Memories of the Phonograph

Friends of the Phonograph


Phonograph Memories and a few stories (by FOTP and honorary* members) (1)


Axel Boilesen - 2000 - The Edison Amberola and The Jolly Coppersmith, Cotesfield, NE


Axel Boilesen - 2000 - Other Stories Growing up in Cotesfield, NE


Axel Boilesen - 2009 - Playing an Edison Amberola - "On the Beach Medley" (a 30 second video)


Betty Barr Boilesen - 2000 - Playing School - My first memory of the Phonograph, Elba, NE


Betty Barr Boilesen - Other Stories Growing up in Elba, NE


Doug Boilesen - 2001 - The Our Song Phenomenon - "The Red River Rock"


"Canned Music - Share a Coke and a Song" - Doug Boilesen 2016


Dearborn or Bust 1967 - The trip to Greenfield Village and Edison's Menlo Park via my 1917 Model T - Doug Boilesen 2015


Don't Judge a Book by its Cover...Unless is has a Phonograph on it - Discovering Abide by Jake Adam York - Doug Boilesen 2018


Holiday Gift Ideas for the Music Lover 2021 - Mark Kennedy*, AP Entertainment Writer, 2021 and Doug Boilesen


"Home on the Range" - Connections and an "Our Song" - Doug Boilesen 2017


How Axel and Doug Boilesen acquired the John Johnson 5”x 7” glass negatives in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1965. - Doug Boilesen and Doug Keister 2012


Phonographia and One Perspective on Collecting - Doug Boilesen 2018


Public Libraries as Record Lenders - Nutley Public Library 2017 - Doug Boilesen 2020


James Boilesen - 2018 - I am a Friend of the Phonograph


F. M. Barney - 1912 - Barney's story of Ezra Meeker coming into his store and recording 3 records, Elm Creek, NE


Peter Buffett - 2010 * - Excerpt from his book, Life Is What You Make It, music and an early repair made on the family phonograph


Jim Copp - 2018 * - A tribute to one of the most creative storytellers on record written by David Owen in The New Yorker, 2018


Frances Robinson Friday - 1998* - Avalon Town, the chamber pot and the Victrola


Myla Goldberg - 2006* - Hanging on the Gramophone (Spin Magazine)


Barbara Gordon - 1979* - The Menace of Constant Noise (I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can)


Anne Hathaway - 2011* - Tribute to Meryl Streep during the 34th Annual Kennedy Centre Honors with gramophone on stage


Hawthorne School - 1998 - Second graders learn about the Phonograph, Hawthorne Elementary School, Lincoln, NE


Dan Jenkins - 2014 * - Listening to the Mills Brothers on my mom's RCA Victor phonograph.


Garrison Keillor - 2017 * - Memories of bringing my LP to our youth church group so that they could listen to Handel's Messiah


Douglas Keister - 2007 - Field Report on Obsessive Phonograph Collecting Disorder Submitted by Douglas Keister HSD AAC


Douglas Keister - 2020 - "The Machine"


Kim Keister - 2020 - Life, Music, and the Harman-Kardon Incident


Keira Knightley and Steve Carell - 2012 * - Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Focus Features


Pete McKee* - Thoughts about vinyl, record stores, the life of records, DJs, and music used in his 2021 Thud Crackle Pop Digital Remaster Exhibition.


John Mendenhall* - Memories of Nipper and Character Trademarks


Paul McCartney - 2020 * - Celebrating his Friends of the Phonograph 78 RPM Birthday and "Spinning at 78"


Howard Taylor Middleton 1907 - The Talking Machine Club


Mr. R. Llewellyn Moss - 1911 - Remembering the first time he heard an Edison Phonograph, January 1878


Margaret Marty - A Valentine for ‘Victrola’ - 2019 * - On “keepsakes” and a found Valentines Day card from Dad to Mom, Courtesy of The Pine City Pioneer


Colleen Murphy 2016* - "My first turntable was a life-changer" (from her BBC Sounds Turntable Tales - Berliner to Gramophone)


Andy Orlando - 2009 - Our phonograph in Dos Palos, California, and other memories


Judy Orlando - 2018 - Memories of growing up, family, music and the phonograph


Van Dyke Parks* - 2020 - Memories of my parents Magnavox and records


Ann Patchett - 2011* - Dreaming Of 'California' From Far Away - Interviewed by Melissa Block as part of NPR Music's 2011 Winter Series. (Click the 4-minute Listen) (8)


Tom Rivett - 2013 * - A boy's voice from 1954 lost and found, Lincoln, NE by Cindy Lange-Kubick, The Lincoln Journal-Star


Will Rogers - 1923* - Timely Topics


Satan Comes to Crawley Bottom - As told to Douglas Keister - 2020


Wendy Shaw - 2021 - Shocking memories of the phonograph


Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton in Antarctica 1907-09 - Shackleton’s 1907-09 expedition in his own recorded words


Maia Sharp - 2009* - "Kodachrome" - Interviewed by Melissa Block as part of NPR Music's 2009 Summer Series. (Click the 3-minute Listen) (9)


Judy Steffes - 2015 * - Memories of growing up in West Bend, WI, with the family phonograph in the dining room


Gary Stone - 2021 - "My grandparents radio store inspired my appreciation for phonographs and radios."


