78 rpm Recordings from the Mid-1940s

For Christmas, 1946, employees at Aaron Smith's printing and publishing company gave him a recording machine — a device that recorded audio onto 78 rpm records. Smith was ill that Christmas, but sent his thanks and greetings to the employees on a record created on the machine. Employees in turn recorded their Christmas party for Smith's amusement, since he could not attend. Later recordings include various family gatherings, usually accompanied by a piano and singing.

Smith's thank you address to employees - 1946

Aaron Smith, who is ill at home, thanks the 21 employees who gave him the machine and the records to record on.

The next two recordings are from the employees at the Christmas party, which was held in the old hot-metal composing room with covered dish lunch and gift exchanges. The following voices are recognizable.

Employee messages 1 - 1946

  • Arthur Powell, pressroom foreman.
  • Bill Williams, composing room foreman. (That is where Linotypes were used to cast lines of type and were assembled in pages with hand-set headlines and engravings used to reproduce pictures.)
  • Howard Hammond, Linotype operator.
  • Biff Stewart (?)
  • Bill Carter, press operator, later became foreman.
  • Alvin Moseley, hand composition.
  • Jack Powell, Arthur's son, press operator.
  • Quenton Goyne, bindery foreman.
  • Carl Fisher, Linotype operator.
  • Bryan Thomas, press operator.

Employee messages 2 - 1946

  • Victor Martin, editor of Southern Florist magazine
  • Mrs. Victor Martin, both long-time friends of the Smiths' from Weatherford days.
  • Edith Burroughs, forelady of the bindery
  • Unidentified
  • Unidentified
  • Unidentified
  • Mrs. Arthur Powell (Kate), press operator for small presses (job work).
  • Billie Williams, receptionist who affectionately referred to Mr. Smith as the Senator.
  • Unidentified
  • Promise Jones, long time assistant to Mr. Smith, deliveryman and janitor. He and his wife Lila lived in a garage apartment behind his house where they assisted the Smiths, drove their car for them, etc. A most devoted black man and wife.
  • Lois McLaughlin, Frances Wilson's mother, a half sister to Mr. Smith, who worked at the business, later published the Southern Display News magazine.
  • Frances Wilson
  • Mary Elizabeth Branch, Jim's wife.
  • Carrie Beth Branch, Aaron Smith's daughter and mother of...
  • James (Jim) Branch
  • Oscar J. Branch, Jim's father
  • Jimmy Smith, Aaron Smith's cousin
  • Unidentified

Employee Christmas party - 1946

Employee Christmas party presents 1 - 1946

Employee Christmas party presents 2 - 1946

Employee Christmas party presents 3 - 1946

Employee Christmas party presents 4 - 1946

Employee Christmas party songs - 1946

Christmas dinner at the Branches' - 1946

Well wishings 01-19-1947

Singing - Meekses 1 - Mothers Day 1947

Singing - Meekses 2 - Mothers Day 1947

Singing - Going home Mary 1 - Undated

Singing - Going home Mary 2 - Undated

Aaron 80th birthday greetings with neighbors - 1948

Singing - Undated

Christmas greetings - California Sweets 1 - 12-19-1949

Christmas greetings - California Sweets 2 - 12-19-1949