American Archive of Public Broadcasting to Preserve Fifty Years of Sesame Street for Posterity

WGBH Educational Foundation and the Library of Congress will preserve and make accessible to the public historic and contemporary episodes of Sesame Street.

Photo credit: Sesame Workshop

BOSTON (February 14, 2019)As Sesame Street begins to mark its 50th anniversary, the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation, has announced that Sesame Workshop has donated a collection of digitized episodes from the past 50 years of Sesame Street, to be preserved for posterity. Over the next year, nearly 4,500 episodes from the first 49 seasons of the iconic children’s television program will be incorporated into the AAPB’s extensive archive of public media from across the United States. The Sesame Street collection will be available to view on-site at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and by appointment at WGBH in Boston.

Sesame Street changed the landscape of children’s media at a time when television was viewed as a ‘vast wasteland’ and transformed a medium that strongly appealed to children into a source for knowledge and social development for our youngest citizens,” said Sesame Street co-founder and AAPB Executive Advisory Council Member Lloyd Morrisett, Jr. “I am proud that we are entrusting the American Archive of Public Broadcasting with the task of preserving Sesame Street’s stories and characters for future generations.”

The Sesame Street preservation project comes on the heels of Sesame Workshop’s announcement last week detailing plans to celebrate Sesame Street’s 50th year of broadcast. Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit education organization behind Sesame Street, which has been teaching and inspiring children since its first episode aired on November 10, 1969. Sesame Street’s groundbreaking research-based methods, dedication to entertaining educational content and outreach to families in underserved communities established a legacy for educational television and for public media as a whole.

Sesame Street: 50th Anniversary Highlight Reel

Among the episodes preserved in the AAPB’s Sesame Street collection are indelible scenes like the touching “Farewell, Mr. Hooper,” in which Big Bird, the program’s guileless surrogate for curious children, learns about death and how to cope;  Ernie’s “Rubber Duckie, You’re the One,” which made it to the 16th spot on the Billboard top singles chart in 1970; Grover’s frantic back and forth in “Near/Far,” Cookie Monster’s turn as “Alistair Cookie,” the cookie and classics-obsessed host of Monsterpiece Theater; and Kermit the Frog’s hopeful tune, “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” which stressed self-acceptance.

“As a historian and academic, I can’t stress enough the importance of preserving groundbreaking media like Sesame Street, which was the first TV show to address big issues like poverty, family and the environment in a way that children could understand,” said Kathryn Ostrofsky, Ph.D. and author of the forthcoming book Sounding It Out: How Sesame Street Crafted American Culture. “Early episodes of Sesame Street provide a window into the pressing issues of the times, as well as changing views about education. The American Archive of Public Broadcasting’s Sesame Street collection is a critical resource for studying and understanding so many facets of these societal changes.”

The mission of the AAPB is to digitize, preserve and make accessible historic public media content from across the country, dating back to the early 1940s. Given its age, much of the original audio and video tape is fragile and deteriorating. The AAPB is in a race against time to ensure that future generations, researchers and the public will be able to access these programs for years to come.

“We’re honored that Sesame Workshop has entrusted the preservation of their decades of work to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “To this day, Sesame Street is a key part of our national educational, television and public broadcasting landscape. I hope that everyone whose lives were touched by Sesame Street will visit the Library and WGBH to experience this historic collection.”

Photo credit: Sesame Workshop

Now in its fifth year of service, the AAPB has preserved for posterity over 90,000 digitized and born-digital audio and video materials. Among the collections preserved are more than 8,000 episodes of the PBS NewsHour Collection, dating back to 1975; more than 1,300 programs and documentaries from National Educational Television, the predecessor to the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS); full “gavel-to-gavel” coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings; raw, unedited interviews from the landmark documentary Eyes on the Prize; raw, unedited interviews with eyewitnesses and historians recorded for American Experience documentaries including Stonewall Uprising, The Murder of Emmett Till, Freedom Riders, 1964, The Abolitionists and many others. The AAPB also works with scholars to publish curated exhibits and essays that provide historical and cultural context to the Archive’s content.


About the American Archive of Public Broadcasting

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation to coordinate a national effort to preserve at-risk public media before its content is lost to posterity and provide a central web portal for access to the unique programming that public stations have aired over the past 70 years. To date, over 50,000 hours of television and radio programming contributed by more than 100 public media organizations and archives across the United States have been digitized for long-term preservation and access. The entire collection is available on location at WGBH and the Library of Congress, and more than 35,000 programs are available online at americanarchive.org. 

