Category: Restoration & Preservation

Post-war America dances to a Latin beat

By , September 2, 2010 3:45 pm

Several of the Vogue Picture records in the Recorded Sound Archives at FAU Libraries capitalize on America’s love affair with Latin rhythms during the 1930s , 40s and 50s.

During the Prohibition Era (1920-1933), Havana, Cuba was a popular tourist destination for Americans seeking fun and excitement. One of the pleasures they discovered there was the rhumba. Popularized by performers such as Spanish-Cuban bandleader Xavier Cugat and Desi Arnaz, Latin ballroom dances and rhythms became a common staple of American entertainment for decades.

Riding this wave of popularity Sav-way produced several Latin-themed recordings and a series of recorded rhumba ballroom dance lessons. By today’s standards the music seems somewhat watered down and mild.  Nevertheless, these recordings give us a true representation of Americanized Latin music as it actually was during the mid-20th century.

Recorded Sound Archives at FAU Libraries

By , July 19, 2010 8:36 pm

Historic sound snapshot from our past.

Visually stunning picture records, historic radio transcriptions such as President Roosevelt’s speech to the U.S. Congress following Pearl Harbor, and hundreds of original recordings by Italian tenor Enrico Caruso are among the treasures being inventoried at the new Recorded Sound Archives at Florida Atlantic University Libraries.

These relics of the recording industry are among an estimated 50,000 vintage records that were recently donated to FAU Libraries and used to create its “Vintage 78s Collection.” The records, along with extensive holdings of Jazz recordings and Judaic music, inspired FAU libraries to recently establish the Recorded Sound Archives with more than 150,000 phonograph records and other sound recordings.

“This makes us one of the top 20 libraries in the nation for sound recordings,” said Dr. William Miller, dean of Libraries at FAU. “People know….that we are a library interested in rare and historic recordings.”

Unpacking the recent donation of tens of thousands of recordings from the estate of Cleveland collector Jack Saul has been daunting, but with the help of staff and volunteers, the materials are being digitized and eventually will be available on FAU Libraries’ website.

The Recorded Sound Archives has three major collections:

(1) Vintage 78s Collection: Early disc recordings were dubbed 78s, referring to their playing speed of 78 revolutions per minute, and were produced between 1901 and the mid-1950s. Music, speeches, radio transcriptions and even movie soundtracks were produced on 78 rpm records.

(2) Jazz Collection:  The Recorded Sound Archives is creating an inventory of the more than 20,000 jazz recordings donated by Dr. Henry Ivey in 2006 and later transferred to the library from FAU’s Department of Music. Volunteers are currently entering information about the recordings into a database so that musicians and others will be able to easily search for what they want.

(3) Judaica Sound Archives:  The Judaica Sound Archives (JSA), created in 2005, established FAU Libraries as an international leader in the collection and digitization of early phonograph recordings. It now boasts a collection of more than 15,000 non-duplicated recordings. Its website offers listeners over 11,000 songs in English, Hebrew and Yiddish.

Digging for treasure

By , February 18, 2010 4:24 pm
Cleveland weather provides a rare opportunity for Floridians to shovel snow

Cleveland weather provides a rare opportunity for Floridians to shovel snow

Nathan Tinanoff, Ben Roth and Alethea Perez left South Florida to complete the final packing of the Jack Saul  recordings that will find a home at FAU’s Wimberly Library. They arrived in Cleveland to find a snow-covered landscape and frigid temperatures. How did the Floridians handle the weather?

Alethea said, “It was amazing! I got to throw my first snowball!” But they didn’t have much time to play in the snow, or make snow angels or even create a snowman, there were 78-rpm records to pack into boxes.

Each box holds 40 to 50 records and they packed almost 500 boxes over the Presidents Day weekend. That translates to between 20,000 and 24,000 records.

Working in both the Saul’s home and the furniture store they were amazed at what was still left behind. “This collection was so extensive that even after we packed two truckloads of recordings, it still seemed like there was so much more there,” said Nathan Tinanoff, director of the JSA. But as these pictures show, a lot of progress has been made in clearing out the clutter and packing treasured recordings.

