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After the Day of Infamy: 'Man-on-the-Street' Interviews Following the Attack on Pearl Harbor

The Library of Congress presents this seasonal collection of field recordings of over 200 ordinary Americans' reactions to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Made between December 8, 1941, and February 1942, the original recordings used a technology called direct-to-disk, which created fragile, lacquer-coated, aluminum disks that could be played at 33 1/3 or 78 RPMs. The site includes transcripts and audio of the recordings, biographies of the people who conducted the interviews, and information on how the disks have been preserved since the 1940s (in the 1960s, most of the collection was copied onto magnetic tape). There are also a few documents, primarily letters and communications between Alan Lomax, "assistant in charge" of the Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song, who managed the project, and field workers. The interview transcripts can be searched by keyword, and browsing by names, subjects, titles, and geographic locations is possible. In addition, the interviews have been arranged into series, or sets, of recordings made by one interviewer in a particular location, for example five 8-inch discs recorded in Bloomington and Mishawaka, Indiana, by Robert E. Barton Allen.
Archived Scout Publication URL
Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication
December 20th, 2002
Date Of Record Creation
April 8th, 2003 at 10:29am
Date Of Record Release
April 8th, 2003 at 10:29am
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