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Tony Schwartz making a recording
Tony Schwartz in the field

Tony Schwartz Collection

Considered a master of the electronic media, Tony Schwartz changed the face of radio and television advertising by creating socially conscientious campaigns such as the nation’s first anti-smoking ad, which led the tobacco industry to stop advertising on television and radio. Those and other materials are part of the vast archives of sound recordings and moving images created and collected by the renowned New York City sound documentarian, producer, author and teacher.

Schwartz’s life-long interest in people, sound, music and events led him to record urban folklore and soundscapes in his New York City neighborhood and to collect similar recordings from other folklorists and collectors around the world. He adopted audio tape technology while it was in its infancy in the late 1940s, and over the next 55 years he assembled a vast collection of audio-visual materials.

Later in his life, Schwartz became a much sought-after media consultant. He taught and lectured on the use of media in communications, advertising and product placement, and he advocated the grassroots use of media for issue-oriented and public service campaigns. His nationwide anti-smoking ad campaign is considered one of the most successful examples of his work in this area, although he probably is most famous for creating and producing the famous so-called "Daisy" television spot for Lyndon Johnson’s presidential campaign that warned of the dangers of nuclear arms.

Notable elements of the Tony Schwartz Collection include:

  • some 30,000 folk songs, poems, conversations, stories and dialects from his surrounding neighborhood and 46 countries around the world;
  • recordings of his own radio program, which he produced for 27 years on New York City radio stations WBAI and WNYC;
  • political campaign ads for radio and television; and
  • recordings and videos of more than 15,000 radio and television ads for commercial products and services.
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  April 28, 2016
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