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Native American Cylinder Recordings

By Linda C. Joseph - Posted May 15, 2016
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For May 15, 2016: After Thomas Edison invented the phonograph and a way to record sound in 1877, several professional and amateur ethnologists began documenting American Indian music, culture, and traditions. Information was recorded  on wax cylinders, Ediphone cylinders, and grooved phonograph records so that future generations would be able to hear the songs and stories in their native language.

Among these ethnographers were Francis La Flesche from the Omaha Tribe, Alice Cunningham Fletcher, Edward S. Curtis, Frances Densmore, Melville Jacobs, and Gertrude Bonnin also known as Zikala-Sa, a native Sioux. These individuals immersed themselves in Native American cultures and produced thousands of recordings from the Pacific Northwest and throughout the plains. This is not an exhaustive list of individuals, but some of the more note worthy pioneers. You can find links to their biographies and recordings at Cyberbee on this page.


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