Archive for the ‘sound’ Category

Though the exact date of his birth is unknown (and presumed to be sometime during the latter half of 1867), Scott Joplin’s birthday has historically been observed and celebrated on November 24. Joplin was an American composer and pianist best known for his Ragtime compositions.  During the late 1890s and early 1900s, he composed “The Maple Leaf Rag,” “The Entertainer,” and many of his most enduring works.  Toward the end of his life, he focused on composing and producing an opera, Treemonisha, which proved a failure in 1915.  Long after Joplin’s death, however, Treemonisha was revived to critical acclaim, and he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1976.

Cover art of sheet music for "The Maple Leaf Rag." Image courtesy of the University of Indiana.

At Opening History, you can find audio recordings and notated sheet music of Scott Joplin’s works through the Louisiana State Museum Jazz Collection and Indiana University’s Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music, respectively.


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March 13 is celebrated in Illinois as Pluto Day because the dwarf planet of Pluto was discovered by an Illinoisan and famous American astronomer Clyde William Tombaugh (1906-1997) on March 13, 1930. This year it’s an anniversary — 80 years since the discovery of Pluto.

This interview with Dr. Tombaugh, courtesy of Heritage West digital collection, was recorded at the New Mexico State University in 1987. In the interview, Tombaugh discusses his early life, employment at the Lowell Observatory, his discovery of Pluto, and employment at the White Sands Missile Range and New Mexico State University.

audioTo listen to the interview, please click here (side A) and here (side B).

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Films is one of the various types of digital objects represented by digital collections in Opening History aggregation.

Full version of the Alan Lomax’s Dreams and Songs of the Noble Old film (58 min., 1991), courtesy of Folkstreams digital collection of documentary films about American folk or roots culture. More information about this digital collection can be found at .

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Walt Whitman, glass negative, between 1860 and 1865

Walt Whitman, glass negative, between 1860 and 1865

Walt Whitman was born 190 years ago, on May 31st, 1819. The portrait above courtesy of Library of Congress, Brady-Handy Photograph Collection.

The Opening History aggregation includes two digital collections about the famous poet: Walt Whitman Archive and Integrated Finding Aid to Walt Whitman Manuscripts.

There are also some interesting items about Walt Whitman in a number of other digital collections in Opening History. For example, listen to audioaudio recording of Allen Ginsberg teaching a class on Walt Whitman and negative capability at Naropa Institute in 1987 (1 hr. 20 min.), courtesy of Naropa Poetics Audio Archives collection, part of a larger Heritage West digital collection.

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