Phonographia.com and Friends of the Phonograph have used recordings from the University of California Santa Barbara Library Collection, the Library of Congress National Jukebox, i78s.org, archive.org and other historical and cultural documents, recordings and images which reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. We do not endorse the views expressed in those respective documents, images and recordings which may contain content offensive to visitors of this site.

The following Disclaimers written by the Library of Congress, UCSB and History Colorado are included here to emphasize the importance of understanding context and of this distinction between presenting historical materials versus endorsing and/or accepting those views.


Library of Congress Disclaimer

The National Jukebox is a project of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation. The goal of the Jukebox is to present to the widest audience possible early commercial sound recordings, offering a broad range of historical and cultural documents as a contribution to education and lifelong learning. These selections are presented as part of the record of the past. They are historical documents which reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in these recordings, which may contain content offensive to users.


UC Santa Barbara Library Disclaimer About "Dialect Recordings"

"Coon songs," "rube sketches," "Irish character songs," and other dialect recordings that were popular in vaudeville routines and genres of songs during the late 19th and early 20th century often contain negative stereotypes and portrayals of blacks and other ethnic groups. These recordings reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. Many individuals may find the content offensive. Some of these songs and recitations were written or performed by members of the ethnic group in question, while others were not, such as the tradition of blackface minstrelsy of whites performing caricatured portrayals of blacks. To exclude these cylinders from the digital collection would deprive scholars and the public the opportunity to learn about the past and would present a distorted picture of popular culture and music making during this time period. The mission of the UCSB Library is to make its resources available to the faculty, staff, and students of the university community and to the general public. The UCSB Library presents these documents as part of the record of the past and does not endorse the views expressed in these collections.


History Colorado

Some of the materials in our collection reflect positions, norms, and values that are no longer—or never were—consistent with those of History Colorado (formerly the Colorado Historical Society) or its staff. We do not endorse prejudiced, stereotyped, or offensive material in our collection and actively work to place those items in context and with interpretation from our communities, as they are an important resource in the study of past and contemporary cultures.


Other Perspectives

For another perspective regarding the curation and preservation of sound recordings with racist language see the New York Times October 14, 2020 "How to Handle the Hate in America’s Musical Heritage". The article traces the decision after CD's had already been 'pressed' when Lance and April Ledbetter realized that they couldn’t live with releasing racist songs in their companion “Anthology of American Folk Music.”

The Ledbetter's chose to redo the CDs and eliminate several songs from the final release.

Lyrics in those removed songs were clearly offensive. Omitting sounds and images from any historical record, however, does not change its history or the reality of what previous generations and popular culture believed and accepted as part of their daily life. Clearly we do not want to reinforce stereotypes by displaying or listening to words that can be insidious to human consciousness, but "unexamined stereotypes" are harmful and hopefully Phonographia.com's approach finds the middle ground. (1)


Questions and Comments

Phonographia.com and Friends of the Phonograph welcome questions and comments. If you find inaccuracies or misrepresentations in these galleries please contact this site as the presentations and interpretations of our past are important for how we understand where we are today and how we got here.

I believe that whatever we perceive and experience during our lifetimes must always be considered and "processed" with humility and with the full recognition that future generations will have judgments about our own time period.

I also believe that decisions and actions that we have taken as human beings during my lifetime will require our descendents to include "disclaimers" when they document the historical record of my generation, "the baby boomers."

DB (Last updated December 2020).


Courtesy of New York Times and Katty Huertas