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Collection Overview

Creator:
Princeton University. Princeton Listening Center.
Title:
Princeton Listening Center Records
Repository:
Princeton University Archives
Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/0v838057k
Dates:
1939-1941
Size:
24 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-24

Abstract

The Records of the Princeton Listening Center (1939-1941) consist of transcripts of Axis and Allied propaganda broadcasts monitored by the Listening Center staff from November 1939 through May 1941 until the operations of the Center were taken over by the Federal Communications Commission of the United States government. Also included are subject and research files of the organization, as well as reports published by the members.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Records of the Princeton Listening Center consist of transcripts of Axis and Allied propaganda broadcasts monitored by the Listening Center staff from November 1939 through May 1941 until the operations of the Center were taken over by the Federal Communications Commission of the United States government. Also included are subject and research files of the organization, as well as reports published by the members.

Collection Creator Biography:

Princeton University. Princeton Listening Center.

The Princeton Listening Center at Princeton University was conceptualized by Princeton Professor John B. Whitton, director of the Geneva Research Center, as an outgrowth of his interest in the increasing use of the radio as a weapon of propaganda, especially as used by the Nazis. At the end of 1938, the School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University appointed a committee to formulate plans for a continuing study of short wave propaganda. The committee was administered by Harold N. Graves, Jr. and consisted of several Princeton University professors: John B. Whitton, Hadley Cantril, William S. Carpenter, and Harwood L. Childs, as well as Professor O.W. Riegel of Washington and Lee University; and Mr. Brunson S. McCutchen, an engineer. The project was financed by the Rockefeller Foundation, and its quarters were established in a house on Alexander Street. The Princeton Listening Center became the pioneer in systematic monitoring: its role was to monitor, transcribe, translate, and analyze shortwave propaganda broadcast from Berlin, London, Paris, Rome, and to some extent, Moscow.

The project was initiated as an experiment in November, 1939. The Princeton Listening Center rapidly expanded and continued its work successfully until June, 1941. By this time, the Federal Communications Commission had developed a strong interest in the project since propaganda was now playing a more significant role in the War.

During the Princeton Listening Center's operations the staff recorded the following types of broadcasts from England, Germany, France, Italy, the U.S.S.R., Japan, the Netherlands, and Hungary: news bulletins, weekly topical talks, radio news reels, features and dramatizations. Every broadcast aired was not recorded; only a representative sample from which the Princeton Listening Center staff studied different aspects of propaganda from the various countries. Aspects studied included the way in which propaganda varied between countries, as well as from one show to another within the same country. Also examined was the way in which specific incidents were reported, atrocity references, attitudes toward various countries, and the way this propaganda affected U.S. listeners.

After the FCC took over the work of the Listening Center, the staff gathered all their information together and published a book called: Propaganda by Short Wave, edited by Harwood L. Childs and John B. Whitton with the Princeton University Press, in 1942 in which they examined the different countries' use and response to radio propaganda.

Collection History

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. For instances beyond Fair Use, if copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of materials from the Princeton University Archives.

For instances beyond Fair Use where the copyright is not held by the University, while permission from the Library is not required, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Princeton Listening Center Records; Princeton University Archives, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/0v838057k
Location:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-24

Find More

Other Finding Aids

A database for this collection is available for researchers to search by date, station, location, type of program, title, language and announcer name. For more information, please speak with a reference archivist.

Subject Terms:
World War, 1939-1945 -- Atrocities.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Propaganda.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Radio broadcasting and the war.
World War, 1939-1945.
Genre Terms:
Transcripts.
Names:
Princeton University. School of Public Affairs.
Whitton, John Boardman, 1892-1977