National Recording Registry Includes Two National Archives Sound Recordings
Press Release · Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Washington, DC…Two sound recordings from the National Archives were named as part of the fifth annual selection of 25 recordings to the National Recording Registry. They are "National Defense Test Day" (September 12, 1924), and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s "Day of Infamy" Address To Joint Session of Congress (December 8, 1941).

The National Recording Registry, established under the terms of the National Preservation Act of 2000, names 25 recordings each year that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Hundreds of nominations for the registry were considered from members of the public and from the National Recording Preservation Board.

The sound recordings which the National Archives has in its holdings as copies are:

"National Defense Test Day" (September 12, 1924)
Before national radio networks existed, a group of 24 stations cooperated to test how radio stations might respond to a national emergency and help the nation during a crisis. This recording is notable as one of only a handful of extant recorded radio broadcasts from early radio in the United States. It is technologically significant as an experiment of real-time switching between stations in 14 cities. It features conversations between General John J. Pershing and other Army generals stationed in different cities. This recording from the holdings of the National Archives was donated to the National Archives by AT&T.

Address to Congress, December 8, 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt (December 8, 1941)
"Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." The day after the assault on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress asking for a Declaration of War against Japan, marking the entry of the United States into World War II. The president’s voice, strong and confident, yet familiar and reassuring, rallied the American public and helped to prepare them for the sacrifices that lay ahead. Recordings of the broadcast of the speech exist in the National Archives gift audio collection and at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.

For information about how this important speech was written and crafted by President Roosevelt himself, with little help from his speechwriters, see the National Archives Prologue Magazine article FDR's "Day of Infamy" Speech: Crafting a Call to Arms.

About the sound holdings at the National Archives

These two recordings are part of the National Archives’ audiovisual collection, one of the world’s largest. There are more than 360,000 unique reels of film, 225,000 sound recordings, and a rapidly growing collection of more than 110,000 videotapes. The films are primarily nonfiction and consist of edited and unedited footage, documentaries, newsreels, news film, instructional films, screen magazines, combat films, research and development test films, and other formats. The sound recordings consist of voice recordings of speeches, interviews, press conferences, interrogations, proceedings, meetings, radio news, and documentaries. Video recordings consist of television news programs; telecast proceedings of the U.S. Congress; agency information programs; public service spots; press conferences; meetings; interviews of federal officials; edited programs and unedited video footage of historical events.

About the National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration is a Federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our government, ensuring that the people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. It supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. Every subject relating to American history is covered in the nine billion pages, the millions of photographs, maps and electronic records and the thousands of motion pictures and audio recordings that are available to the public at the National Archives nationwide. The National Archives maintains 13 regional archives and 11 Presidential libraries nationwide.

For more information about the National Archives motion picture, sound and video holdings, contact Charles DeArman of the Special Media Archives Services Division at 301-837-3520. Or visit our web site to search the Archival Research Catalog (ARC).

# # #

For Press information, please call the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.


Top of Page

This page was last reviewed on January 7, 2013.
Contact us with questions or comments.