Monday, August 24, 2015

Recording Edison Cylinders and Diamond Discs --- Just Take Those Old Records off the Shelf, Part 2

In my continuing series of recording selected cylinders from my collection of Edison phonographs, I've recorded a cylinder that has always been a particular favorite of mine.  The title of the cylinder is "Let Us Not Forget."  It's an address by Thomas Alva Edison himself.  Edison, always self-conscious of his voice due to his deafness, seldom allowed his voice to be recorded.  In this recording, however, he felt strongly enough about the topic that he read an address to the American people on the role of the allied powers in working with the United States to defeat Germany in World War I.

Although "Let Us Not Forget" was originally issued on a 4-minute Blue Amberol cylinder, the entire speech is just under two minutes long.  There are two different versions of this cylinder.  The speech is always the same, however, another version is followed by national airs of other countries.  My copy of this cylinder has blank grooves for another two minutes.

Thomas A. Edison, the inventor of the phonograph, has never before permitted his voice to be recorded for the public. Today, however, he has a message for you that is important enough to cause him to break his long established rule. Mr. Edison will now give you that message. I beg to introduce Mr. Thomas A. Edison:

Thomas Alva Edison:

Thomas Edison's Address "Let Us Not Forget" 1919
This is Edison speaking. Our boys made good in France, the word 'American' has a new meaning in Europe. Our soldiers have made it mean courage, generosity, self-restraint and modesty. We are proud of the North Americans who risked their lives for the liberty of the world. But we must not forget and we must not permit demagogues to belittle the part played by our gallant allies. Their casualty list tells the story. However proud we may be of our own achievements, let us remember always, that the war could not have been won if the Belgians, the British, the French and the Italians had not fought like bull-dogs in the face of overwhelming odds. The Great War will live dilately in the minds of Americans for the next hundred years. I hope that when we do reverence to the memory of our brave boys who fell in France, we shall not forget their brothers in arms who wore the uniform of our allies. I believe that the national airs of France, Great Britain, Italy and Belgium should for all time to come be as familiar to us as our own Star Spangled Banner."

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy this cylinder recording.