January 21, 2022

Indiana University’s Lilly Library Celebrates 80th Anniversary of ‘The War of the Worlds’ Broadcast

From Indiana University:

2018-10-29_20-52-54Indiana University Libraries’ Lilly Library is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the 1938 “The War of the Worlds” broadcast by openly streaming its recent digitization of the infamous radio event taken directly from Orson Welles’ personal lacquer disc recordings.

The Lilly Library’s collection features Welles’ radio scripts, production material for his theater work and artifacts about his early films, in addition to the recordings of his radio programs.


IU is home to one of the greatest collections of Welles’ work in the world, covering almost all of his work from the first half of his career. The Lilly Library first acquired the copies of Welles’ broadcasts in 1978, though the six discs containing the broadcast had long been silent due to concerns over their deterioration. Instead, visiting and local scholars studying Welles’ radio innovations could listen to cassettes copied from reel-to-reel recordings of the original discs.

Last year, through a partnership with IU’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative and support from the National Recording Preservation Foundation, IU Libraries launched an online project, publishing the digitized copies of Welles’ radio work.

Streaming episodes on the website, in addition to “The War of the Worlds,” include Welles’ weekly radio dramas, such as “Sherlock Holmes” and “Dracula,” famous adaptations of literature, his political commentary and wartime broadcasts. Together, the “Orson Welles on the Air” materials represent the most complete original source of audio for Welles’ radio work during the late 1930s and 1940s, with the highest extant sound quality.

Learn More, Read the Complete Announcement

Direct to All Audio Streams: Orson Welles on the Air, 1938-1946

See Also: IU Presents Orson Welles’ Personal Recording Of ‘war Of The Worlds’ Broadcast In Fresh Format (October 2017)

See Also: Indiana University Libraries Will Preserve, Share ‘Lost’ Orson Welles Radio Recordings (May 2016)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.