The National Jukebox, the new digital musical player of the Library of Congress, features more than 10,000 songs released by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925 (with the promise of more to come). You can build your own playlist from the many genres of music available, which include some extremely rare recordings from different genres including 0pera, blues, yodeling, jazz, and much, much more.
We also love the disclaimer on the website’s front page: WARNING: Historical recordings may contain offensive language. It’s quite easy to see why the warning is necessary, especially after some time spent listening to the comedy section.
If you want to see a Victor Talking Machine in action, you can watch one getting demoed here.
Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly