“I am solely interested in the effect of sound on people.” – Tony Schwartz

Tony Schwartz is a perfect examples of a life lived under the influence of curiosity and wonder, and I want to be reminded of his work on a daily basis.

Beginning in the 1940s, Tony Schwartz made tens of thousands of recordings of the sounds and people of New York City. Schwartz’s “endangered sounds” were included in numerous WNYC radio broadbcasts and record albums over the years

Sam Roberts on City Room has a really outstanding post that helps to detail more of the accomplishments and cultural impact that Tony Schwartz had on media and telling stories with sound.

Mr. Schwartz recorded tour guides, singing children, fire engines, fog horns, merry-go-round calliopes, cabbies and other urban folkloric sounds that produced the city’s collective voice now archived at the Library of Congress and collected in his albums. He defined the sound of speech as “the body language of the written word.”

You can see and hear more of Tony’s work in a retrospective this Wednesday:

Mr. Schwartz’s advertisements, 30,000 folk songs, poems, conversations, stories and dialogues that he recorded, along with his 27 years of radio programs on WNYC and WBAI will be the subject of a retrospective Wednesday at the Gotham Center for New York City History at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Matthew Barton, curator of recorded sound at the Library of Congress will conduct an illustrated exploration of “Tony Schwartz and the Sounds of His City.”