About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including MasterpieceAntiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, ArthurPinkalicious & Peterrific, and more than a dozen other primetime, lifestyle and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH TV productions focusing on the region’s diverse community include Greater BostonBasic Black and High School Quiz Show. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s Local NPR®; 99.5 WCRB Classical Radio Boston; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of programs for public radio (among them, PRI’s The World®), a leader in educational multimedia (including PBS LearningMedia™, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content), and a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. Find more information at wgbh.org.

About The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

New AAPB Special Collection of Raw Interviews from American Experience’s ‘The Abolitionists’

The Abolitionists takes place during some of the most violent and contentious decades in American history, … bitter debates over the meaning of the Constitution and the nature of race.  – American Experience

AX0003_Abolitionists.jpgCollection Summary

The Abolitionists Interview Collection is comprised of 51 raw interviews from the three-part American Experience miniseries of the same name, which aired on PBS in 2013. The series follows the lives of prominent abolitionists including Frederick Douglass, John Brown, Angelina Grimké, William Lloyd Garrison, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and explores differing and often conflicting approaches to abolishing slavery in the United States.

The Abolitionists interviews examine the historical contexts of the subjects and their lasting legacy on American history and law. Interviews were conducted with authors, educators, and historians, including Manisha Sinha, Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; James Brewer Stewart, Professor of History at Macalester College, and Founder of Historians Against Slavery; John Stauffer, author and Professor of English and African and African American Studies at Harvard University; and Lois Brown, Professor of African American Studies at Wesleyan University. Subjects discussed include abolition, slavery, racism, the American Constitution, Christianity, civil rights, and the American Civil War.

Access the collection at http://americanarchive.org/special_collections/the-abolitionists-interviews!

Collection Background

The Abolitionists interviews were conducted in 2012 for the three-part series of the same name. Nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series, Rob Rapley served as the director. In 2017, the WGBH Media Library and Archives digitized The Abolitionists interviews and in 2018 submitted them to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.

Featured Interviews

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Manisha Sinha is Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the author of “The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina” (University of North Carolina Press, 2000) and “To Live and Die in the Holy Cause: Abolition and the Origins of America’s Interracial Democracy.”

James Brewer Stewart, James Wallace Professor of History Emeritus, Macalester College, retired, and the founder and director of Historians Against Slavery. Stewart’s books include Holy Warriors: The Abolitionists and American Slavery. He has published biographies of four very well-known enemies of slavery: Joshua R. Giddings, Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison, and Hosea Easton. His most recent books include Abolitionist Politics and the Coming of the Civil War (2008) and Venture Smith and the Business of Slavery and Freedom (2009).

Lois Brown is a professor in the African American Studies Program and the Department of English at Wesleyan University. Brown’s scholarship and research focus on African American and New England literary history and culture.

Erica Armstrong Dunbar, associate professor of Black American Studies with joint appointments in history and in women and gender studies at the University of Delaware.

Carol Berkin, Presidential Professor American Colonial and Revolutionary History; Women’s History, Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, Baruch College. Her publications include: Civil War Wives: The Life and Times of Angelina Grimke Weld, Varina Howell Davis, and Julia Dent Grant (2009).

John Stauffer is Chair of the History of American Civilization and Professor of English and African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Among his works include: GIANTS: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln (2008), The Writings of James McCune Smith: Black Intellectual and Abolitionist (2006), and The Problem of Evil: Slavery, Freedom.

AAPB Commemorates the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Through Public Media

Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day is an annual holiday observed on the third Monday of January to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King was a chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism during the Civil Rights Movement until his assassination in 1968. The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his death; however, President Ronald Reagan officially signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later.

As MLK Day aims to celebrate the life and achievements of Dr. King, below is a selection of public radio and television programs that document King’s legacy, including his legendary speeches and influence on society.

1963

  • Context – The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom featured an estimated 250,000 peaceful demonstrators walking from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial to hear a political call to arms for economic equality and civil rights for African Americans. Credited with being the final impetus to the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the event famously ended with Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech – recording below.

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Leffler, Warren K, photographer. Civil rights march on Washington, D.C. / WKL. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2003654393/>.

Series: March on Washington Coverage by Educational Radio Network

Program: I Have a Dream Speech: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Contributing Organization: WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)

Description: Part 17 of 17, this program includes the Educational Radio Network’s (ERN) coverage of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s introduction and speech ““I Have a Dream”.

