A few weeks ago Jason C. asked me to compile a list of pre-digital archives (literature-related). I had started to search by library and institutional archive with very little luck. Another librarian advised me that it might be easier to cold-call archives and libraries to find out what material they may have that isn’t recorded for traditional search methods. Easier?? This unsuccessful search may be fuel for Annie’s survey into these ‘hidden’ archive holdings.
This is the result of search WorldCat, but the list is more selective than comprehensive. Many of the results were for audiobooks, and I tried not to include them as live reading series is our focus. I also did not include any recordings which records were not complete, as I was unable to identify where the recording was made, who made it, etc. I’m sure that I could spend more time researching these holdings for more obscure reading series, but I believe these are the main ones.
The list is sorted by Cassette (which includes both reel-to-reel and analog cassettes as WorldCat doesn’t specify) and by LP. I then sorted the results by Institution/Company or Series where available.
The results show that there are several large recording companies (Caedmon, Argo, Spoken Arts, Jeffrey Norton and Folkway), large archives like the Library of Congress’ Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature that contain smaller series, and handfuls of smaller University-based reading series like at the University of California (San Diego, San Francisco and Berkeley), Harvard University and other institutions like the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. I have also included some ‘single’ recordings that aren’t explicitly attached to any reading series (that I know of) that make up another large portion of un-digitized material.
I’ve attached the Works Cited document, feel free to let me know if you think of any other archives that I’m missing.