Sound Recordings

The sound collection of The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary consists of approximately 10,000 recordings in multiple formats:

  • 78 and 33 rpm LP sound disks
  • Reel-to-reel tapes and audio cassettes
  • Compact disks
  • Videotapes

The collection includes archival recordings produced from 1914–1994 such as:

  • The Solomon Rosowsky field recordings on aluminum disks of biblical chanting styles of the different ethnic groups settling in British Palestine during the pre-World War II period
  • Early commercial recordings of liturgical music
  • Yiddish songs
  • Commissioned music by composers such as Mario Castelnuovba-Tedesco and Robert Starer
  • Lectures given by world leaders such as David Ben-Gurion, Abba Eban, and Raul Alfonsin at JTS are housed in The Library as part of the Ratner Center for Conservative Judaism archive
  • Jewish radio programs broadcast to U.S. servicemen by CBS and NBC (1942–1950)
  • Coretta Scott King's address at a memorial service for theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • An oral history of the life and music of Cantor Isaac Goodfriend, who sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at President Jimmy Carter's inauguration in January 1977

Other commercially recorded holdings include American and Israeli Hebrew songs documenting the development of culture as a medium for Israel-Diaspora relations (1955–1990), and a current collection of Judaica, Yiddish, Eastern, Ladino, klezmer, cantorial, and synagogue music with choir (1989–present).

Access to the sound collections are through the catalog and the archival guides. The Solomon Rosowsky field recordings are available through the Digital Collections. Sound recordings may be listened to in the Helen and Norman Ascher Audio-Visual Center. For access to the musical recordings, contact the Public Services Librarian. For access to the nonmusical recordings, contact the archivist.