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Title:Sound Conversations in Print: A Cultural History of the Player Piano and Radio Through the Lens of American Print Media
Author(s):Wolter, Catherine Hennessy
Abstract:The images comprising this collage are taken from player piano and radio advertising and related commercial ephemera from the early twentieth century. I originally discovered the juxtaposed missing pages notice inserted in an issue of Ladies Home Journal from the same period held at the University of Illinois library. It reassures the library patron that they need not worry; pages missing from the volume are only advertisements. To the contrary, the collage showcases the rich cultural depth ads and other commercially-oriented print sources offer to narratives of music history and music technology. Images are central to my dissertation, which explores the cultural advocacy and commercial promotion of two little-studied, early-twentieth-century music technologies: the player piano and radio. I consider advertising, images, and discussions of these instruments within print media sources ranging from the popular Saturday Evening Post to the more obscure trade magazine Player-Piano Journal (19111916). Using these periodicals, I explore how a variety of actors including consumers, teachers, advertisers, and cultural critics were promoting, discouraging, and making sense of the technologies during their earlier stages of popularity. What results is a multi-perspective narrative of player pianos and radios and the Americans involved with their cultural and commercial ascent.
Issue Date:2015-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Catherine Hennessy Wolter
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-04-29

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