“Boston Public Library is once again leading in providing public access to their holdings. Their Sound Archive includes hillbilly music, early brass bands and accordion recordings from the turn of the last century, offering an authentic audio portrait of how America sounded a century ago,” said Brewster Kahle, Founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. “Every time I walk through BPL’s doors, I’m inspired to read what is carved above it: ‘Free to All.’”
The 78 rpm records from the BPL’s Sound Archives Collection fit into the Internet Archive’s larger initiative called The Great 78 Project. This community effort seeks to digitize all 3 million minted sides (~3 minute recordings) published on 78 rpm discs from about 1898 to the 1950s, supporting the preservation, research and discovery of 78 rpm records. While commercially viable recordings will have been restored or remastered onto LP’s or CD, significant research value exists in the remaining artifacts among the often rare 78rpm discs and recordings. To date, over 20 collections have been selected by the Internet Archive for physical and digital preservation and access. Started by many volunteer collectors, these new collections have been selected, digitized, and preserved by the Internet Archive, George Blood LP, and the Archive of Contemporary Music.