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-9xp6v356

1964

June

Series: Long, Hot Summer ’64

Producing Organization: Educational Radio Network

Contributing Organization: WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)

Description: The Long, Hot Summer ’64 series was a weekly news report documenting the civil rights movement during the summer of 1964. This episode describes the arrest of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and 14 others on June 11, 1964, when they attempted to eat at the segregated Monson Motel. Reporters include Dr. Robert Hayling, the head of the movement in St. Augustine and two chaplains from Boston University, Bill England and Eugene Dawson, describe beatings during demonstrations that day and during the previous two evenings.

Direct Links:

Episode 1: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-50tqk2fw

Episode 2: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-02c86fs0

– – –

Episode: Violence

Series: Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr.

Contribution Organization: Hoover Institution Library & Archives, Stanford University (Stanford, California)

“After the killing of Dr. King and after the killing of Robert Kennedy many, many people … gave their opinions, and I would like to tell you first that everybody seems to know where violence comes from – they know where the riots come from, where the wars come from, where murder comes from. I’m the only one who doesn’t know, so I’m considered an expert – at least I know one should find it out.” – Dr. Wertham, Discussant

Description: Following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, Dr. Wertham, a practicing psychiatrist and longtime clinical student of violence, discussed how he cuts through the rhetorical excesses of the time. The television series Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. was a venue for debate and discussion on political, social, and philosophical issues with experts of the day.

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_514-hm52f7kn3h

– – –

July

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is passed — a landmark civil rights and U.S. labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It prohibits unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools, employment, and public accommodations.

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President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr. looks on. Photo Source

– – –

October

  • Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. Below is a recording of the reception.

Episode: Reception for MLK’s Nobel Prize

Contributing Organization: WNYC (New York, New York)

“[I] can think of no one that has done more to give true meaning to that precious word called ‘peace.'” – Hubert Humphrey speaking of Dr. King.

Description: In celebration of Dr. King’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, WNYC recorded the evening’s events including speeches made by Hubert Humphry, New York Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr., and Dr. King.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_80-4302vwz6

1967

Title: Martin Luther King, Jr. Speaks Against the Vietnam War

Contributing Organization: WYSO (Yellow Springs, Ohio)

Description: In 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr. was President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and spoke against the Vietnam War. This program was produced by the SCLC as part of their “Martin Luther King Speaks” weekly series. The program is about lobbying efforts against proposed welfare legislation that brought together the National Welfare Rights Organization, the Peoples Coalition for Peace and Justice, and the Southern Christian Leadership. Conference. It includes short excerpts of King speaking at the beginning and end of the program.

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_27-pr7mp4w42p

1968

April

  • Context – Martin Luther King Jr. was shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. Following MLK’s assassination, performer James Brown was to play a concert in Boston. In an effort to prevent rioting, the Mayor was advised to ask local station WGBH to broadcast the concert. Below is the beginning address of the historic concert.

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James Brown shakes hands with Boston Mayor Kevin White.

Title: James Brown and Mayor Kevin White Address the Crowd at the Boston Garden

Contributing Organization: WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)

Description: Following Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, James Brown was to play in Boston and is credited with preventing riots by agreeing to broadcast his concert on WGBH. This short excerpt from the 1968 concert features Councilor Tom Atkins and James Brown as they introduce Mayor Kevin White onto the stage at the Boston Garden. White addresses the crowd, urging they respect the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Brown salutes Mayor White and sings “That’s Life.”

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-qz22b8vs2h

– – –

  • Context – The Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Fair Housing Act, is a landmark part of legislation that provided for equal housing opportunities regardless of race, religion, or national origin. The Act was signed into law during the King assassination riots by President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had previously signed the Civil Rights Act 1964 and Voting Rights Act 1965 into law.

Program: Civil Rights: What Next?

Producing Organization: National Educational Television and Radio Center

Contributing Organizations: Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)

Description: This hour-long interconnected public affairs special emanated live from New York City and Washington, D.C., on Thursday, April 11, 1968 at 9 p.m. EST, the day President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights of 1968. The panel studied the meaning of the newly passed Civil Rights Bill in the aftermath of national mourning for Dr. Martin Luther King. Paul Niven moderated the discussion with James Forman, director of international affairs for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); Hosea Williams, national director of political education for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; and Floyd McKissick, executive director of the Congress of Racial Equality (Core). In Washington were John Field, director of community relations of the U.S. Conference of Mayors; James J. Kilpatrick, nationally syndicated columnist and former editor of the Richmond, Va. News leader; and Congressman Charles Mathias, Jr. (R-MD).

