Recently Paul Sommers, Paige-Wright Professor of Economics, stopped by the Archives with an unusual item: a “melody card” — a paper phonograph record first manufactured in the 1930s, most notably on cereal boxes or magazines inserts.
Professor Sommers’s postcard reads: Play this record on the PHONOGRAPH, 78rpm speed manual. Prof. Sommers doesn’t have a record player that plays 78s, so he got in touch with the Giamatti Research Center of the Baseball Hall of Fame to see what was recorded on the card. That’s when the story gets interesting. They couldn’t tell him because The Baseball Hall of Fame doesn’t have a copy of the card in their vast collection of baseball memorabilia.
So, Prof. Sommers turned to Special Collections. Armed with a 78 rpm turntable and some audio software, we played his postcard (click on the audio strip below to hear for yourself):
Every now and then somebody throws us a curveball and we’re thrilled when we hit it out of the park. (Aren’t you glad we resisted the temptation to pepper this post with baseball lingo until the very end?) Play ball!