Victor Red Seal Discography Available As eBook

Victor Red Seal Discography

The American Discography Project is proud announce the publication of John R. Bolig’s momentous achievement, The Victor Red Seal Discography. The new e-book is available as a free download here. Mr. Bolig’s discography documents comprehensively every 78-rpm disc that derived from the prestigious Victor Talking Machine Company and RCA Victor Red Seal series—more than 34,900 discs recorded between 1903 and 1955, including 3,183 multi-disc album sets.

The Red Seal series was the longest running record series in history—spanning more than 100 years—and was among the most influential. The series and the way it was marketed contributed significantly to the definition of Western art music as “highbrow,” music to be appreciated by an elite. (Discs in the series sold for a higher cost than any others issued in the U.S. during the 78-rpm era.) At the same time, it democratized “art music,” successfully introducing opera and instrumental music to millions households, and made celebrities of many of its recorded artists. Its first great star, Enrico Caruso, remains revered today, 100 years after his death.

The first Red Seal recordings issued by Victor, in 1903, were recorded outside the U.S. by the Gramophone and Typewriter Company. Also in 1903, Victor began to record masters in the U.S. for the Red Seal series. All told, the company issued nearly 24,000 78-rpm master recordings for its Red Seal series, and all described in The Victor Red Seal Discography.

The Victor Red Seal Discography is the culmination of more than 60 years of research by John R. Bolig, entailing hundreds of visits to the archives of RCA Victor and Sony Music Entertainment to consult the primary resources that document the company’s activities. Mainspring Press has published two award-winning print volumes representing Dr. Bolig’s documentation of Red Seal releases up to early 1930. Both volumes are now out-of-print. This new e-book presented by the American Discography Project includes all releases in the two books, and every subsequent master recorded and released on 78-rpm discs, a format that endured in the U.S. until the mid-1950s. In addition to resources held in the U.S. archives, Dr. Bolig’s work reflects contributions by many discographers throughout the world, most notably, John Milmo and the late Alan Kelly, both of the United Kingdom. We are grateful to Mr. Bolig for his many contributions to the Discography of American Historical Recordings and are honored to be able to make this monumental and authoritative work accessible to everyone.

Free downloadable pdf available here.