Collections overview

Established in 1958, the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound was one of the first major collections devoted to the acquisition, preservation, and dissemination of historically and artistically significant sound recordings. Stanford University Libraries recognized early on that these aural documents should be an integral part of a university's scholarly resources. 

The Archive houses more than 350,000 recordings, 5000 film and video sources, and 6000 print and manuscript items. With a number of items dating back to the late 1800s, the earliest years of sound recording, almost every format developed to record sound can be found here: wax cylinders, shellac and vinyl discs. acetate and aluminum transcription discs, magnetic wire recordings, tapes, compact discs, and laser discs. 

An extensive reference collection of books and periodicals, including a wide range of discographies, is maintained on the history and development of the sound recording industry and its major figures. Original record manufacturers' catalogs, liner notes, photographs, and clipping files are also available. 

The Archive also houses and maintains a magnificent collection of original phonographs

Collection Highlights

Ambassador Auditorium, Pasadena, CA

Ambassador Auditorium Collection

Files of the organizational departments of the Ambassador Auditorium as well as audio and video recordings.

Mario Ancona

Mario Ancona Collection

The Mario Ancona Collection includes photographs, memorabilia, sound recordings, and more related to Ancona's career.

Richard Bonelli Collection

The Bonelli Collection includes letters, programs, scores, scrapbooks, recordings, posters, and news clippings.

French Horn

William C. Lynch Dennis Brain Collection

The William C. Lynch Dennis Brain Collection principally consists of commercial and unpublished recordings of the world renowned British horn player, Dennis Brain (1921-1957).

Ruth and Mario Chamlee in Manon

Ruth and Mario Chamlee Collection

Tenor Mario Chamlee sang at the leading opera houses in the United States and abroad. His wife Ruth was a soprano and noted singing teacher.

Denis Condon Collection of Reproducing Pianos and Rolls

Over his lifetime, Denis Condon (1933-2012) amassed a collection of over 7500 piano rolls and ten instruments. The collection contains rolls of important composers of the period, all playing their own works.

Jascha Heifetz Collection

The Heifetz Collection features recordings by the violinist and a rare unpublished recording by Leopold Auer.

Lehmann as the Marschallin

Gary Hickling Collection on Lotte Lehmann

Includes correspondence and research notes related to Hickling's discography of Lehmann's performances.

Yehudi Menuhin

Yehudi Menuhin Collection

The Menuhin Collection contains many test pressings of Menuhin's performances as a violin soloist.

Monterey Jazz Festival logo

The Monterey Jazz Festival Collection

Recordings of live performances throughout the history of this enduring American cultural institution.

Riverwalk Jazz logo

Riverwalk Jazz Collection

Riverwalk Jazz: Live At The Landing educated and entertained public radio listeners with a program devoted to celebrating traditional jazz and popular music of the pre-war era.

Blanche Thebom as Laura, in La Gioconda

Blanche Thebom Collection

The Blanche Thebom Collection consists of scores, correspondence, publicity, production notes, and media from the mezzo-soprano's post-Met career as teacher and director.

Finding aids

Search finding aids for many of our unique collections, available via the Online Archive of California (OAC).