Before

Before

After boxes are packed

After boxes are packed

The 78-rpm records that were packed during this trip to Cleveland will NOT become part of the Judaica Sound Archives.  These 78-rpm recordings contain American pop music, classical music, opera and the works of many famous entertainers of 50 to 100 years ago. Because of the size of this collection FAU Libraries is establishing a new Vintage Record Collection which will be under the direction of Nathan Tinanoff.

Below is newspaper article from 1976 showing Jack Saul with a basement full of recordings. It seemed huge , but who knew at the time that Jack Saul would continue adding to his enormous collection of recordings for over 30 more years?

newspaper

JSA finds more hidden treasures in Cleveland

By , December 2, 2009 5:01 pm
Ben Roth-Aroni looking for treasures in a hidden closet

Ben Roth-Aroni looking for treasures in a hidden closet

After his visit to Cleveland in October 2009 to look at the additional recordings that Jack Saul’s family had discovered in the furniture store and in a “hidden closet” in the family’s home, Nathan Tinanoff, director of the JSA at FAU Libraries,  said, “I could see right away that this was going to be a big job.” Last week he returned with Ben Roth and Alethea Perez, two JSA employees who offered to help pack the rest of the phonograph recordings that were earmarked for Florida Atlantic University Libraries in Boca Raton, FL.

Although the JSA team had packed about 30,000 recordings in September 2009, there was still a lot to do. The JSA team made a plan of attack.

Day 1: Explore the “hidden closet” in the house and determine which recordings would be shipped to FAU Libraries. Complete the packing of recordings in the house which had been identified but not packed during the previous visit.

Day 2: Explore the previously undiscovered basement of the furniture store to identify recordings for shipment to FAU. Pack as many of the recordings as possible.

Day 3: Pack as many recordings as possible.

The team was excited by what they found. Recording treasures and vintage 78 rpm recordings had been tucked away into every nook and cranny. Jack Saul’s enormous collection which had become disorganized and cluttered throughout his home and place of business were in the process of becoming a valuable research tool for teachers, students and scholars.

Ben Roth in front of store with folded boxes

Ben Roth in front of store with folded boxes

FAU Libraries has already unpacked almost all of the recordings from the first shipment of 30,000 recordings. Although the vast majority of these recordings turned out to be duplicates, many of these were in far better condition than what the JSA already had. About 575 vintage 78-rpm recordings and 400 LPs have been added to the JSA database so far.
Alethea Perez packing recordings previously identified in the Saul's house.

Alethea Perez packing recordings previously identified in the Saul’s house.

Alethea Perez packing phonograph records in store.

Alethea Perez packing phonograph records in store.

Ben Roth sealing boxes filled with recordings.

Ben Roth sealing boxes filled with recordings.

Nathan Tinanoff making boxes in furniture store.

Nathan Tinanoff making boxes in furniture store.

……

Alethea Perez & Nathan Tinanoff take a well-deserved work break as they pose in front of some of the boxes they packed.

Alethea Perez & Nathan Tinanoff take a well-deserved work break as they pose in front of some of the boxes they packed.

“This second shipment of recordings from Cleveland will be almost twice as large as the first. We did a great job of packing recordings. Our backs hurt. Our fingers are bleeding. But are hearts are happy,” said Tinanoff.

JSA Highlights: Cantor Moshe Koussevitzky

By , November 10, 2009 4:39 pm

Moshe koussevitzkyThe name of Cantor Moshe Koussevitzky can be placed alongside Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt, Cantor Gerson Sirota, and Cantor Zawel Kwartin — the most honored names from the Golden Age of Cantorial music. The JSA’s online selection of recordings by Cantor Moshe Koussevitzky contains 13 albums from the JSA’s Collectors Guild and Famous record label collections, a total of 100 separate song tracks.

Moshe Koussevitzky was born into a family of cantors and so his vocal gifts were not overlooked, even at an early age. Born in 1899 in Belarus, he was a teeneager when WW I began. The Koussevitzky family relocated to Russia where his cantorial studies continued. By 1925 he could be heard in the Great Synagogue of Vilna, Poland. And in 1928 Koussevitzky was awarded the position vacated by the renowned great Cantor Gerson Sirota at the Tlomacki Synagogue of Warsaw.