Clancy Strock - 2004* - My Grandfather Strock's Victrola, and more...Reminisce Magazine


Studs Terkel - 2005* - "Caruso"


James Thurber - 1933* -  My mother's greatest dread was the Victrola


Oliver Wang - 2015 * - Baby's First Record (and Record Player) - Cuepoint


You Tell on Yourself By the Friends You Keep and the Records You Play - 2012 Author Unknown


This is Our Tune...Remember? - 1945 Crosley "Our Tune" Advertisement and other "Our Song" examples


"The Miraculous Phonograph Record" by William Saroyan - Saturday Evening Post, September 1983 (10)


"Santa Claus Speaks" by Karen Fishman and Bryan Cornell 2015 - Library of Congress "Now See Hear! The National Audio-Visual Conservation Center Blog - "Santa Claus Tells About his Toy Shop
by Gilbert Girard, 1916 (Victor Record 35679)
and "Santa Claus Gives Away his Toys" by Gilbert Girard, 1916 (Victor Record 35679)


Our First Radio-Phonograph by Doug Boilesen - Details of Axel and Betty's first Radio-Phonograph 1949

Mom and Dad's Record Collection - Stories Our Parents Taught Us - All Things Considered 2012

Loving an Album to Death Makes a Music Fan for Life - Darrin Wolsko* - All Things Considered 2012

"Little Darrin Wolsko spent a chunk of his childhood playing his father's copy of The Beatles self-titled album, best known as The White Album, over and over." Courtesy of the Wolsko family and NPR


A Grandson's Gift — A Spotlight — For His Grandfather's WWII Band - an NPR report by Taylor Haney March 20, 2021 about a trumpet player in WWII whose recordings were discovered by his grandson who then had them digitized and made into an album. "I put the music on and it was like my own private concert with my grandpa," he said. "It was like he'd never left. I was back in 1946 and getting to hear my ... grandpa and his young lungs playing the trumpet."

Courtesy of NPR


"A Record Find - How The Phantom of the Opera led me to a long-lost musical treasure in Paris" By Michael Walsh Smithsonian magazine, February 2008

In 1907, recordings were interred in metal urns at the Palais Garnier, to be reopened in 100 years (Courtesy Opéra National de Paris)

Autobiographically Organizing Record Albums - Scene from High Fidelity - 2000 * (Courtesy Touchstone Pictures)




Friends of Nipper

Nipper - 1895 - A Unique Star in Phonographia

Carie - 2009

Sasha - 2019

Dogs and the Phonograph





In Memory of Friends of the Phonograph

Betty Ann Barr Boilesen - 2000

Bob Gross - 2003

William C. Ptacek* by Rene Rondeau - 2004 (Honorary FOTP member See Endnote 1 )

Lawrence Brown - 2006

Axel Christian Boilesen - 2013

Andy Orlando - 2018

Judy Orlando - 2021








FOTP Celebrations and Related Material (2)


Birthday Calendar: Legacy Friends of the Phonograph


December 6th Edison Phonograph Birthday Parties - Photo Album


Friends of Nipper


Friends of the Phonograph Go GREEN


FOTP Happy Birthday Song - a.k.a. Your Birth Anniversary Song


In Memory of Friends of the Phonograph


Quotations about Memories - "You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead"


Red Letter Days


RPM Birthdays & Unbirthdays


Top Five Lists by Friends of the Phonograph









Phonographs on Display - Museums, Exhibits and On-Line Collections


PhonoAvenue - Phonograph Related Museums Around the World


Phonograph On-Line Collections


PhonoExhibits - Temporary Phonograph Exhibits


Phono-Sightings - Phonographs in non-phonograph specific displays (random sightings WIP)









Phonograph Related Resources - Societies, Libraries, Archives, Recordings


The Antique Phonograph Society - A world wide society that encourages, promotes, publishes and presents research on the history of sound recording and reproduction, including the machines that create and preserve these wonderful voices and sounds.

Archeophone Home Page - Grammy-winning label reissues acoustic era recording (the 1890s through 1925), rescuing, preserving and contextualizing the world's oldest records.

