Libraries: Sound Scholarship

"We stand at Armageddon and we battle for the Lord!" cried Teddy Roosevelt at the G.O.P. Convention in 1912.

Everyone has read those words in history books; few know that T.R. spoke them in drumbeat tempo and a high-pitched voice that seem mismatched to the thunderous sentiment. But thanks to Edison, who first recorded the human voice in 1877, T.R.'s words were later etched in wax. Thanks to Michigan State University's new National Voice Library, Americans can now hear his speech, along with 16,000 other voices and sounds going back to the 1880s—everything from Gladstone hailing "the triumph of the...

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