William J. Bryan’s Cross Of Gold Speech by Len Spencer (1896-97)
CD 4, track 4
Nineteenth-century populism comes to the phonograph. Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan delivered his now-immortal “Cross of Gold” speech at the Democratic Convention in Chicago on July 9, 1896. First notice of a recreated record of the event, with Len Spencer (presumed) giving the oration, came in December 1896 from the American Talking Machine Co., a dealer in Columbia goods, and managed by Len’s brother Henry Spencer. You probably felt miffed if your mother made you spend your nickel on this speech at the nickelodeon rather than, say, a recording of the new ragtime.