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-741rq0bx

– – –

June

Title: Premier Episode of the Black Journal Series

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Coretta Scott King, WNET

Contributing Organizations: Thirteen WNET (New York, New York) and Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)

Description: This episode served as the premiere episode of National Educational Television’s monthly magazine, Black Journal, the first of a series devoted to the interests and concerns of Black America. This segment includes a satire by Godfrey Cambridge, an address by Coretta Scott King, a report on the Poor People’s Campaign, and a study of the African American political reaction to Robert Kennedy’s assassination.

Full program at http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_62-5m6251fv96.

1977

Program: Nine years later: a Black panel on racism and civil rights since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Part 1 of 2)

Contributing Organization: Pacifica Radio Archives (North Hollywood, California)

Producing Organization: KPFA (Radio station: Berkeley, Calif.)

Description: This program contains a panel discussion covering topics such as the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his impact upon the Civil Rights movement, South Africa, the Vietnam War and the Black community, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Affirmative Action programs, the Bakke decision, capitalism, socialism, U.S. police forces, economics in the Black community, President Carter, racism at the University of California, the firing of Dr. Harry Edwards, and the future of struggle in the United States. Yvonne Golden moderates the panel. Panel members in this first hour include JoNina Abron, Gloria Davis, Dr. Harry Edwards, Enola Maxwell, and Joel Mitchell.

Direct Links –

Part 1: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_28-xg9f47hd10

Part 2: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_28-bc3st7f50p

1983

  • President Ronald Ragan officially signs Martin Luther King Day into law as a federal holiday.

1982

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Episode: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Commemoration

Contributing Organization: Rocky Mountain PBS (Denver, Colorado)

Description: Prime Time is a weekly program about Denver Public Schools hosted by Ed Sardella. This episode visited Garden Place Elementary School, Hallett Academy, and Manual High School, where students focused on the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_52-580k6kxc

1985

Title: Long Black Song [Part 1 of 2]

Contributing Organization: Louisiana Public Broadcasting (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

Description: This episode of the series North Star from 1985 focuses on the history of African Americans from the 1860s to the 1960s through the periods of Reconstruction, Segregation and the Civil Rights Movement. It features Dr. Valerian Smith performing excerpts from his musical composition “Tribulations,” a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. The host includes Genevieve Stewart, who goes into detail about specific aspects of African American history each episode.

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_17-29b5ndnr

1985

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John Lewis’ transcript is searchable and accessible on AAPB’s site!

Title: Interview with John Lewis

Series: Eyes on the Prize

Producing Organization: Blackside, Inc.

Contributing Organization: Film and Media Archive, Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, Missouri)

Description: Interview with John Lewis conducted for Eyes on the Prize. Discussion centers on the voting rights movement in Selma, Alabama, his friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr., the relationship between SCLC and SNCC, his view on the philosophy of nonviolence, and his involvement in the March on Washington.

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_151-cz3222s11s#at_674_s

1986

Episode: Rev. Michael Haynes

Series: From the Source

Contributing Organization: WUMB (Boston, Massachusetts)

Description: This episode of From the Source features guest Rev. Dr. Michael Haynes, a contemporary and colleague of Martin Luther King, Jr. and former MA state representative. During the interview, Haynes reflected on the newly-implemented Martin Luther King Day holiday and addressed caller questions about how young people could further King’s dream of racial equality. He also discussed the need to keep the pressure on political leaders regarding civil rights, King’s intellectual prowess, King’s sense of the hypocrisy of the institutional Christian Church in America, King’s 1965 address to the MA Legislature, and the religious foundations of King’s belief in the necessity of non-violence to achieve his goals.

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_345-171vhk97

1988

Contributing Organization: NewsHour Productions (Washington, District of Columbia)

Description: This episode of NewsHour Productions features a segment on the 20 years following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Direct link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_507-804xg9ft7m

1989

Title: Commemorative Program for Martin Luther King, Jr. (1989)

Contributing Organization: WYSO (Yellow Springs, Ohio)

Description: This program was produced in 1989 to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. for the national holiday in his honor. It featured an excerpt from the commencement speech he gave at Antioch College in Yellow Springs.

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_27-cf9j38kv54

2002

Screen Shot 2019-01-20 at 6.48.41 PM.pngProgram: Martin Luther King Convocation

Series: First Friday

Contributing Organization: Mississippi Public Broadcasting(Jackson, Mississippi)

Description: This episode of First Friday features highlights from Jackson State University’s 33rd Annual Martin Luther King Birthday Convocation. The goal of the ceremony is to celebrate and remember the contributions Dr. King made for nonviolent social change in America.

