Category Archives: Press Releases

2020 Call for Proposals

Text to post on Call for Proposals

The National Recording Preservation Foundation

Call for Proposals

Open call for proposals for grants from the National Recording Preservation Foundation. Individual grants will be awarded up to $20,000 each. The following projects are eligible: preservation and/or archiving, digitization, collection appraisal and planning, material or professional conservation, and the creation of means for public and or research access to collections.

Ideally, we would like to fund projects in each of the following areas: broadcast, spoken word and music, but awards will be made solely on the basis of the proposals themselves.

Deadline: September 15, 2020

Grant Awards Announced: October 15, 2020

The National Recording Preservation Foundation offers grants to non-profit archives, libraries, museums, universities and other entities engaged in the preservation of audio materials that demonstrate cultural or historical importance and are held within the United States of America. In rare cases we may offer grants to commercial entities if a case can be made for the material’s cultural and historical value, the commercial holder cannot fund such preservation itself and a partnership exists with a non-profit entity in the field. Projects leading only to commercial release without an archival preservation component element will most likely be found lacking. The NRPF does not offer grants to individuals unless the materials are housed within a non-profit structure.

These grants, totaling $50,000, are funded by the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board and reflects its keen interest in audio preservation and support of the NRPF.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, write to us at grants@recordingpreservation.org.

Put in the subject line: Request for Grant Application Details

We will send by return email full information on how to apply.

With best regards,

Gerald Seligman

Executive Director

National Recording Preservation Foundation

November 2019: National Recording Preservation Foundation Distributes $50,000 in 5 Grants for Audio Preservation

The National Recording Preservation Foundation’s Grant Program announced today the awarding of $50,000 awarded in 5 grants for the preservation of music, broadcast and spoken word. The grants cover collections, culture and history housed in United States-based collections. The grants are made possible by funds authorized through The Library of Congress Sound Recording and Film Preservation Programs Reauthorization Act of 2016, secured through the leadership of the Library of Congress, and the contributions of public-spirited donors.

“It is our commitment to help preserve audio recordings in a broad variety of areas by partnering with the country’s most effective archives, not-for-profit media outlets, libraries and foundations,” says NRPF Executive Director Gerald Seligman. “For this series of grants, we sought to support projects in broadcast, music, journalism and spoken word, all the areas of our concentration.”

The National Recording Preservation Foundation mission is to help find, preserve and make accessible the recorded history of the United States and help recuperate collections in libraries, universities, foundations and public broadcasting stations.

The grants went to the following organizations:

For Afropop

Peabody Award-winning Afropop Worldwide had been bringing the music and artists of Africa and its diaspora to over 100 US radio stations since 1988. Hosted by Cameroonian Georges Collinet, the series is distributed by Public Radio International. The grant will help fund the preservation of field recordings and interviews with the seminal artists of these regions that were made over a period of 20 years. Audio includes many artists who created styles that have now traveled the world. “We were lucky to travel in Africa and the Caribbean at a time when legends like Franco, Tabu Ley, Mahlathini and the Mahotella Queens and so many others were still on the scene,” says Sean Barlow, CEO. “Our interviews and informal recordings are a time capsule to the golden age of African pop, and we are so pleased that these recordings are now being preserved and catalogued for future fans and researchers.”

When awarding the Peabody, director Dr. Jeffrey P. Jones said, “Afropop Worldwide is a pioneer in the ‘world music’ movement, illuminating the richness and diversity of African and African diasporic cultures, while archiving and fortifying its work on its robust website. It is simply a treat for the ears, and it deserves much support for its ongoing and new projects.”

“Looking ahead, we hope to create a platform where all our archival materials will be available,” says Senior Producer Banning Eyre. “And if we do it right, we hope other holders of related material will entrust them to us and we will build an even larger resource on the history of African and African diaspora music. “

The National Recording Preservation Foundation is proud to offer this support.