According to Benedict Stambler, founder of Collectors Guild records, it was in Warsaw that Koussevitzky’s “voice reached its full power and brilliance.” His popularity spread as he performed throughout Europe and Palestine in the 1930s.

Trapped in Poland during WWII Koussevitzky was rescued by members of the Polish underground and brought to Russia. There he was reunited with his family soon afterward. After the German retreat he became the principal tenor in the Tiflis National Opera Company in Georgia. The four Koussevitzky brothers were all exceptional cantors. Moshe, David, Jacob and Simcha reunited in London in 1946 to give a stirring farewell appearance at the Royal Albert Hall before an audience of thousands.

The JSA’s online collection of Koussevitzky recordings encompasses the full career of this great cantor, from his early recordings to his later works. Of special interest is his recording of Sheyiboneh Beys Hamikdosh which allows the cantor’s full range of talents to be heard.

Unique Judaica recordings found among thousands

By , October 21, 2009 1:36 pm

Golden-SlumbersHave you ever opened a surprise box not knowing what you might find? That is what has been going on at the JSA since the truckload of recordings from Jack Saul’s collection arrived on September 11, 2009. So you might be wondering, “Did you find anything interesting or unusual?” Of course we did!

JSA volunteers and staff have been busy for the past three weeks unpacking recordings, sorting them, and entering information into the JSA database. After three weeks this is what has been accomplished.

(1)  Total progress: About 20 % of the Jack Saul donation of recordings to the JSA has been processed so far.

(2)  Processing of 78rpm recordings: 926 recordings were completely processed.  This means they have been unpacked and checked against the database. Of these, 213 recordings were found to be new to the collection. Information about each of these recordings has been entered into the JSA database.

(3)  Processing of albums: 2096 recordings (LPs, CDs, and tapes) were completely processed (unpacked and checked against the database). Of these, 366 recordings were found to be new to the collection. Information about each of these recordings has been entered into the JSA database.

(4)  Unusual or interesting items of note:

Raisin-&-Almonds

[audio:http://rsa.fau.edu/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Raisins-and-Almonds.mp3]

Click here to play a non-downloading snippet from this album.

Golden Slumbers is a book of lullabies from around the world published in 1956 by Book-Records. This “Soundbook” contains 16 lullabies, 8 on each side of a 10 inch LP phonograph record , including the beautiful Yiddish song Rojinkes mit Mandlen. The book describes the history of lullabies and provides sheet music and lyrics as well as a High Fidelity sound recordings of all the songs. The book’s editor, Sidney Reisberg writes, “Although “Raisins and Almonds” was originally composed for an opera, it appears to be based on some older folk-tunes.  In any event, it has since become absorbed into the folk tradition and idiom.”

Sophie-Tucker

The JSA has many recordings by the amazing Sophie Tucker.  But this one is special indeed! This Decca album, recorded in 1945, contains three 78 rpm recordings (six songs) and was personally autographed by Sophie Tucker in November 1948 at the Latin Quarter in New York City.

Tucker-autograph

 

 

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: In accordance with US Copyright Laws these recordings are NOT featured on the JSA website (www.fau.edu/jsa). For further information about these or other recordings in the Jack Saul Collection, please contact the Judaica Sound Archives at Florida Atlantic University Libraries (561-297-0080).

 

Cleveland revisited

By , October 16, 2009 12:44 pm
Jack Saul's furniture store

Jack Saul’s furniture store

When Nat was informed by the Saul family that they discovered the family’s deserted furniture store was filled with recordings they previously knew nothing about, he was stunned. He had already gone to Cleveland to assess, pack and manage the delivery of the largest donation of recordings in the history of FAU Libraries.  And now there were just as many recordings, if not more, that needed to be looked at.

Dr. William Miller, Dean of FAU Libraries, told Nat to go back to Cleveland to assess the situation.  They needed to decide what to do next. Nat left for Cleveland on Friday, October 2, 2009. What he found was truly unbelievable.

