Racism, Xenophobia, and Misogyny in Early Sound Recordings

Hundreds of recordings from the late 19th and early 20th century have titles, lyrics, or subject matter exhibiting an everyday racism and other prejudices that people today find shocking, disturbing, and offensive. Popular entertainment in the early decades of the 20th century often reflects the prejudices present in American society, as does contemporary cinema, literature, radio, and other artforms.

The Discography of American Historical Recordings attempts to comprehensively document commercial historical sound recordings made before 1960, including providing digitized audio, when available. The presense of digitized content for problematic recordings may imply curation, and perhaps even endorsement. However, the project's digital access methodology is the same as the discography: to provide comprehensive online access. We systematically digitize content in order to further the study of the music and culture of this era. Inclusion in the database is not an endorsement by the UCSB Library of the views of these authors and performers.

-The Editors