For Field and Festival Recordings, Archives of Appalachia, East Tennessee State University

Bluegrass, old-time, traditional Appalachian music – from 1961 all the way up to 1989 East Tennessee State University recorded yearly festivals of vernacular music. Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys, Bill Monroe, The Carter Family, Johnny Cash, Flatt & Scruggs, Doc Watson, Del McCoury, J.D. Crowe, Clarence Tom Ashley, the Osborne Brothers – and dozens more performing for home audiences at their artistic peaks. “The Archives is fortunate to have hundreds of rare festival and field recordings in our collections,” says Director, Jeremy A. Smith. “This grant will help us to make the material more accessible to researchers than we’ve ever been able to, and it will help us to make sure we’re preserving the content in line with the highest of professional best practices.”

The grant will help fund the restoration and digitization of over 800 analog recordings and 2,000 hours of audio of vernacular music festivals and field recordings, which feature bluegrass, old-time, and traditional Appalachian music. Many of these recordings are the only known copies to exist, containing unique performances and verbal contextualization that provide irreplaceable information on local performance practices. Once completed the Archive will work to provide public access to this material, thereby offering musicians and cultural historians from across the nation new opportunities for performance and research.

For Oral History Interviews in Georgia, The Atlanta History Center

Between 1966 and 1968, Georgia State University students spread out to interview common folk: men, women, and children in Georgia and across the southeast on topics including crafts, storytelling, superstitions, jokes, remedies, songs and ballads, and local traditions. The interviews provide unique insight into Southern Appalachian culture during the twentieth century and will contribute to the teaching, study, and presentation of Southern Folklore.

“The Atlanta History Center is prioritizing the digitization of our audio visual collections because they are at high preservation risk due to their fragility and rapid technology obsolescence,” says Leah Lefkowitz, Manuscript Archivist. “With the grant funding provided by the National Recording Preservation Foundation, we will be able to start digitizing one of our most valuable research collections, the Georgia Folklore Archives. We are very excited to start the journey toward digitizing and cataloging these unique materials.”

The AHC will continue to partner with Preserve South for this project, a local audio and video engineering firm that specializes in media migration. Upon grant completion, the content will be freely open to the public; and afterward, we will increase accessibility by publishing records on several online platforms, including on our finding aids database, our library catalog Terminus, and Album, the public access point to CONTENTdm.

For KUT, Austin, Texas, to continue preservation on two broadcast projects, “University Forum” and “Dwight MacDonald on Film.”

“KUT is very happy to accept funding from the NRPF in order to continue preservation of its collections “University Forum” and “Dwight MacDonald on Film,” says Laura Willis, Digital Assets and Operations Coordinator. “Digitizing these reels in order to make them available online will provide a wealth of exciting, wide-ranging local and global research material.” The material covers a wide range of public figures including Stokely Carmichael, Dick Gregory, Joseph Heller, Walt Rostow, Dr. Page Keeton, Walter Cronkite, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Bill Moyers, Coretta Scott King and Barbara Jordan. The digitized broadcasts are given wide public access through a collaboration with the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, which will stream the programs online.

The University Forum series, says Rebecca McInroy, Executive Producer/host KUT Radio, “not only gives us a chance to listen to discussions and lectures from greats like B.F. Sinner and Gloria Steinem, it also allows for moments in time to be preserved: like the time when Allen Ginsberg sang the poetry of William Blake with a drum circle; the time Hunter S. Thompson decried the war in Vietnam; or when the head of the UT law school sang an introduction to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

Finally, says Rebecca Oullette, assistant archivist, the “collection is valuable not just for the varied subject matter—from politics and social issues to arts and sciences—but for the historical perspective of people addressing issues with firsthand engagement. It is a moving experience to hear the voices of Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford on their presidencies, Chinua Achebe on writing, and Buck O’Neil on playing baseball in the Negro League. This collection is sure make researchers everywhere very happy!”

For NPR – Voices in the Wind, Hosted by Oscar Brand

Voices in the Wind was an early, pace-setting program that helped establish NPR as an expansive home for popular culture, one dedicated to exploring the fullest picture of the creative experience.

Voices in the Wind established NPR’s reputation as the leading curator of the arts,” says Bill Siemering, NPR’s founding Programming Director and a former contributor to Voices in the Wind. “There was no other place in broadcasting where listeners could hear the voices of so many writers and other artists during this period.”

