Collection inventory

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Overview of the Collection

Title: Flexi-Disc Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1932-1990
Quantity: 0.5 linear ft.
Abstract: The collection consists of various sizes and speeds of "flexi-discs," printed on flexible plastic sheets or coated paper and usually included with a magazine, mailing, or other advertising medium
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Flexi-discs, also known as phonosheets, sonosheets or soundsheets, are grooved discs made out of vinyl or coated paper, played on a standard turntable. Historically, the European "talking postcards" developed in the early 1900s and intended to send a personal sound message on a fine postcard are regarded by the specialists as the predecessor of the flexi-disc format. While turntables were broadly used from the vast consumer for reproducing sound recordings at home some record companies saw an advantage in inventing cheap and durable medium to be used for home recordings. Flexi-discs were lighter, less expansive than vinyl, easy to distribute and affordable. Flexi-discs were largely used as educational and promotional materials until the appearance of the CDs in the early 1980s. Despite the poor sound quality, the flexi-disc format lasted long enough and is an intriguing artifact of the 20th-century pop culture.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Flexi-Disc Collection consists of various sizes and speeds of flexi-discs, as well as a small amount of reference material.

Discs are on flexible plastic sheets or coated paper. Record companies present in the collection include Durium, Wilcox-Gay, and Eva-tone. Companies represented include Time-Life, National Geographic, Esquire magazine, The Longines Symphonette Society, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Columbia and RCA Victor records, National Library of Canada, and McDonald’s. There are also a few playable postcards, meant to be written on and sent through the mail.

Reference material consists of a page of information which may have been used for an exhibit at some time, and thirty or so pages of printed emails from two discussion groups, and

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Arrangement of the Collection

Discs are arranged in alphabetical order by the company or organization that produced them. Reference material is in roughly chronological order, as found.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advance notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Listening access to the discs requires advance notice to produce a use copy.

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Subject Headings


Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976.

Corporate Bodies

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Durium (Record company)
Eva-Tone Inc.
Longines Symphonette.
McDonald's Corporation.
National Library of Canada.
Reader's Digest Association.
Wilcox-Gay Corp.

Associated Titles

National geographic magazine.


Popular culture in advertising.
Sound in advertising.
Sound recording industry.

Genres and Forms

Flexi discs.
Promotional materials.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Flexi-Disc Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information


Finding Aid Information

Created by: IRP
Date: 1 Nov 2019
Revision history:

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Box 1 A, misc. 1932, 1977, undated
Box 1 Billy Graham Evangelistic Association 1955
Box 1 B, misc. 1976-1977
Box 1 Chloraseptic 1975
Box 1 C, misc. 1979, 1984 - incudes Christian Record Braille Foundation
Box 1 Episcopal Diocese of Central New York undated
Box 1 Esquire undated
Box 1 Eva-Tone/Eva-Type undated - includes playable Christmas greetings from the company and several issues of their Sound-Stage Newsletter with discs
Box 1 F-I, misc. 1954, 1958, 1990, undated - includes "I've Got a Ballot" b/w "Battle Hymn of '48" performed by Paul Robeson; Fonoscope playable Christmas greetings, and chance to win trip to the 1990 Grammy Awards
Box 1 Longines Symphonette Society circa 1965
Box 1 L, misc. undated
Box 1 McDonald's 1988
Box 1 National Geographic 1965-1966, 1978 - humpback whales, Winston Churchill, "Sounds of the Space Age"
Box 1 N-P, misc. 1985, undated
Box 1 RCA circa 1945? - playable Christmas greetings
Box 1 Reader's Digest undated
Box 1 S, misc. 1959, 1965, undated - includes "Swiss Hit" playable postcard and a tiny promo disc from Spec-Toys
Box 1 Time-Life undated
Box 1 Wilcox-Gay Corp. 1942, undated
Box 1 W, misc. 1984, undated - includes West Genesee High School and a reading instruction disc from William Morrow
Box 1 Yale 1969
Reference material
Box 1 Belfer sheet and email printouts 2000-2002

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