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_60-77fqzfgz

2005

Program: The Contested Legacy of Martin Luther King, JR.

Contributing Organization: Hoover Institution Library & Archives, Stanford University (Stanford, California)

Description: During this program, Clayborne Carson, editor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s papers, considered what would come of King’s legacy. Carson notes that in his time, King was a controversial figure and that King himself would likely be have been surprised on how lauded he is. Carson argued that there would not be a holiday in his honor if not for (a) the actions of Rosa Parks, et al., and (b) that he was assassinated before he could continue to say more provocative and controversial things authorities do not like to hear. Carson noted the meaning of King’s life was contested while he was alive, and will continue to be contested long after his death.

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_514-w37kp7vs1r

2011

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Clayborne Carson, American Experience

Series: American Experience

Episode: Freedom Riders

Contributing Organization: WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)

Description: Explore four raw interviews with Clayborne Carson, a professor of history at Stanford University, and director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute.

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-qz22b8vs2hfixitt


About the AAPB:

The AAPB is a national effort to preserve at-risk public media and provide a central web portal for access to the programming that public stations and producers have created over the past 70 years. To date, over 90,000 items of television and radio programming contributed by more than 100 public media organizations and archives across the United States have been digitized, and the Archive aims to grow by up to 25,000 additional hours per year. The entire collection is available for research on location at WGBH and the Library, and currently, more than 37,000 programs are available in the AAPB’s Online Reading Room at americanarchive.org to anyone in the United States.

Donate to the AAPB here! http://americanarchive.org/donate


Curated by Ryn Marchese, AAPB Engagement and Use Manager

A Retrospective on WGBH and Experimental Television, 1968-1970

This year, the WGBH Media Library and Archives (MLA), a participating station of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), has begun hosting quarterly archives screenings as part of the WGBH Insiders Screening Series. Last week’s screening, A Retrospective on WGBH and Experimental Television from 1968-1970, offered a unique look into WGBH’s role as one of the first public media stations to explore television as an artistic medium. Over 100 members and guests visited WGBH to view segments of WGBH’s experimental television, including What’s Happening, Mr. Silver?; Madness and Intuition, The Medium is the Medium, and Violence Sonata.

Panelists included:

• Fred Barzyk, the original producer of WGBH’s series New Television Workshop

• George Fifield, Founder and Director of Boston Cyberarts Inc.

• Aldo Tambellini, Multimedia artist who created work for WGBH/Public Broadcasting Laboratory’s 1969 production called The Medium is the Medium

The event was moderated by Ryn Marchese, Engagement and Use Manager for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, and Peter Higgins, Archives Manager at WGBH Media Library and Archives. Digital Archives Manager Leah Weisse curated an exhibit of relevant production and promotional materials to provide context to the evening’s focus. AAPB and MLA thank Elizabeth Hagyard for her support and collaboration on the event, as well as other staff in events, legal, marketing, and engineering, and WGBH volunteers who helped make the night a success!

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Introductory slide for The Medium is the Medium (1969) displaying the six contributing artists. From left to right on stage: Peter Higgins, Ryn Marchese, Fred Barzyk, and George Fifield.

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Aldo Tambellini speaks about his video art in The Medium is the Medium (1969).

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Digital Archives Manager Leah Weisse curated an exhibit of relevant production and promotional materials to provide context to the evening’s focus.

Event slide deck:

Original post from WGBH Media Library and Archives’ blog at https://wordpress.com/view/blog.openvault.wgbh.org.

Vote for AAPB’s Breakout Session Proposal for the PBS Annual Meeting!

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‘Engage Your Community to Celebrate Your History’ – Voting closes January 11th!

Help the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) connect with more public television colleagues by voting for our PBS Annual Meeting session proposal: ‘Engage Your Community to Celebrate Your History’.

Vote for #12 at https://pbs.us18.list-manage.com/track/click?u=1ef18d7e30fe3109d60695e37&id=1015068778&e=0fc245cef2!

Many stations have piles of tapes in closets, basements, off-site storage, or hard drives under desks, that represent our local and national cultural heritage. The AAPB has proposed a session to help stations learn about easy steps toward preserving and making their collection available. Through collaborative grants with stations both large and small, the AAPB has preserved nearly 100,000 programs and original materials contributed by 125 TV and radio stations.

