University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the M. Ward Widener University of Texas Recordings Collection, 1953-1954



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Widener, M. Ward
Title: Widener, M. Ward, Collection
Dates: 1953-1954
Abstract: One reel to reel audio tape recording, twelve compact discs, thirteen phonograph records, and two partial album covers comprise M. Ward Widener University of Texas Recordings Collection, 1953-1954.
Accession No.: 2015-300
OCLC No.: 942988260
Extent: 5 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Historical Note

As a part time student in the engineering program at the University of Texas at Austin, M. Ward Widener became interested in recording “sound events” around campus. Subsequently, he rigged a professional sound recorder and microphone using the Ampex 401 with an Altec condenser microphone, capturing campus activities. These recordings, which were intended to supplement UT’s yearbook, were called “The Cactus in Sound,” and were narrated by well-known local broadcaster and humorist Cactus Pryor. Widener also produced full recordings of events such as symphonies performing on campus, which he dubbed the “Cactus” project. All of these recordings were pressed to vinyl through the RCA Victor Custom Division in Chicago.

Widener brokered a deal to sell the recordings, with a portion of royalties going to UT. Unfortunately, sales did not meet expectations, but the recordings capture significant moments around campus. It also opened up the door for Widener to expand on his work, and he also produced recordings for other colleges and Texas symphonies.

Widener graduated with a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and then moved to California, where he continued to record live events such as concerts by the San Jose Symphony. He eventually went to work for Ampex Audio in Sunnyvale, CA, developing audio systems.


Scope and Contents

One reel to reel audio tape recording, twelve compact discs, thirteen phonograph records, and two partial album covers comprise M. Ward Widener University of Texas Recordings Collection, 1953-1954.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use of the reel to reel by appointment only; please contact sound archivist for more information.


Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Widener, M. Ward -- Archives
Reyes, Angel
Von Kreisler, Alexander, 1893-1969
Subjects (Organizations)
Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils (University of Texas at Austin)
University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin. College of Fine Arts
University of Texas Symphony Orchestra
Subjects
Students -- Social life and customs -- 20th century
Places
Austin (Tex.)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

M. Ward Widener University of Texas Recordings Collection, 1953-1954, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Amanda Reyes, January 2016.


Detailed Description of the Papers

 

Inventory

box
2.325/S79d Compact discs
University of Texas Symphonic Band, conducted by Bernard Fitzgerald, recorded in Hogg Auditorium on November 22, 1953
The Mikado, conducted by Alexander von Kreisler in Hog Auditorium on March 16, 1954
Elijah Part 1, directed by Alexander von Kreisler in the Gregory Gym, 1954
Elijah Part 2, directed by Alexander von Kreisler in the Gregory Gym, 1954
Student Recital, recorded in the Jessen Auditorium, 1954
Time Staggers On, selections from a student production, recorded in Hogg Auditorium on on January 9, 1954
The Cactus in Sound, narrated by Cactus Pryor, 1953-1954
Address by President Logan Wilson
Pep Rally, Longhorn Band
The Baylor Game by Kern Tips
The Tower Chimes
Selected musical events
Sing Song, Annual Singing Contest (3 CDs), presented by the Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council, recorded in the Gregory Gym on December 6, 1953
Mozart and Hayden (2 CDs), recorded in the music recital hall by Noyes W. Willett in 1953
¼ inch sound-tape reel (7 inch diameter)
Sing Song (extra), 1953
Phonograph recordings
The Cactus in Sound for 1954, narrated by Cactus Pryor (2 LP copies)
Pep Rally
Game Time
Texas-Baylor Game
Presidential Inauguration
Tower Chimes
Sing Song Winners
Christmas Carols
Time Staggers On
The Mikado
Round Up
The 1953 Sing Song, presented by the Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils of the University of Texas, including twenty-six of the songs presented in the competition (3 LP copies)
Selections from Elijah, 1953
The Symphonic Band of the University of Texas, recorded November 22, 1953
The UT String Quartet (10 LP copies)
Haydn, Quartet in D major
Mozart, Sonata in B flat major
Print Materials
Partial album covers with descriptions of the Haydn/Mozart recordings, as well as information about The Regional Custom Recording Co.