The Roaring 'Twenties

An Interactive Exploration of the Historical Soundscape of New York City

Project Leads: Emily Thompson, Princeton University and Scott Mahoy, University of Southern California

White woman covering her ears with text below that says "Shut out the noise"

Emily Thompson is a historian of sound. By offering a website dedicated to the sounds of New York City circa 1930, The Roaring 'Twenties is following the lead of countless other individuals and organizations who have turned the web into a vast sonic archive, delivering a previously unimaginable wealth of historic sound recordings to anyone with a connection and a desire to listen in.

The aim here is not just to present sonic content, but to evoke the original contexts of those sounds, to help us better understand that context as well as the sounds themselves. The goal is to recover the meaning of sound, to undertake a historicized mode of listening that tunes our modern ears to the pitch of the past. Simply clicking a "play" button will not do.

Learn more about the project.