Famous Voice Recordings
Here we have a selection of recordings of people who were famous in their time, and whose voices were recorded on cylinder record. The sound clips are short exerpts of the full recordings.
No. 1 P. T. Barnum
£45.00 - 2-minute
Phineas Taylor Barnum was born on July 5th, 1810 in Bethel, Connecticut, USA. He owned his first business in his early twenties, founded a weekly newspaper then moved to New York where he started his career in entertainment. He was famous for promoting hoaxes and human curiosities, running a variety troupe and a museum.
Over the years he endured periods of financial strife; did a lecture tour, primarily as a temperance speaker; served two terms as a Republican in the state legislature, speaking out against slavery and African-American suffrage; and was mayor of Bridgeport where he helped found the Bridgeport Hospital.
He is most famous for his connection with the circus, The Barnum & Bailey Circus being known worldwide. In 1907, Barnum & Baileys was sold to the Ringling Bros who later renamed it the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. It is still delivering shows, mostly in the eastern states of America.
Just before his death, Barnum gave permission to the Evening Sun to print his obituary, so that he might read it. On April 7 he asked about the box office receipts for the day; a few hours later, he was dead
He died on April 7, 1891.
In 1890, while in London, he recorded a message on an Edison wax cylinder record.
No. 2 Florence Nightingale
£45.00 - 2-minute
Florence Nightingale was born on 12 May 1820, and was named after the city of her birth.
Experiencing a calling to nursing, and in spite of strong opposition from her family, in 1851, she went to Kaiserwerth in Germany for three months nursing training. This enabled her to become superintendent of a hospital for gentlewomen in Harley Street, in 1853. Nightingale established nursing as a respectable profession for women.
Famous for her work in the military hospitals of the Crimea during 1855, she was dubbed "The Lady with the Lamp" after her habit of making rounds at night.
In 1860, she established the Nightingale Training School for nurses at St Thomas' Hospital in London. It is now called the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery and is part of King's College London. Her concerns for sanitation, military health and hospital planning established practices which are still in existence today. The Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses was named in her honour, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday.
She died on 13 August, 1910.
In May 1890 it was discovered that many veterans of the Crimean War were destitute. Three wax cylinder recordings were made to raise money in support of the Light Brigade Relief Fund: of Florence Nightingale delivering a message to the veterans; of Alfred Lord Tennyson reading his poem The Charge of the Light Brigade; and of a veteran and trumpeter sounding the charge as it was heard at Balaclava (there is some confusion about his name).
The original Florence Nightingale cylinder is believed to be held in the British Library.
No. 3 Arthur Sullivan
£45.00 - 2-minute
Born 13th May 1842 in England, Sullivan was of Irish and Italian ancestry, and composed his first anthem at the tender age of 8. Most famous for his collaboration with WS Gilbert in the 14 Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas, he composed 23 operas, 13 major orchestral works, eight choral works and oratorios, two ballets, incidental music to several plays, and numerous hymns and other church pieces, songs, and piano and chamber pieces. The best known of his hymns and songs include "Onward Christian Soldiers" and "The Lost Chord".
In 1888, Thomas Edison sent his "Perfected" Phonograph to George Gouraud in London, England, and on 14th August 1888, Gouraud introduced the phonograph to London Society in a press conference, including the playing of a piano and cornet recording of Sullivan's "The Lost Chord", one of the first recordings of music ever made. A series of parties followed, introducing the phonograph to members of Society at "Little Menlo" in London. Sullivan was invited to one of these on 5th October 1888.
Sullivan was knighted for his contributions to music in 1883. Regarded as the finest British composer of the 19th century, he died on 22nd November 1900 at the age of 58.