I was doing a bit of research on the early days of the National Library Service (NLS) and I came across a list of the first talking books that were produced back in 1934 for the program. The first batch of books that NLS made included some classic American documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address and Washington’s farewell address. In addition to these titles, NLS got a few works by Shakespeare, and for more contemporary (for the time!) titles NLS chose books by Wodehouse and Kipling. Many of the first books produced by NLS for the Talking Book program are still in our collection today! See the list below for an idea of what the first National Library Service Talking Book patrons could have heard in the 1930s.
The Citizen’s Constitution: An Annotated Guide
by Seth Lipinsky
Former editor of The New York Sun presents an annotated, layman’s edition of the U.S. Constitution that spells out the country’s laws in plain English. Gives social and political context to the document and cites different opinions regarding the meaning of words and phrases, including significant court cases. 2009.
As You Like It
by William Shakespeare
A pastoral comedy set primarily in the forest of Arden. A duke is exiled by his cruel brother, who later banishes his daughter as well. The action switches from the court to the forest where the exiles and friends wander in a maze of romances and mixed identities. Dramatized version.
Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln: The Story of the Gettysburg Address
by Jean Fritz
Provides background material on the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, and his reason for making a speech at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863. Includes a copy of the text. For grades 2-4. 1993.
Enter Jeeves: Fifteen Early Stories
By P.G. Wodehouse
Collection of short stories featuring brainy butler Jeeves and his dim-witted, aristocratic employer, Bertie Wooster. Includes the first eight Jeeves stories and their prototype, the Reggie Pepper series. 1997.