Belfer Library - Syracuse University Libraries - Listen to the digital files supplied by the Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries, which may be used for scholarly, research, or educational purposes of a non-commercial nature.

Also see The Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive for more details about collection of sound recordings and related items.




Bibliography of Works on Thomas A. Edison - Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences - The Thomas A. Edison Papers

Also a list of 199 Phonographs & Sound Recording Patents by Edison




Bless Them All: The Songs of Fred Godfrey - A nicely created website by Barry Norris, the grandson of Fred Godfrey


Canadian Antique Phonograph Society - Interests range across all aspects of sound recording and its history: phonographs and gramophones, all types of sound recordings of historic importance, ephemera and related memorabilia. There is particular emphasis placed on the history of recorded sound in Canada.



The City of London Phonograph and Gramophone Society (CLPGS) - The oldest such society in the world who also publish their official journal "For the Record."



Comedy on Vinyl - Episodes - Comedy on Vinyl is a podcast created by writer/actor Jason Klamm in which he discusses influential and important comedy albums with the week’s guests. It's another reminder that the Stage of the World, including comedy, had a period in time when buying and listening to the record was a ticket to front-row comedy.


Discography of American Historical Recordings (DAHR) - a database of master recordings made by American record companies during the 78rpm era. It is part of the American Discography Project (ADP)—an initiative of the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Packard Humanities Institute that is edited by a team of researchers based at the UCSB Library. The ADP is also a partner with the Library of Congress National Jukebox project and provides most of the cataloging data used in the Jukebox.



Disquaires de Paris - Using an interactive map, this website pays tribute to the record dealers and venders of phonograph cylinders, who allowed Parisians to discover recorded sound as early as the end of the 19th century.

Dust to Digital - By combining research with images, audio and videos, Dust-to-Digital creates access to hard-to-find music by producing high-quality books, box sets, CDs, DVDs and vinyl records. In 2012, Lance and April Ledbetter (founders of Dust to Digital) started a non-profit organization Music Memory to ensure the sounds and recordings of our past would be preserved.

Edison muckers - A Blog for Everything Edison, Everyday


First Sounds - Making humanity's earliest sound recordings available to all people for all time.



Griffonage-Dot-Com - Patrick Feaster's Blog - Ongoing explorations in historical media, documents, inscriptions, et cetera - Be sure to also check-out Feaster's Published Elsewhere link



History - The North American Phonograph Company - The Library of Congress




How the Phonograph Changed Music Forever by Clive Thompson - January 2016 - Edison’s invention redefined the entire industry - article courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine


The Internet Museum of Flexi / Cardboard / Oddity Records - Cereal box records, promo, novelty and assorted plastic and paper records are on view and playable.


Library of Congress National Jukebox - Historical Recordings from the Library of Congress



Library of Historical Audio Recordings at - Historical Recordings from the collection of David Giovannoni with over 36,000 sound recordings. Great resource for scholarship and research. User registration required.



Little Wonder Records and Bubble Books - Merle Sprinzen's website with a "mission to bring together everything that known about Little Wonder Records and their offshoots, including Bubble Books...and give them their historical due"


Mainspring Press - 78 RECORDS, CYLINDER RECORDS & VINTAGE PHONOGRAPHS Information and Resources for Historic-Sound Enthusiasts


Media History Digital Library - A free online resource, featuring millions of pages of books and magazines from the histories of film, broadcasting, and recorded sound. - is dedicated to examining and celebrating the human experience as framed by music through vinyl records.



Phonostalgia - Research and articles by Ryan Barna regarding talent, business, and technology of the acoustic recording era.



Recorded Music in American Life: The Phonograph and Popular Memory, 1890–1945 by William Howland Kenney, Oxford University Press, © 1999 by William Howland Kenney


Recording Pioneers - Sound Recorders, i.e., the recording engineers who made sound recordings



78 RPM Club - The 78 rpm Club "collects and preserves everything concerning the fragile sound carriers."



Smithsonian Folkways Recordings - Shop, enjoy playlists and listen to excerpts of CD and Vinyl Recordings for sale




Visit Sound Beat for a daily, 90 second show highlighting the archive of Recorded Sound and Music at the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) at Syracuse University's Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive.




Sound of the Hound - This blog is dedicated to the story of how recording came into being and how it conquered the world.




Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound - Phonograph Collection


Timeline: Recording Music - Part 1 by James Stewart, September 26, 2016 - ©Vermont Public Radio - A brief history of the story of recording.




Timeline - Recorded Sound Industry - This brief historic time-line illustrates major events in the recorded sound industry, from the birth of the recorded sound in 1857, to the merger of the two recording industry giants Columbia and Victor Records in 2004 under their parent companies Sony and Bertelsmann Music Group while TowerRecords files for bankruptcy.


