The Dartmouth Jewish Sound Archive:
A national first!
Mission of the Archive
    The mission of the archive is to provide scholarly access to recordings that are not commercially available and to assemble related information that can aid in the study of Jewish music and culture, Jewish society, and the history of Jewish recording. The archive spans two generations of recording, with the oldest records dating from around 1910-1920 and the most recent material coming from LP's issued in the 1970's.

    The archive is maintained by the Library of Dartmouth College, in conjunction with the Jewish Studies program, and new recordings are added periodically, as they become available to us.


Background and History of the Archive

    This archive grew out of a private collection assembled by Alex Hartov (Alex.Hartov@dartmouth.edu), a professor at the Thayer School of Engineering and Dartmouth Medical School. Dr. Hartov has digitized and restored digitally a large collection of records (over 4300 tracks as of 2001). These records were made available to him for that purpose by several contributors, notably Bernice and Edward Gilman of Hull Massachussets. Their collection of records derived from the Joe Tall Hour radio show, also known as the Yiddish Hour and later the Jewish Hour, which was broadcast from 1937 to 1976 in the Boston area. Some of the tracks were very badly damaged, the Gilman collection having resided for many years in a basement which was flooded with sea water and beach sand on two occasions.

    Another valuable recent addition is a comprehensive collection of Anglo-Jewish synagogue choral music as in use in most British synagogues today. Each track is accompanied by the full musical score. This collection is made available by courtesy of Alan Freeman, choirmaster of Hendon Synagogue, London and the Publications Committee of the United Synagogue of Great Britain.

    The conceptual design of the Archive is due to Lewis Glinert, professor of Hebrew Studies and Linguistics, who has worked to make popular music a core element in the teaching of Israeli and Jewish culture at Dartmouth College.


Contents of the Archive

    The archive contains a wide selection of material, some of which is rare. You will find here:
      Yiddish folk songs
      Yiddish theater: music and songs
      Yiddish comedy: dialogues & monologues
      Cantorial recordings
      Retellings of Jewish holiday stories for children
      Jewish children's songs
      Music by Jewish composers (Bloch, Rossi, contemporary Russian Jewish composers, etc.)
      Ladino songs
      Israeli Hebrew songs
      Documentaries made for radio broadcasting about Israel ('Vistas of Israel') in English
      Complete radio programs
      Jewish humor in English / Yiddish / Hebrew
      Recordings of religious services
      Historical Recordings (Ceremonies relating to the creation of the state of Israel)
      ... and other material that defies classification.
    The archive is designed to provide sound tracks, images of the labels and related information. The aim is that users should be able to browse by title and performer, and to conduct searches by genre, title, composer and performer. It is hoped that titles and names will be entered (where relevant and technically feasible) in both romanized and Hebrew characters.

    A word of caution: We have retained the romanized forms of song titles as they appear on the labels; these are often quite idiosyncratic.


Appeal to everyone interested in preserving Jewish Sounds

    If you have in your possession material which you would like to be included in this collection, please contact Dr. Hartov (Alex.Hartov@dartmouth.edu). We are interested in the audio contents only; you will retain the possession of your records.



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Last Modified February 12, 2006