May 25, 2022

Harvard’s Woodberry Poetry Room Marks 90th Anniversary with Online Access to a Recording of a Live Reading by T.S. Eliot From 1947

From the Harvard Gazette:

There’s a certain magic to poetry read aloud, and if it is recited by the writer, listeners gain insights into the work that are difficult to come by any other way.

It is only fitting, therefore, that the George Edward Woodberry Poetry Room would kick off the celebration of its 90th anniversary next week with online readings by such contemporary greats as Sonia Sanchez, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Anne Boyer, and Claudia Rankine. And that the special collection, one of the earliest and largest audio-visual archives for literary sound recordings in the country, will look back on its nine decades by making some of its first recordings — of the poet T.S. Eliot reading his own work — available to the general public on Friday (March 19).


Created by recording pioneer Frederick C. Packard Jr., who used a variety of studios on campus, the two-poem recital was originally released on Packard’s Harvard Vocarium label in 1933 and later compiled onto a long-playing disc in 1951. Along with a recording of a complete live reading Eliot gave at Sanders Theatre in 1947, it will be accessible on the University’s In Focus page starting tomorrow, in advance of World Poetry Week. (Both recordings will also ultimately be made available via the HOLLIS online catalog and the Poetry Room’s online Listening Booth.)

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Direct to Woodberry Poetry Room Website

Direct to Woodberry Poetry Room “Listening Booth”

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.