In 255 episodes and over 2100 story segments, host Oscar Brand interviewed such luminaries as James Baldwin, Merle Haggard, Alice Walker, John Lennon, Aaron Copland, Gamble Rogers, Henry Fonda, Ansel Adams, Pete Seeger, Letta Mbulu, Margaret Atwood, Marlene Dietrich, Alvin Ailey, Elia Kazan, Patti Smith, David Mamet, Claudette Colbert, Fred Rogers, Dolly Parton, Edward Gorey, Nikki Giovanni, Itzhak Perlman, Marian Anderson, Shel Silverstein and Lucille Clifton. That is anyone’s idea of diversity and range.

“Oscar Brand… knew an enormous number of singers, songwriters, authors and theater artists,” says Jay Kernis, producer and former Senior Vice President of programming for NPR. “Artists, writers, photographers, filmmakers, and all kinds of performers allowed our microphones into their studios, rehearsal halls and private spaces in order to explore the creative process.  It may also surprise listeners to hear how many stories involving the visual arts came to life through the use of sound.”

Robert Malesky, former Voices in the Wind producer and former Weekend Edition Senior Producer, is fully justified in claiming, “Voices in the Wind cast a wide net, going far beyond NPR’s traditional classical music and fine arts programming and stretching the public radio system in new ways. The show captured an important period in America’s creative life, and its preservation is nothing short of essential.”

NPR Historian Julie Rogers recognizes NRPF’s generosity in granting these funds. “Along with NPR’s Research, Archives & Data Strategy team, I am proud that we will now be able to preserve these stellar interviews for future generations. It is rewarding to know that our initial preservation efforts will benefit new audiences to come via a range of digital platforms.”

National Recording Preservation Foundation Distributes $50,000 in 4 Grants for Audio Preservation

National Recording Preservation Foundation Distributes $50,000 in 4 Grants for Audio Preservation

October 30, 2018

The National Recording Preservation Foundation Grant Program announced today $50,000 awarded in 4 grants for the preservation of music, broadcast and spoken word. The grants cover collections, culture and history from throughout the United States. The grants are made possible by funds authorized through The Library of Congress Sound Recording and Film Preservation Programs Reauthorization Act of 2016, secured through the leadership of the Library of Congress, and the contributions of public-spirited donors.

“It is our commitment to help preserve audio recordings in a broad variety of areas by partnering with the country’s most effective archives, not-for-profit media outlets, libraries and foundations,” said NRPF Executive Director Gerald Seligman. “For this series of grants, we sought to support projects in broadcast, music, journalism and spoken word, all the areas of our concentration.”

The National Recording Preservation Foundation mission is to help find, preserve and make accessible the recorded history of the United States and help recuperate collections housed within the United States.

The grants went to the following organizations:

WYSO / Survey of the Broadcast Archives of Historically Black Colleges / Universities

“Nearly a third of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) have radio stations,” says Jocelyn Robinson, project director, “and many went on the air during the Civil Rights era, fifty or more years ago. Much of the material created at these stations during the struggle for equality and beyond is now at risk, as magnetic tape and other obsolete formats deteriorate. But we won’t know what needs preservation until we survey the content and conditions of the radio archives on HBCU campuses. What we discover could have enormous potential for podcasts, radio and film documentaries, and museum exhibitions, allowing students, researchers, media producers, and communities to remember, honor and be inspired by the voices of this important legacy.”

Thirty radio stations in thirteen states and the District of Columbia have been identified. They are as diverse as HBCUs themselves – public/private, large/small, rural/urban – and range in geography from the Deep South to the Midwest, from the Eastern Seaboard to the Great Plains. The report will be accessible to the radio stations, the various campus communities involved, and to all students, faculty, scholars, researchers, and media producers wishing to access these important and as yet untapped resources.

Arhoolie – The Harry Oster Collection of Field Recordings

“The funds will allow us to digitally preserve and create selected online access to a one-of-a-kind collection of field recordings made by the late folklorist and independent producer Dr. Harry Oster between 1956 and 1980,” says Adam Machado, Executive Director/Project Director fo the Arhoolie Foundation. “Captured on reel-to-reel tape, primarily in Louisiana and Iowa, this documentary collection features well-known regional musicians such as Gary Davis, Son House, Robert Pete Williams, Fred McDowell, and many obscure deep tradition artists.”