Joining the session would be Broadcast Journalist Judy Woodruff, Chair of our Executive Advisory Council and from the PBS NewsHour, Archivist Chris Alexander from WETA, and AAPB Stations and Producers Advisory Committee Member Kevin Crane from Nashville Public Television to discuss preservation, funding, and engaging initiatives that help preserve broadcasting’s legacy!

It’s as easy as:

  1. Click the voting link: https://pbs.us18.list-manage.com/track/click?u=1ef18d7e30fe3109d60695e37&id=1015068778&e=0fc245cef2
  2. Press ‘NEXT’ to #12
  3. Select AAPB’s Session titled ‘Engage Your Community to Celebrate Your History’
  4. Click ‘NEXT’ until you’ve submitted!

Please spread the word with your fellow pubmedia fans! Thank you.

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#InnovationMonday: Dr. Michael DeBakey and Heart Surgery

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Want to help make this interview searchable and accessible online? While listening to Dr. DeBakey’s interview, audiences can edit the grammatical errors made in the computer-generated transcript at http://fixitplus.americanarchive.org/transcripts/cpb-aacip_17-73bzmhcc!

Produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB), this episode of the series “Louisiana Legends” (1982) features the first part of an interview with Dr. Michael DeBakey, a native of Lake Charles, LA who was a preeminent surgeon whose innovations revolutionized heart surgery. During his interview, Dr. DeBakey discusses his father’s immigration to Lake Charles from Lebanon, how he became interested in the heart, the impact of Dr. Alton Ochsner on his career, and his interactions with President Richard Nixon, President John F. Kennedy, and President Lyndon B. Johnson.

“Louisiana Legends” is a talk show hosted by Gus Weill conducting in-depth conversations with Louisiana cultural icons. This series has been digitized and preserved in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) and the public can help make this interview searchable and accessible through the Transcribe to Digitize Challenge!

How does it work? The AAPB has created computer-generated transcripts for each radio and television program in the archive. Stations like LPB are engaging the public to help correct puncutation or misspelled words to make the program available online. These programs are then searchable by keywords and timestamps much like this interview with James Baldwin (WGBH, 1963) – http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-0v89g5gf5r.

You can start editing here http://fixitplus.americanarchive.org/transcripts/cpb-aacip_17-73bzmhcc.

Or watch the full interview at http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_17-73bzmhcc.

To learn how the Transcribe to Digitize Challenge is providing FREE digitization to AAPB’s participating organizations, visit https://americanarchivepb.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/aapbs-transcribe-to-digitize-challenge-with-george-blood/.

Thank you!

National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Conference Resources

Available Online: 35,000+ Educational Video and Audio Resources and Primary Sources

The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) recently met with K-12 educators, administrators, and teachers-in-training at the annual National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Conference, a melding of the minds to help advocate and build capacity for high-quality social studies through leadership, services, and support.

As a collaboration between the Library of Congress and WGBH Educational Foundation, the AAPB provides an online archive, open and available to the public, of historic public radio and television programs from across the nation, spanning public broadcasting’s 70+ year history. From local and regional to national productions, the AAPB allows the public to access 36,000 (and growing) programs and original materials, from local news and documentaries to talk shows and raw interviews, and more all available at americanarchive.org!

To learn more about the AAPB, watch this informational video with example clips at https://vimeo.com/108272934.


For easier access and navigation, below is a deeper dive into AAPB’s resources:

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The AAPB provides online access to users anywhere in the United States with a wide range of historic public television and radio programs that were submitted for digitization by more than 120 stations and archives from across the country. More than 36,000 programs are available online for research, educational and informational purposes, spanning public broadcasting’s 70+ year history. The entire collection is available for research on location at WGBH and the Library of Congress.

*Start with AAPB’s Road Trip Special Collection at http://americanarchive.org/special_collections/aapb-road-trip!

Check out our participating organizations at http://americanarchive.org/participating-orgs.


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Because of the geographical breadth of the material, students can use the collection to help uncover ways that national historical events played out on the local scene. The long chronological reach from the late 1940s to the present provides researchers with previously inaccessible primary source material to document change over time.


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Some notable collections are featured on the Special Collections page with finding aids that include information such as the scope and content of the collection, provenance and background information about its creator and source, recommended search strategies, and related resources. Collections include:

Raw interviews –

Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 12.34.25 PM.png1964 (American Experience)
The Abolitionists (American Experience)
Jubilee Singers (American Experience)
Freedom Riders (American Experience)
The Murder of Emmett Till (American Experience)
Reconstruction (American Experience)
Africans in America (WGBH)

American Masters (WNET)
Ken Burn’s The Civil War (American Documentaries, Inc.)

