Photographs, primary documents and personal recollections offer important glimpses, but one digital history site specifically wants to understand how it sounded.
In the study of history, it’s easy to fall back on national identities: “Irish music,” an “English accent,” “American Exceptionalism” are just a few examples. But a closer examination of the local cultures—music, dialects, history—that exist within nations demonstrates how misleading those generalizations can be. Just look through one of the British Library’s “Sound Maps” and you’ll be convinced.
Getz/Gilberto was not North America’s first encounter with bossa nova, the lyrical fusion of samba and cool jazz emanating from the smoky nightclubs, recording studios, and performance halls of Rio de Janeiro in the mid-1950s. Yet the eight-track LP was by far the most successful.
On December 8, 2011, newspapers in Zimbabwe – and Zimbabwe’s diasporas – reported that an unmarked tree in the middle of a busy street in the capital, Harare, had been accidentally knocked down by a city council van.
If Digital History is “using new technologies to enhance research and teaching,” as the excellent website from the University of Houston puts it, then African American history is being well-served digitally. In honor of African American History month, I survey here one enormous and useful website that gives us all access to a very wide variety of materials.
“In the Baggage Coach Ahead” is a great example of the sentimental ballads that became popular in the United States during the 1890s. The classic ballads were maudlin tearjerkers, narrative tales of lost love or dead mothers designed to pull at the heartstrings.
Interested in popular music and the music industry in the early twentieth century? The Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara has built perhaps the most useful archive on the planet for you.
We learn to listen before we learn to read and we speak long before we learn to write. Most archives, however, are built to store printed pages, maps, personal letters, diaries, logbooks, notebooks, and manuscripts.