G. Robert Vincent Voice Library
The G. Robert Vincent Voice Library is a collection of over 40,000 hours of spoken word recordings, dating back to 1888. The collection includes the voices of over 100,000 persons from all walks of life. Political and cultural leaders and minor players in the human drama are captured and cataloged to serve the research needs of a local, national and international user base.
The Vincent Voice Library is a collection of primary source sound material, found mainly in speech, interview, lecture and performance formats. It is the largest academic voice library in the United States and is part of the Michigan State University Libraries.
The collection is stored primarily on reels of magnetic recording tape. Items represent, in most cases, a migration from other recording formats, off-air broadcasts, or Voice Library original recordings. New items are mastered digitally and a retrospective digital re-mastering of existing analog recordings is underway. About 15,000 digital sound files have been created.
Voice recordings are really the product of the Twentieth Century and very few exist which were made prior to 1900. Sound was distributed more widely with the coming of radio in the 1920’s and more signals meant the likelihood of more things being recorded. The Voice Library collection begins to reflect the greater prevailing culture beginning in the 1930’s and 1940’s, with the coming of FDR.
Strong areas of collection emphasis include, American and foreign politics and government, labor history, show business and media history, academic lectures, sports, popular culture, literature and the arts and Michigan State University history.
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