78-rpm Recordings Collection

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The collection is comprised of over 2,400 78-rpm recordings commercially produced for immigrant, ethnic, indigenous, and regional audiences by American record companies in the first half of the 20th century. The record companies range from big labels with an international presence such as Columbia, Odeon and Victor; to local labels throughout the Upper Midwest with a small but focused audience. The performers and repertoires on these recordings represent as well as inform much of the music heard and performed by diverse communities of the Upper Midwest.

The collection presents the audio content of these recordings, images of the disc labels and descriptive information including title translations. Some collection records include full transcriptions and translations of the linguistic content. More collection records will be added periodically.

Special thanks to The National Endowment for the Humanities for providing essential support for this online collection.


Original collection materials reside in the Mills Music Library. Materials in the collection are non-circulating but may be consulted in the library. Patrons wishing to consult materials may contact the reference librarian on duty.

Materials in the collection are subject to the guidelines for use and reproduction of materials in the special collections of the General Library System of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.