Early educational broadcasting –

National Association of Educational Broadcasters Programs
National Educational Television Collection

Locally and nationally distributed programs and documentaries –

Center for Asian American Media
Firing Line
Georgia Gazette (GPB)
Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) News and Cultural Programming
PBS NewsHour
Say Brother (WGBH)
Vision Maker Media Documentaries
Woman (WNED)

Direct link to our Special Collections: http://americanarchive.org/special_collections


AAPB staff and guest curators create exhibits of selected programs and recordings that focus on themes, topics, and events of cultural and historical significance. Primary and secondary sources contextualize a curatedexhibit1-e1544117844344.pngdiversity of perspectives concerning the exhibit’s focus and as a result, AAPB exhibits often illuminate how public broadcasting stations and producers have covered topics such as the Watergate hearings, climate change, protesting in America, civil rights, and more!

Direct link to our Curated Exhibits: http://americanarchive.org/exhibits


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Contact Ryn Marchese, AAPB’s Engagement and Use Manager, to inquire about bringing these materials into your classroom: ryn_marchese@wgbh.org!

And feel free to share our resource with your local school, public and academic librarians! We’ve created a AAPB Library Communications Kit with details on how to describe the AAPB on website/resource guides and embed our player and harvest metadata from our catalog. We’ve also included a link to our webinar with the Boston Library Consortium on the “Accessibility of AAPB in Academic Libraries,” most of which will be applicable to the public librarian community.

For information about the AAPB that you can print for your classroom, email to fellow teachers, or post about online, feel free to use our Informational Flyer!


Most recommended content during NCSS?

Based on our conversations with teachers, below are a few programs we most recommended during the conference!

  1. PBS NewsHour Special Collection – The PBS NewsHour Collection includes more than 8,000 episodes of PBS NewsHour’s predecessor programs from October 1975 to December 2007 covering local and national conversations.
  2. “Gavel-to-Gavel”: The Watergate Scandal and Public Television Curated Exhibit – Here you will find guides to each episode of the public hearings that were digitized, links to transcripts, and highlights to peruse. To help identify people in the videos, the Cast of Characters page includes photos and titles for the important figures in the hearings. The Watergate Scandal, 1972-1974 page gives an explanation of the who, what, when, where, and why of Watergate to help guide you through the coverage. If you would like a more in depth essay on the significant role that Watergate played in the history of public broadcasting, please click on the Watergate and Public Broadcasting link.
  3. Field Trip Series from Main Public Broadcasting – Field Trip is a series of short educational documentaries that explore Maine’s history, culture, and agriculture from fish hatcheries to how low/high tides work — there’s so much to explore!
  4. Local Content – Search our participating stations for local content!

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The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and WGBH Educational Foundation in Boston that preserves and makes accessible significant public radio and television programs before they are lost to posterity. The AAPB collection includes more than 50,000 recorded hours comprising over 90,000 digitized and born-digital programs, and original materials dating back to the late 1940s, and is growing!

Written by Ryn Marchese, AAPB Engagement and Use Manager

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@amarchivepub

Eric Saxon, Public Broadcasting Fellow at KOPN

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KOPN’s transmitter, located east of Columbia, MO

Greetings gentle reader, I’m Eric Saxon, a Masters of Information and Library Science student specializing in archives at the University of Missouri – Columbia, and part of the second cohort of the Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF). This summer, I embarked on a deep tape diving expedition at the radio station, KOPN.

KOPN 89.5 FM, community radio from Columbia, Missouri, broadcasts to antennas throughout the central part of the state and via online at kopn.org. KOPN has transmitted information and music since 1973 AD. As part of the PBPF mission to record local histories across the nation, I set out to discover Columbia and KOPN as it existed in the first twenty or so years of the station, through a media format heretofore unfamiliar to me, the ¼ in. audio tape reel.

The idea was to give these audio reels new life through digital preservation, and, subsequently, new access points to the history of community radio in Columbia, MO in the era of the ¼ in. magnetic tape.

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A ¼ in. magnetic audio tape reel

What I ended up recording is only a small piece of this history, but the audible trace there tells a story of a community radio station being born out of the progressive ethos of the 1960s, open to and actively exploring all available ideas during the 1970s, and incompletely mutating into new wave ideals of the 1980s. During the era of the magnetic tape, KOPN filled a void in mid-Missouri left by mainstream broadcast radio and television, serving across an intersection of race, class, gender, style, sexuality, attitude, and musical preference.