“Arhoolie is a national – and international – treasure, toiling away for decades to record and now preserve regional music from the United States and Mexico,” says NRPF Executive Director Gerald Seligman. “Chris Strachwitz and his team are models to follow in how to value and pass on milestones in popular music.”

On the Media / WNYC

The funds will allow WNYC Archives to continue cataloging On the Media broadcasts and to make the contents accessible to scholars, journalists and the general public through the website wnyc.org, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB).

On the Media has been the only weekly radio program on both public and commercial radio to consistently address the impact and influence of media and the changing media landscape on contemporary western culture for the last 25 years.

“We’re thrilled to be recognized and supported by the NRPF and the Library of Congress for our project digitizing the On the Media archives,” says Andy Lanset, WNYC’s Director of Archives. “This funding will ensure that a pioneering broadcast collection will continue to illuminate and provide a context to history that scholars can draw upon for years to come.”
“The NRPF is honored to help preserve the interviews from two of the finest journalists at work,” says Gerald Seligman, “Week after week, year after year, Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield turn in some of the best, most incisive and extensive interviews on radio. Preserving them is a necessity for future historians, scholars, students, the public.”

Other Minds for preservation of interviews from the Composer-to-Composer Festival
Other Minds in San Francisco will digitize, catalog, and preserve a collection of DAT tapes dating from 1988-1991 documenting various conversations, lectures, interviews, and performances presented at the Composer-to Composer Festival in Telluride, Colorado.

“The collection comprises approximately 120 hours of recordings as well as numerous ephemeral items related to the festival,” says Charles Amirkhanian, Executive & Artistic Director of Other Minds. “During those four years, the festival hosted numerous emerging and illustrious composers including John Cage, Lou Harrison, Joan La Barbara, Laurie Anderson, Anthony Davis, Terry Riley, Conlon Nancarrow, Pauline Oliveros, and many more.”

The National Recording Preservation Foundation is an independent 501(C)3 mandated by an act of Congress to find, preserve and make accessible the recorded history of the United States – its music, broadcast, speeches and spoken word. The Foundation helps develop strategies, coordinate policies and fund the preservation of “The Sound of America.”

RIAA – The Recording Industry Association of America – Supports NRPF With a Grant

September 11, 2018

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has made a generous contribution to the National Recording Preservation Foundation (NRPF), a project dedicated to helping to preserve recorded sound.

RIAA is pleased to contribute to the important work of the NRPF to protect and preserve sound recordings for future generations of music fans,” said David Hughes. RIAA’s Chief Technology Officer. “These recordings are etched in our history and have shaped our culture in profound ways. We are grateful to the NRPF and look forward to our continued partnership.”

The National Recording Preservation Foundation mission is to help find, preserve and make accessible the recorded history of the United States and help recuperate collections housed within the United States. These include international assets. Music, broadcast, speeches, spoken word – saved for all time. It does this by offering grants to not-for-profit archives in libraries, universities, foundations and elsewhere.

We are honored by the RIAA’s generous support for your preservation efforts,” said NRPF’s Executive Director, Gerald Seligman. “It goes such a long way in helping us support the preservation of our audio heritage. With contributions such as these the RIAA demonstrates how they look back to preserve even as the move ever-forward to develop new generations of recording artists.”

National Recording Preservation Awards Grant to Preserve Mike Seeger Collection

National Recording Preservation Foundation Grants University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill $25,000 for Audio Preservation

The National Recording Preservation Foundation Grant Program announced today a $25,000 grant to the Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to help support archiving and preservation of more than 600 hours of rare sound recordings recorded by traditional musician and folklorist Mike Seeger.

The National Recording Preservation Foundation is an independent 401(C)3 mandated by an act of Congress to find, preserve and make accessible the recorded history of the United States – its music, broadcast, speeches and spoken word. The Foundation helps develop strategies, coordinate policies and fund the preservation of “The Sound of America.”

