You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!


Does anyone recognize the handsome piece of furniture in this 1920s photograph?  The booklet that the little girl is holding provides a clue:  It reads “Victor Records.”  Perhaps she’s picking out a favorite song to play on the new family phonograph.  “These wonderful instruments” were sold in music stores and department stores all over Connecticut at prices ranging from $15 to nearly $1000. Virtually any family could afford to have one so that they could listen to their favorite dance tunes, Sousa marches, or opera performances.  Advertising suggested that “a jolly little home concert always brushes our small troubles away.”  My family had a similar record cabinet when I was growing up and I remember listening to scratchy recordings of children’s books along with classical music and tunes from musical comedies.  It seemed magical to me in the 1950s and it must have seemed miraculous indeed to this little girl in the 1920s.  Today she would be downloading music off the Internet and using headphones to listen to it on her personal MP3 player.

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