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Emile Berliner collection, 1871-1965

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6 folders
RPA 00842 (box 12)
Selected items available online.
Series 5 consists of catalogs from 1895 and 1896. Included is an advance list of new records from May 1895, a supplementary list of records from June 1985, a handwritten list of band music and recitations from July 1895, and a supplemental list of new gramophone records from June 1896.
BOX-FOLDER 12/1 Berliner Gramophone Co. complete catalogue
BOX-FOLDER 12/2 List of plates, January, 1895
BOX-FOLDER 12/2 E. Berliner’s gramophone, 1895
BOX-FOLDER 12/2 Advance list of new records, 1895
BOX-FOLDER 12/2 Supplementary list of records, 1895
BOX-FOLDER 12/2 Supplement list of new gramophone records, 1896
Series 6. Correspondence, 1871-1926, 1946-1955
.5 linear feet
RPA 00842 (box 12)
Selected items available online.
This series includes some personal correspondence from Emile Berliner to Jacob Berliner, but the majority of correspondence pertains to business letters and copies of letters between Berliner and J.W. Hyatt, William P. Richards (D.C. Surveyor’s Office), Alfred C. Clark, James Rush Marshall, and others. This series is arranged in chronological order.
BOX-FOLDER 12/3 1870-1871
BOX-FOLDER 12/4 1881-1887
BOX-FOLDER 12/5 1888-1889
BOX-FOLDER 12/6 1890-1896
BOX-FOLDER 12/7 1905-May, 1922
BOX-FOLDER 12/8 July 1922-1928
BOX-FOLDER 12/9 October 1926-November 6, 1926, undated
BOX-FOLDER 12/10 November 7, 1926-November 24, 1926, undated
BOX-FOLDER 12/11 1946, 1955, undated
BOX-FOLDER 12/12 Louise Berliner Frank King’s family tree research
Series 7. Journals and Diaries, 1889-1907
.5 linear feet
RPA 00843 (box 13)
Selected items available online.
Series 7 includes copies of Cora Berliner’s journal of her family’s trip to Germany in 1889 and Joseph Sander’s diaries from 1906 and 1907.
BOX-FOLDER 13/1 Journal of Cora A. Berliner, 1889-1890
Includes copies.
BOX-FOLDER 13/2 Joseph Sanders’s diary, 1906
BOX-FOLDER 13/3 Joseph Sanders’s diary, 1907
BOX-FOLDER 13/4 Unidentified diary, undated
Series 8. Miscellaneous Materials, 1897-1929
.5 linear feet
RPA 00843 (box 13)
Selected items available online.
This series contains a variety of materials, including a 1927 report on the activities of the Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis of the District of Columbia; copies of sheet music for the “Columbian Anthem,” which was written by Berliner; invitations; award certificates; and programs.
BOX-FOLDER 13/5 Report, Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis of the District of Columbia, 1927-1929
BOX-FOLDER 13/5 Sheet music, invitations, award certificates, programs, 1896-1930
BOX-FOLDER 13/6 Promotional materials for the Celotex Company, 1925
Series 9. Notes and Papers, 1977-1928
.5 linear feet
RPA 00843 (box 13)
Selected items available online.
Series 9 contains notes made by Emile Berliner on many of the inventions and experiments he was working on during his lifetime. These include the electric telescope, organophone, batteries, broken-point microphone, a siphoning gas jet, and producing a tremolo (tremolo on a violin). The series also contains copies of a tribute to Berliner on his birthday from the board of directors of the Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, essays, speeches, and legal documents. Researchers will find a handwritten statement by Berliner describing his preferred funeral arrangements.
BOX-FOLDER 13/7 Notes on experiments, including electric telescope, broken-point microphone, gas jet, battery, and violin, 1877-1884
BOX-FOLDER 13/8 Experiment log and notes on experiments, including batteries, candle, light through electrolyte and magnetic field, and final development of the Blake transmitter, 1884-1923
BOX-FOLDER 13/9 Birthday tribute to Emile Berliner on his 75th birthday, publicity for Berliner’s acoustic cement cells, and Berliner’s funeral preferences, 1926-1928
BOX-FOLDER 13/10 Agreement between Joseph and Jacob Berliner, the Bell-Berliner system since 1879, a poem in German, an essay on the magnetic receiver, and a eulogy for Berliner
BOX-FOLDER 13/11 “Wonders,” an essay describing the wonders found in everyday occurrences of scientific principles, 1897
BOX-FOLDER 13/12 Legal documents and notes in German, 1887-1891
Series 10. Pamphlets, 1890-1929, 1951, undated
.5 linear feet
RPA 00844 (box 14)
Selected items available online.
This series contains copies of pamphlets describing the operating directions for the motor gramophone, the history of the gramophone, promotional pamphlets for the gramophone and acoustical tile, reports on installing acoustic tile at Drexel Institute, the microphone, and promotion of the Berliner biography by Frederic William Wile.
BOX-FOLDER 14/1 Gramophone
BOX-FOLDER 14/2 Acoustics