Says Executive Director Gerald Seligman, “The Southern Folklife Collection is an exemplary effort to locate, preserve and provide access to the cultural treasures of the extended region. The NRPF is proud to assist them in assuring Mike Seeger’s seminal collection will be available to students, researchers – and fans.”

Mike Seeger (1933-2009) was born into the first family of American folk music. His mother and father, Ruth Crawford Seeger and Charles Seeger, assisted John and Alan Lomax at the Archive of Folksong in the Library of Congress. His brother Pete was a member of the Almanac Singers and the Weavers, while his sister Peggy is highly regarded in traditional music circles. In 1958, Seeger helped form the seminal group the New Lost City Ramblers (NLCR), a musical trio reviving old-time string-band music from the 1920s and 30s. The NLCR greatly influenced several generations of musicians, including their contemporary, Bob Dylan.

From 1950s to the 2000s Mike Seeger collected interviews, made field and studio recordings with traditional musicians as well as documented their live performances and those of the NLCR. A number of the field recordings in the Seeger collection are the original unedited masters for classic releases Seeger produced for Folkways Records (now Smithsonian Folkways) and Rounder Records. The Mike Seeger Collection provides invaluable documentation of the folk revival movement and historic performances by the finest traditional musicians of the era including those by Elizabeth Cotton, Hazel Dickens, Tommy Jarrell, Bill Monroe, Roscoe Holcomb, Almeda Riddle and many others.

This grant allows us to preserve these national treasures and provide online access to the recordings for the first time,” says Steve Weiss, Curator of the Southern Folklife Collection.

Once digitized, the materials will be accessible online through the Southern Folklife Collection website.

http://library.unc.edu/wilson/sfc/

National Recording Preservation Foundation Gives Grant for Orson Welles Preservation

Rare Orson Welles recordings to be preserved and shared through Indiana University Libraries and the National Recording Preservation Foundation.
April 26th 2016

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – With the assistance of a $25,000 grant from the National Recording Preservation Foundation to Indiana University Libraries, the university will preserve rare, original recordings of “The Orson Welles Show.” The live radio series produced by its iconic host and namesake debuted Sept. 15, 1941.

Previously, internet sites and books have stated that only eight of the 19 “Orson Welles Show” broadcasts have survived.

An IU-led preservation and digitization project, titled “Orson Welles on the Air,” will reveal the truth: Original lacquer discs containing 14 of the broadcasts, as well as other supposedly lost recordings, had been secured by Indiana University Libraries’ Lilly Library, one of the nation’s premier rare book and special collection libraries.

Preservation is a priority for the university, said Carolyn Walters, the Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries. As co-chair of IU President Michael A. McRobbie’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, Walters helps oversee the mission of safeguarding unique and rare media, such as the Welles discs.

“Considering the number of unusually rich holdings at Indiana University, MDPI is a remarkable and bold commitment, drawing well-deserved national attention,” Walters said. “We are proud to be a leader in preservation through MDPI, and to partner with the National Recording Preservation Foundation to save and share these Orson Welles treasures.”

Together, the “Orson Welles on the Air” materials represent the most complete original source of audio for Welles’ radio work during the late 1930s and 1940s, with the highest extant sound quality.

Erika Dowell, head of public services at the Lilly Library, said that along with digitization, the “Orson Welles on the Air” project will include the creation of an interactive website to provide context for the collections. Librarians will build an imaginative online experience, where users will be able to stream audio of the recordings, search Welles’ scripts and access expert commentary.

In announcing its grant to “Orson Welles on the Air,” National Recording Preservation Foundation Executive Director Gerald Seligman said: “That there were so many extant scripts and vulnerable recordings immediately piqued our interest. That they were housed in Indiana’s venerable Lilly Library gave us great confidence that such an important collection was in the right restorative hands. This aligns well with the NRPF’s mission: acting quickly to save original, master recordings in danger of degradation and loss. These contain episodes that do not survive anywhere else.”

The National Recording Preservation Foundation is an independent 401(c)3 mandated by an act of Congress to find, preserve and make accessible the recorded history of the United States: its music, broadcast, speeches and spoken word. The foundation helps develop strategies, coordinate policies and fund the preservation of “The Sound of America.”