Nat estimates that there are approximately another 50,000 recordings in the store and house that would be approriate to ship to FAU LIbraries. Nat will return in November with Ben Roth and Alethea Perez to pack up what was found in the store and also some of what was left in the house. There will be no shipment in November, though, due to the fact that weather conditions can be treacherous during the winter ice and snow season. But in the spring, Nat and the others will return to finish putting the records into boxes and to oversee the loading of the final truck shipment to FAU Libraries in Boca Raton, FL.

Stacks of 78 rpm records

Stacks of 78 rpm records

Always roomfor more?

Always room for more?

Stacks of LPs

Nathan Tinanoff and Marlene Englander (Jack saul's daughter) examine records

Does this man look happy?

By , October 7, 2009 10:27 am
Reel-to-reel tapes fromthe Jack Saul Collection

Reel-to-reel tapes from the Jack Saul Collection

“It’s like my birthday and Channukah all rolled into one,”  says an excited Nathan Tinanoff as he begins upacking some of the 730 boxes of recordings that arrived at FAU Libraries from Cleveland on Sept. 11, 2009.

After one week, the JSA team had unpacked and fully processed over eight hundred 78rpm recordings. The information on each record label is carefully checked against the JSA database to ascertain if a copy of the recording is already in the JSA collection. Out of the 800 recordings, 69 are new to the collection and 47 are in better condition that what we previously had.

About 815 LPs have been processed. It has been determined that 132 of these are new to the collection. We have also unpacked another 120 LPs which are unopened and sealed in the original plastic wrappers.

Nat is a happy man. “What is really exciting is that this is just the tip of the iceberg!”

45 rpm records

45 rpm records

Unpacking LPs

Unpacking LPs

Although he admits that it is a little overwhelming Nathan Tinanoff could not hide his amazement when the Saul family found two floors of a warehouse packed with recordings floor to ceiling that they previously knew nothing about. “I think this might mean another tractor-trailer loaded with recordings,” Nat says.

Cleveland sound recordings get a new home at FAU Libraries

By , October 5, 2009 10:29 am

many hands BLOGThe excitement we were all feeling when the truck from Cleveland, filled with recordings from Jack Saul’s collection, pulled up to the Library’s loading dock was quickly replaced by focused activity. Everyone had a job to do and immediately jumped into action. Unloaders moved the boxes from the truck to pallets which were then moved with a handtruck through the Wimberly Library lobby into the elevator to the fifth floor where they were stacked for later unpacking. Other boxes were placed on carts and deposited in other areas of the library.

Of the 730 boxes in this shipment 255 are filled with recordings headed for the Judaica Sound Archives and the FAU Music Department’s Jazz Sound Collection. The remaining 475 boxes contain vintage 78 rpm recordings which will form a new FAU Library collection.

Transporting boxes through the Wimberly Library lobby

Transporting boxes through the Wimberly Library lobby

Removing boxes from elevator on Wimberly Library's 5th floor

Removing boxes from elevator on Wimberly Library’s 5th floor

FAU Libraries unpacks truckload of recordings

By , September 30, 2009 1:58 pm
Truck backing up to Wimberly Library loading dock

Truck backing up to Wimberly Library loading dock

I cannot express to you the excitement on the morning of Friday, September 11, 2009 as the entire staff of the Judaica Sound Archives and volunteers from other FAU Library departments waited for the arrival of the truck which had been loaded with recordings from the Jack Saul collection in Cleveland.

Nat had been preparing for a week, finding areas of the Wimberly Library where the boxes could be stored until they are unpacked, rounding up volunteers, assigning work tasks at the loading dock, measuring entranceways to make sure that the pallets loaded with boxes could fit through, arranging for carts to be available where the pallets couldn’t fit, etc. With his incredible organizational skills and attention to detail the operation felt like a well-designed military operation. Everything went perfectly! Within 4 hours all the boxes had been unloaded and stacked in their designated areas.

720 boxes of phonograph recordings to unload

Nathan Tinanoff directs the off-loading

Nathan Tinanoff directs the off-loading at the loading dock of FAU Libraries

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