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Apr 26, 2020 4:19 AM
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Explore free-to-use sounds from the Library of Congress

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Inventing Entertainment

Inventing Entertainment: The Early Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies features 341 motion pictures, 81 disc sound recordings, and other related materials, such as photographs and original magazine articles.

The 61 motion pictures in the Variety Stage Sound Recordings and Motion Pictures include animal acts, burlesque, dance, comic sketches, dramatic excerpts, dramatic sketches, physical culture acts, and tableaus. The films represented date from copyrights of 1897 to 1920. Although not actually filmed on a theatrical stage, they sought to recreate the atmosphere of a theater performance by showing the types of vaudeville acts and performers that were popular at the time.

The Joe Smith Collection

More than 25 years ago, retired music executive Joe Smith accomplished a Herculean feat—he got more than 200 celebrated singers, musicians and industry icons to talk about their lives, music, experiences and contemporaries. In 2012 Smith donated this treasure trove of unedited sound recordings to the nation's library.

Free Music Archive is a website devoted to distribution and curation of rights-free music. The Library of Congress has archived this website as part of its Web Cultures Web Archive, which includes sites documenting the creation and sharing of emergent cultural traditions on the web.

American English Dialect Recordings

The Center for Applied Linguistics Collection contains 118 hours of recordings documenting North American English dialects. The recordings include speech samples, linguistic interviews, oral histories, conversations, and excerpts from public speeches. They were drawn from various archives, and from the private collections of fifty collectors, including linguists, dialectologists, and folklorists.

The National Screening Room showcases the riches of the Library's vast moving image collection, designed to make otherwise unavailable movies, both copyrighted and in the public domain, freely accessible to the viewers worldwide.