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Berliner Gramophone Disc Collection

Call Number: MSS 142

Scope and Contents

The earliest commercial sound recordings used Thomas Edison's phonograph technology - wax cylinders. In the late 19th Century, Emil Berliner (1851-1929) developed the gramophone, which employed flat discs instead of cylinders. Cylinders and discs co-existed for a few years, but eventually Berliner's discs won out and became the dominant technology. The discs in this collection represent some of the earliest published disc recordings, and offer a unique insight into the earliest years of music and spoken word recording. The collection includes both Berliners and related 7 inch recordings.


  • 1892-1912


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research. Streaming access to sound recordings in this collection is available without restriction. All transfers were made at 78 rpms. The ability to adjust the speed and pitch of streamed recordings will be added in the future. In the meantime, users may download an individual audio file and adjust speed and pitch themselves using their audio editing software of choice.

Digitized Collection

This collection is fully digitized.

Conditions Governing Use

The Yale University Library, as one of the world's leading research libraries, collects, organizes, preserves, and provides access to and services for a rich and unique record of human thought and creativity. Through its web sites, the Library offers public access to a range of its collections through online exhibitions, archival finding aids, digital repositories, and the online public access catalog.

Yale University provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes only. The Library endeavors when possible to provide accurate factual information about copyright owners and related matters in catalog records, finding aids, and other texts that accompany collections or individual items that may assist you in making necessary legal determinations. Please contact if you have helpful information about any material included in these collections or if you believe the web site has not properly attributed your work or has used your material without necessary authorization.

Yale University makes no warranty that your distribution, reproduction or other use of these materials will be non-infringing. You are solely responsible for making legal assessments regarding the use of an item and securing any necessary permissions. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions.


17 Linear Feet (732 discs. All discs are 7 inch in diameter except where noted. )

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Processing Information

All metadata provided in this finding aid is sourced directly from the labels or engravings on each disc, or their sleeves. Additional information related to the recordings in this collection is available in published discographies.

Guide to the Berliner Gramophone Disc Collection
Compiled by Jonathan Manton
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Gilmore Music Library Repository

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