The collection contains both commercial and noncommercial discs and tapes. The commercial recordings include the complete set of Nation's Forum discs, Benito Mussolini's personal copy, bound and numbered, of his recorded speeches, Victor long play discs from the early 1930's including Stokowski conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra in Schoenberg's Gurrelieder and Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, and the Sistine Chapel Choir recordings of the pre-electric era, at least eight or nine sides of which feature Alessandro Moreschi, last of the known castrati.
The noncommercial items offer exhaustive coverage of politics and history of the U.S., Britian, France, Italy, and the Vatican -- with particular emphasis on World Wars I and II. The collection also includes Alexander Graham Bell in a re-enactment of the invention of the telephone, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Robert Browning reading their own works, William Ewart Gladstone in a phonogram to T. A. Edison, and Shakespeare excerpts recited by Sir Henry Irving, Sir Ernest Shackleton, Edwin Booth, and Ellen Terry. Constant Coquelin recites Cyrano excerpts, and Giacomo Puccini is heard on a radio broadcast. The collection contains recordings of speeches by political figures, including unissued Nation's Forum recordings.