Mike Casey, IU’s director of technical operations for the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, said the foundation’s grant will assist digitization experts as they embark upon the preservation of 324 master sound recordings in the form of lacquer discs and about 100 accompanying paper scripts. The script pages show tangible evidence of Welles’ creative process in their dramatic deletions and seemingly last-minute rewrites.

Casey appreciates the rapid action by the National Recording Preservation Foundation, allowing the first stages of the project to begin in late summer 2016.

“Most lacquer discs have an aluminum or glass base with a black lacquer coating,” he said. “It contains the grooves that carry the sound. This is not a safe way to store a treasure — lacquer discs are inherently chemically unstable and sometimes fail catastrophically.”

Lilly Library records show that in the last three years alone, 90 researchers — from 19 states and 11 countries — have accessed the library’s extensive collection of Welles manuscripts. For scholars, it is a treasure house with its holdings of canonical Welles series such as “Mercury Theater on the Air,” “Campbell Playhouse” and the most complete known set of “The Doorway to Life.”

Despite renewed interest in Welles’ radio innovations, the body of recordings available for study has remained incomplete. A portion of the material to be digitized is, in fact, already available through other channels. The sound quality can be uneven, however, as some recordings are the result of multiple generations of copying by amateur tape-traders.

For Seligman, the proven commitment to open access at IU’s Lilly Library was a major motivation in supporting the Welles project.

“This is an exciting contribution to the legacy of American radio,” he said. “Orson Welles was a major creative force, responsible for some of the era’s most acclaimed innovations. He virtually invented narrative radio. The National Recording Preservation Foundation exists to find treasures such as these, and we are thrilled to find a credible partner at IU with the capacity and expertise to make them available to everyone.”

The National Recording Preservation Foundation Becomes Operational Thanks to Generous Donation from Jack White

The contribution

The National Recording Preservation Foundation (NRPF) announces a major contribution of $200,000 from musician and NRPF Board member Jack White [1].

“The donation is very much a game changer,” says Executive Director Gerald Seligman. “It is our first and therefore provides the welcome opportunity to go from talk about the needs and priorities of audio preservation to concerted action. With this contribution we can now put up our basic structure, begin enacting the preservation plan — and give out our first grants. We’re committed to doing that right away, and certainly within the coming months.”

“Mr. White’s contribution to the Recording Foundation comes at an opportune time,” says Sam Brylawski, the Chairman of the National Recording Preservation Board, an affiliated project created by Congress in the same National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 that authorized the NRPF [2]. “With its national plan, the Library of Congress has laid the groundwork for the long-term preservation of our audio history but the challenges to achieving this at a significant scale are daunting. I hope that Mr. White’s extraordinarily generous donation inspires many others, especially those in the recording business — record companies, artists, songwriters, and others — to follow his lead to help ensure that we are able to preserve and make accessible recent and historical recordings at risk of loss.”

Each Board member demonstrates valuable ways to contribute, from lending time, talents, advice and expertise to sharing contacts and helping reach the people best placed to further the Foundation’s objectives. At this key moment, Jack White has provided the means to get the Foundation up and running.

What is the National Recording Preservation Foundation?

The NRPF aims to help stem the flow of serious losses to America’s unparalleled radio, music and recorded sound heritage. “Sound archives have reached a critical point in their history marked by the simultaneous rapid deterioration of unique original materials, the development of expensive and powerful new digital technologies, and the consequent decline of analog formats and media,” explained Board member George Massenburg, the renowned producer, engineer and educator. “It has long been clear to most sound archivists that our old analog-based preservation methods are no longer viable and that new strategies must be developed in the digital domain.”

What will the Foundation work to preserve? “American music is one of our true national treasures,” says Board member Bob Santelli, the Executive Director of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. “Preserving our greatest recordings is both necessary to our identity and important for future generations as a source of inspiration and cultural knowledge.”