The collection is particularly strong in broadcasts that represent feminist discourse and practice of the time, and my predecessor (Rebecca Benson, PBPF Spring 2018 Fellow) had already begun work that focused on feminist community radio. Having inherited her excellent start to the project, I built upon the theme and expanded it to include live music broadcasts and a wide range of programming, all under the umbrella of feminist community radio.

To convey an idea of this breadth, some titles of the audio broadcasts I digitized include Betty Friedan in Columbia (1973); Don Cooper Live at KOPN (1973); Consciousness Across the Void (1973); Angela Davis in Columbia (1974); Political Gayness (1974); National Women’s Music Festival (1975); The End of “Alternative Radio” on WGTB (1976); Off Our Backs (1976); The Fabulish Winotones Live (1977); Numerology (1978); The Booty Band: Demo Tape (1978); Reasonably Polite New Wave (1981); Program on Lesbian Separatism (1981); DuChamp Live at the Blue Note (1981); Bella Azbug at MU (1984); Gloria Kaufman, “The Politics of Humor: A Feminist View” (1992);  City Council Meetings; and discussions by the Women’s Health Collective.

I transferred only a few reels from the 1990s to a digital format, and none from the 2000s. (By that time, the station had switched to digital machines.) However, a quick listen to KOPN today will tell you that the community values and open radio format there in the beginning continue to be the guiding forces of the station.

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Kansas City new wave band, DuChamp. Handmade collage on tape reel box.

The digitization process not only transferred content but also often recorded the unique physical characteristics of the tape and its interaction with the reel-to-reel tape machines, which, in the University of Missouri – Columbia KOPN Digitization Station’s case, are the Studer A807 (mono) and the Studer B67 (stereo). These were hooked up to a PC and a Mac desktop computer, respectively, where both utilized the audio editing software, Audacity. I could have removed some tape hiss, a sizzle of magnetic particles here and there, and other imperfections, but I left in all but the most egregious content obfuscators, not only to digitize as much as possible in the time allotted, but also as an aesthetic choice and to preserve the unique qualities of the tape medium itself.

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The Studer A807

Emancipating the tape reels from their media-specific obscurity required multiple other steps, with some reels needing more TLC and resuscitation than others. After vigilant cleaning of the machines between reels, this process might entail repairing splices that popped off during the recording process, adding leader tape to the heads and tails of reels, re-housing tapes with broken parts, periodic demagnetizing of the tape machines, untangling and re-spooling tape that had become curled and twisted, and baking/dehydrating tapes exhibiting “sticky-shed syndrome” where deteriorating binder material becomes unfixed in the tape path and gums up the machine’s moving parts. In addition to the more physical aspects of the project, there was also record creation for each reel, inventory production, metadata researched and added, checksum generation, audio file conversion, and ingest into the mothership servers at WGBH.

Although I worked independently, at every stage I had a network of experts and mentors to turn to when encountering an obstacle, from the immersion week of audiovisual preservation training in Boston to the final handoff of the files. Thanks go out to the amazing folks at WGBH and all involved in immersion week, including George Blood and Jackie Jay for introducing me to legacy A/V equipment, all my fellow Fellows, host mentor Jackie Casteel and everyone at KOPN, faculty mentor Dr. Sarah Buchanan and the scholars at MU’s Allen Institute, local mentor Jim Hone, and every one else involved in this far-reaching project.

Going forward, I’m excited to bring forth more untold and seldom heard stories from their various limbos, utilizing what I learned as a PBPF fellow to help make a more complete historical record that is inclusive of the entire spectrum of human experience.

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Minimal audio preservation setup: computer, reel-to-reel tape machine, human

Written by Eric Saxon, PBPF Summer 2018 Cohort

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About PBPF

The Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship (PBPF), funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, supports ten graduate student fellows at University of North Carolina, San Jose State University, Clayton State University, University of Missouri, and University of Oklahoma in digitizing at-risk materials at public media organizations around the country. Host sites include the Center for Asian American Media, Georgia Public Broadcasting, WUNC, the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, and KOPN Community Radio. Contents digitized by the fellows will be preserved in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. The grant also supports participating universities in developing long-term programs around audiovisual preservation and ongoing partnerships with their local public media stations.

For more updates on the Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship project, follow the project at pbpf.americanarchive.org and on Twitter at #aapbpf, and come back in a few months to check out the results of their work.