Three Victor Records That Will Teach You To Speak French Correctly in Cases of Emergency (1917)

Three Victor Records That Will Teach You To Speak French Correctly in Cases of Emergency (1917)


Just turned up this rare flyer for Victor 18419 – 18421 (French Lessons Nos. 1 – 6), a set made to assist U.S. troops in France during World War I. The French portions were spoken by one Alexander Guy Holborn Spiers, who had previously recorded some French lessons for Victor with Harry Humphrey. The English portions were by none other than concert baritone Reinald Werrenrath.

The three-record set originally was packed in a special “waterproof container” with accompanying booklets, which are usually missing when these records are found today. They remained in the catalog long after the war ended, finally being deleted in 1926.

Apparently some careful advance planning was involved in producing this piece. It shows a publication date of October 22, 1917 — four days before the recordings were made! (As always, thanks to John Bolig for the discographical details from the original Victor files.)


Growth Spurt in Camden: The Victor Talking Machine Company Headquarters, 1910–1916

Three aerial views show the phenomenal growth of Victor’s Camden, NJ, complex in the ‘teens. Dates top to bottom are 1910, 1914, and 1916.

The modest structure in the upper circle is Victor president’s Eldridge R. Johnson’s original Camden workshop, where he got his start developing and manufacturing improved Gramophones for Emil Berliner. It was housed in the rear of a carriage factory at 108 North Front Street.

Courtesy of John Bolig, author of The Victor Discography Series.