But the scope is broader still. “The mission goes beyond music to include radio, broadcast, speeches, poets, spoken word, oral histories, field recordings — the very soundtrack of the nation,” says Board member and radio producer Davia Nelson. “The Foundation seeks to discover and preserve lost audio treasures as well as the most iconic of recordings that deserve another listen and share them with the public, to educate, entertain and delight,” she adds, something she knows much about due to her ground-breaking work as one half of NPR’s Kitchen Sisters.

By law and inclination, the Foundation intends to go beyond the archives, collections and libraries and into the lives of the population by making these treasures accessible to all. Education, research, preservation, pleasure, that is the mission at hand. It is a process made easier than ever before due to online tools and ubiquity.

The NRPF… The Finer Details

The National Recording Preservation Foundation is the independent, nonprofit charitable corporation established by the U.S. Congress for the purpose of supporting archives, libraries, cultural institutions and others committed to preserving America’s radio, music and recorded sound heritage. Where appropriate, it will also assist privately-held collections and commercial archives that may have been damaged through the ravages of time or random acts of nature when those holding them cannot do so with their own resources. And, finally, it will help to further database and digitize our vast and often hidden treasures — delivering them to the nation at large.

“Congress understood the need to preserve and protect our Nation’s sound recordings when they created the National Recording Preservation Foundation,” says John Simson, the Foundation’s Chairman and former Director of Sound Exchange. “It is a crucial task at hand, working to identify collections of recordings that are at risk, that are in need of archival resources, that are in need of a home.”

Independence and Collaboration…

The NRPF is a private/public partnership, that works closely with the Library of Congress and its experts, and is dedicated to putting into practice the priorities and procedures of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 and the National Recording Preservation Plan [3]. But it maintains an independence that lends it great flexibility in fund raising and the setting of priorities and practices. These are largely determined according to the broadest concerns of the preservation community at large and the guidelines of the Foundation’s advisors and Board of Directors. It is therefore uniquely positioned to raise the necessary funds, marshal the expertise of skilled professionals, and reach out to the recorded sound community, collectors and archives to build support for preserving our nation’s audio treasures.

The National Recording Preservation Foundation… Up and Running…

“The establishment of the National Recording Preservation Foundation as a separate charitable and nonprofit entity constitutes one of the most important actions by the Library of Congress in fulfilling the mandates of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000,” says Patrick Loughney, the Director of the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation at Library of Congress and an advisor for, and advocate of, the NRPF. “In securing its first major donation, the Foundation takes a major step toward accomplishing one of the recommendations of the National Recording Preservation Plan, which calls for developing sustained private and public sector funding to support the preservation of recorded sound collections held by libraries, archives and other cultural institutions across America which lack the resources and expertise to preserve their important collections and make them publicly accessible.”

“After several years in planning, we are thrilled that we can finally join the mission of helping to preserve the riches of America’s recorded heritage,” says Executive Director Gerald Seligman. “We hope to reinforce the good work already being done and to help fund far more of it through the contributions we seek and will, in turn, distribute. The goal here is preservation and access, bringing the wealth of our recorded heritage to the public. America’s cultural treasures are to be savored by all. Stay tuned for key events, and by all means, help us if you can.”

Notes

[1] Jack White first came to prominence as a member of the White Stripes, a group that was active from 1997 to 2011. He has been awarded nine Grammys in seven different categories, most for his work under his own name and that of the White Stripes but several with other groups with which he has been associated.

Mr. White runs his own label, Third Man Records, which highlights a special interest in vinyl issues and releases. To date the 200-plus releases have covered Jerry Lee Lewis, the Smoke Fairies, Wanda Jackson, Black Milk and Stephen Colbert, Blind Willie McTell, Charlie Patton, The Mississippi Sheiks and many others, demonstrating an eclecticism inspired by broad musical interests. Third Man Records also released Mr. White’s 2012 chart-topping debut solo album Blunderbuss.

[2] The NRPF was one of three components established by an act of Congress in the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000. The Act aims to form a comprehensive national program to ensure the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America’s sound recording heritage. The other two components are the National Recording Registry and the National Recording Preservation Board, whose objective is to advise on the selection criteria for the Recording Registry and to review and recommend nominations for the Registry.

[3] For a copy of the National Recording Preservation Plan, see: http://www.loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb/PLAN%20pdf.pdf