BOX-FOLDER 14/3 Microphone
BOX-FOLDER 14/4 Telephone almanac, 1951
Series 11. Patents, 1879-1909
.5 linear feet
RPA 00844 (box 14)
Selected items available online.
Copies of patents in this series include improvements in electrical contact telephones, designs for carpeting, improvements to telephone transmitters, gramophone improvements, floor coverings, apparatus for producing sound records, and Joseph Berliner’s improvements in connection with vulcanizers and other apparatus. Researchers will find copies of patents held by other inventors, such as Fay Oscar Farwell, Sumner Tainter, Gavin Chapman, Byron Goldsmith, Charles Francis Jenkins, as well as many others.
BOX-FOLDER 14/5 1879-1900
BOX-FOLDER 14/6 1900-1909
BOX-FOLDER 14/7 Gramophone, 1887-1898
BOX-FOLDER 14/8 Other patent holders, A-F
BOX-FOLDER 14/9 Other patent holders, G-Z
Series 12. Photographs, 1871-1965, undated
2 linear feet
RPA 00845-00847 (boxes 15-17); RPC 00082 (box OS 2)
Selected items available online.
This series includes copies of formal portraits, Berliner working in his laboratory, family scenes with Cora Berliner and other family members, the staff of U.S. Gramophone Co., and others. There are also photographs of gramophones; Berliner’s factory in Hanover, Germany; microphones; acoustic tiles; the Technical Institute (Technische Hochschule in Hanover); the auditorium in the Oyster School, Washington, D.C.; the Berliner House at 1458 Columbia Road; and many others. Included is a photograph album, circa 1918-1923, of 56 photographs. Photographs are black and white; sizes are 10 x 13 inches and smaller.
BOX-FOLDER 15/1 1872-1926
BOX-FOLDER 15/2 1872-1926
BOX-FOLDER 15/3 1881-1926
BOX-FOLDER 15/4 undated
BOX-FOLDER 15/5 1875, 1895, undated
BOX-FOLDER 15/6 1875-1907, undated
BOX-FOLDER 15/7 1927, undated
BOX-FOLDER 16/1 Photograph album, circa 1918-1923
BOX-FOLDER 16/2 1912-1932, undated
BOX-FOLDER 16/3 1912, 1915, 1924, undated
BOX-FOLDER 16/4 1910-1927, undated
BOX-FOLDER 16/5 1900-1950, undated
BOX-FOLDER 16/6 1920, 1932, undated
BOX-FOLDER 16/7 1915–1924, undated
BOX-FOLDER 16/8 1910-1965, undated
BOX-FOLDER 16/9 1910-1932, undated
BOX-FOLDER 17/1 1876, 1894, 1920, undated
BOX-FOLDER 17/2 1888, undated
BOX-FOLDER 17/3 1914, undated
BOX-FOLDER 17/4 1914, undated
BOX-FOLDER 17/5 1877, 1926, undated
BOX-FOLDER 17/6 undated
BOX-FOLDER 17/7 undated
BOX-FOLDER 17/8 1890-1900, undated
BOX-FOLDER 17/9 1898, 1924-1929, undated
BOX-FOLDER 17/10 1927, undated
BOX-FOLDER 17/11 1920, 1926, undated
BOX-FOLDER OS 2/1 Emile Berliner on porch
BOX-FOLDER OS 2/1 Milton King on horseback
BOX-FOLDER OS 2/1 Portrait of Louise Berliner
BOX-FOLDER OS 2/2 Portraits of Robert Berliner Frank
BOX-FOLDER OS 2/2 Portrait of Cora Berliner
BOX-FOLDER OS 2/3 Matrix plant of the Berliner Gramophone Co.
Series 13. Recordings, circa 1890-1950s
Extent: Over 400 sound discs, including zinc, copper, celluloid, rubber, shellac, and vinyl pressings and masters, in various speeds, and in sizes ranging from 5 to 12 inches in diameter
The recorded sound component of the Berliner Collection consists of over four hundred discs. These include records produced by the Berliner Gramophone Company from the mid-1890s to 1900, unpublished and experimental records, some metal discs that may be stampers or mothers, a number of recordings made for private use, a selection of electronically recorded Victor 78 rpm records, and a number of other commercially released 78s and LPs. The published Berliner records represent one of the first successful attempts to mass-market and commercially distribute popular sound recordings.

The online Library of Congress presentation of Emile Berliner materials, entitled "Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry," features approximately 100 sound recordings that have been converted to Broadcast WAVE and Real Audio streaming digital files. Most of the digitized discs date from the 1870s to the early 1930s, although there are a few items from as late as 1956. Each of those discs is briefly described in this series and links are provided to the online digital files for listening.

More detailed information about the Berliner Collection sound discs, along with other Berliner recordings acquired separately from the collection, can be found in the Library of Congress Online Catalog.
DISC Berliner 0559 Adeste fideles
Published: [United States] : E. Berliner's Gramophone, 1899.
1 sound disc :
Original issue number: E. Berliner's Gramophone 0559
Online digital audio.
Unidentified chimes performer.
Recorded at an unknown location, Sept. 29, 1899.
LC Online Catalog record:
DISC Berliner 1216 Adios a Mexico
Published: [United States] : E. Berliner's Gramophone, [189-]
1 sound disc :
Original issue number: E. Berliner's Gramophone 1216
Online digital audio.
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