut, who was kind enough to share his rare recordings online. We also encourage more crowdsourced information-if anyone can figure out a more precise location in New York where Pryor made the recording, please comment below!
Finally, if you have any old sound recordings in which you can pinpoint time or location data, please share them on Historypin! And they don’t have to be as old as Pryor’s; even something like an old voice machine message cherished by you is something we would love to hear stories about.