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Cavalcade of America phonograph records

1935-1953
 Collection
Accession: 1968-001-G68

Abstract

The Cavalcade of America was an anthology drama radio program which aired weekly from 1935 to 1953. The radio show was sponsored by the DuPont Company, a chemical company, which began as a manufacturer of gunpowder in 1802. The DuPont Company created the Cavalcade of America as a promotional tool. The program dramatized historical events focusing on individual stories of heroism, and occasionally presented a musical performance. This collection contains recordings of most of the show's episodes and consists of over 2,900 phonograph albums, approximately 500 sound tape reels, 6 sound cassettes and one scrapbook.

Dates

  • 1935-1953

Creator

Extent

90 Linear Feet

Physical Description

2,605 sound discs : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 16 in. 227 sound discs : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in. Approximately 500 sound tape reels. 6 sound cassettes. 1 item : scrapbook.

Historical Note

The Cavalcade of America was an anthology drama radio program which aired weekly from 1935 to 1953. The radio show was sponsored by the DuPont Company, a chemical company, which began as a manufacturer of gunpowder in 1802. The DuPont Company created the Cavalcade of America as a promotional tool. The program dramatized historical events focusing on individual stories of heroism, and occasionally presented a musical performance. The stories were presented as uplifting and emphasized human achievements, progress and technological innovations.

Roy Durstine (1886–1962) created the show and Donald Voorhees (1903–1989) was the musical director. There were numerous writers and directors used for different episodes. Among the writers were Arthur Miller (1915-2005), Virginia Radcliffe (1914-1976), George Faulkner (1903-), and Robert Tallman (1914-1995). Directors included Robert Stevenson (1905-1986), Harry Horner (1910-1994), Peter Godfrey (1899-1970), and Laslo Benedek (1905-1992).

The show had eighteen series producing 781 episodes. Although not actual advertising for DuPont products, the company motto was read at the beginning of each episode, “Maker of better things for better living through chemistry”. The narrators included countless famous performers such as Bette Davis (1908-1989), Lionel Barrymore (1878-1954), Clark Gable (1901-1960), Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957), James Stewart (1908-1997), Helen Hayes (1900-1993), Orsen Welles (1915-1985), and Lana Turner (1921-1995).

Cavalcade of America was adapted into a television program, which aired from 1952 to 1957 on NBC and then later on ABC. The radio show and the television program only overlapped for one year before the radio show was discontinued.

Scope and Content

This collection contains recordings of the Cavalcade of America radio programs sponsored by the DuPont Company. The recordings range in date from 1932 through 1957, and consist of over 2,900 phonograph albums, approximately 500 sound tape reels, 6 sound cassettes and one scrapbook. The phonographs include most of the broadcasts from 1935 to 1952 and each broadcast is made up of two phonograph albums, Part I & II, each episode is approximately twenty-five minutes.

The collection, starting from show number (ID) #1 through #781, is arranged chronologically. The full run of shows are in numbered boxes; duplicates follow in lettered boxes. When an episode has a sound tape reel it is listed along with the box number. The sound tape reels are also arranged chronologically.

The scrapbook contains photographs and newspaper clippings from a Cavalcade of America performance in Niagara Falls, New York in 1948.

Existence and Location of Copies

Show numbers 1-776 are available at the Internet Archive (not a full run).

Many shows are also available at Free Classic Radio Shows.

Access to Collection

No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.

These records are located in remote storage. Please contact staff 48 hours in advance of research visit at askhagley@hagley.org

Physical condition of records may prevent playback; use reel to reel audio tape access copies when available.

Related Material

Cavalcade of America photographs (Accession 1985.259), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Cavalcade of America radio scripts (PN6120 .R2 C2), Published Collections Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Cavalcade of America phonograph records
Status:
Author:
Lisa Kruczek and Laurie Rizzo
Date:
2015.
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400