Weird History

These Rare Recordings Of Famous Historical Figures Speaking Are Fascinating 

Cheryl Adams Richkoff
4.6k views 17 items

History is able to truly spring to life thanks to modern technological advancements in film and sound. And the voices! Some of them beloved and familiar, while others may surprise us - especially considering that some of the oldest and most famous historical voices were actually recorded in the 19th century on Edison wax cylinders.

There are a surprisingly large number of famous people whose voices can be listened to today all thanks to the unique recording devices that were developed throughout history. It is as if we are able to travel back through time and get to know the people we've only ever been able to read about. So, lend an ear, and check out these famous historical voices.

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Thomas Edison is the man we can thank for all those lovely, restored wax cannisters that hold upon them the voices of figures long passed.

Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman who has been described as America's greatest inventor. He developed many devices in fields such as electric power generation, mass communication, sound recording, and motion pictures. These inventions, which include the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb, have had a widespread impact on the modern industrialized world. He was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of organized science and teamwork to the process of invention, working with many researchers and employees. He established the first industrial research ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 84 (1847-1931)

Birthplace: Milan, Ohio, United States of America

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Amelia Earhart gives an uplifting speech to women around the world in 1936, one year before she went missing in the Pacific.

Amelia Mary Earhart (, born July 24, 1897; disappeared July 2, 1937) was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences, and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots.Born in Atchison, Kansas, Earhart developed a passion for adventure at a young age, steadily gaining flying experience from her twenties. In 1928, Earhart became the first female passenger to cross the Atlantic by airplane (accompanying pilot Wilmer Stultz), for which she achieved celebrity status. In 1932, piloting a Lockheed Vega ...more on Wikipedia

Birthplace: Atchison, Kansas

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Recorded on October 29,1914, on six Edison wax cylinders, Houdini discusses his water torture trick.

Harry Houdini (; born Erik Weisz, later Ehrich Weiss or Harry Weiss; March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) was a Hungarian-born American illusionist and stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts. He first attracted notice in vaudeville in the US and then as "Harry 'Handcuff' Houdini" on a tour of Europe, where he challenged police forces to keep him locked up. Soon he extended his repertoire to include chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, straitjackets under water, and having to escape from and hold his breath inside a sealed milk can with water in it. In 1904, thousands watched as he tried to escape from special handcuffs commissioned by London's Daily Mirror, keeping them in ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 52 (1874-1926)

Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary

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Who could ever resist that whispery, magical voice? First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy presented both an audio and video tour of the White House on February 14, 1962.

Jacqueline Lee Kennedy Onassis (née Bouvier ; July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994) was First Lady of the United States during the presidency of John F. Kennedy and was regarded then and afterward as an international icon of style and culture. Bouvier was born in 1929 in Southampton, New York, to Wall Street stockbroker John Vernou Bouvier III and his wife, Janet Lee Bouvier. In 1951, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from George Washington University and went on to work for the Washington Times-Herald as an inquiring photographer.In 1952, Bouvier met then-Congressman Jack Kennedy at a dinner party in Washington. Kennedy was elected to the Senate that same year, and the ...more on Wikipedia

Age: Dec. at 65 (1929-1994)

Birthplace: Southampton, New York, United States of America

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