UC Santa Barbara Library - Cylinder Audio Archive - The UCSB Library, with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Grammy Foundation, and donors, has created a digital collection of more than 10,000 cylinder recordings held by the UCSB Library. Recordings are available for streaming.

The Victor-Victrola Page - Website dedicated to phonographs made by The Victor Talking Machine Company from 1901 through 1929. Nice timelines and information. If you have a Victor Talking Machine please register it here.



Raymond R. Wile Research Library - Archive of primary source documents bequested by Wile estate and available on Internet Archive



Several other resources significantly contributed for many years to my enjoyment of phonographs (and now available on The Internet Archive)

The ANTIQUE PHONOGRAPH MONTHLY, Allen Koenigsberg, Brooklyn, NY

The TALKING MACHINE REVIEW International, Bournemouth, England

The New Amberola GRAPHIC, published by The New Amberola Phonograph Co., Martin F. Bryan

The EDISON PHONOGRAPH MONTHLY, Volumes 1-14, exactly reproduced by Wendell Moore, January 1976



So many books, discographies and researched articles contribute to learning about details of the history of the phonograph and those bibliographies exist and are maintained in better places than But for their visual and well-documented reference material I have to call out the Schiffer Book for Collectors series authored by Timothy C. Fabrizio and George F. Paul, e.g., "The Talking Machine An Illustrated Compendium 1877-1929"; "Gadgets, Gizmos, and Gimmicks," "Discovering Antique Phonographs," "Phonographs with Flair," "Antique Phonograph Advertising," "Accessories and Contractions," and "Phonographica." That series is significantly dependent on phonograph collectors and, of course, in no way diminishes the publication of other books and articles examining all kinds of phonograph related subjects and themes.





Favorites of Friends of the Phonograph


Favorite LP Albums

Top 5 LP's selected by Friends of the Phonograph


Top Five Lists by Topic





Favorite Songs







Favorite Album Covers





Favorite Movies

Edison the Man, starring Spencer Tracy,and Rita Johnson, 1940

Favorite movies selected by Friends of the Phonograph (1)









Quotations about Memories


Every man's memory is his private literature. - Aldous Huxley


It's surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time. - Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams


The past is never dead, it is not even past. - William Faulkner


"When an old person dies, a library burns." African proverb revived by Malian writer Amadou Amadou Hampaté Ba


Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.- From the television show The Wonder Years


We do not remember days; we remember moments. - Cesare Pavese, The Burning Brand


To speak the name of the dead is to make them live again - Ancient Egyptian Belief


WIthin our hearts, the ones we love are never really gone - In spirit and in memory, their legacy lives on. - Hallmark


All those moments will be lost in tears in rain. - The Blade Runner


...She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, For ever wilt thou love and she be fair! - John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn


"You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead" - Lennon/McCartney, Two of Us, 1969


A story is what holds us together, and what is left when we leave - Marshall Dodge, The New Yorker, Oct 22, 1979


"The backward look transforms its object...History cannot be touched without changing it." Siegfried Giedion


"I like the old days, but not all the days, only the good old days" - Departure, The Long Winters


It was no thought or word that called culture into being, but a tool or a weapon. After the stone axe we needed song and story to remember innocence, to record effect - and so to describe the limits, to say what can be done without damage. Wendell Berry, 1974


And suddenly the memory returns...ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection. Marcel Proust, À la recherche du temps perdu (2)


The stereo takes back our breath, All sound is light. Abide with Me, Jake Adam York


A memory is only a Prince Charming who stays just long enough to awaken the Sleeping Beauties of our wordless stories. — Michael De Certeau (3)


How the past is documented shapes how we remember it. Lonnie G. Bunch III, 2019


"The construction and demolition of monuments are history, but monuments themselves are not history. They are useful windows on history. They disclose stories we would now like to disavow, but if we look carefully, we can also find what the monuments were intended to hide. In the name of remembering, we don't want to forget." Richard White 2020 (4)


"Memories bring diamonds and rust." Joan Baez, Diamonds and Rust


"We're just here to be memories for our kids." - Cooper to his daughter Murph, Interstellar 2014


"A story is what holds us together, and what is left when we leave." Marshall Dodge (5)




"Sweet memories awakened" - Vitanola - Natural as Life, 1919




"Jenny Lind is only a memory..." Life magazine, March 28, 1918

The Phonograph - Perpetuating "art for all time."








The Axel and Betty Boilesen Legacy Exhibit

The Legacy Phonograph Collection and stories remembering Axel and Betty Boilesen, Friends of the Phonograph