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Caedmon Audio
FounderBarbara Holdridge
Marianne Roney
Distributor(s)HarperAudio
GenreSpoken Word
Country of originUnited States
Official websiteHarper Audio

Caedmon Audio and HarperCollins Audio are record label imprints of HarperCollins Publishers that specialize in audiobooks and other literary content. Formerly Caedmon Records, its marketing tag-line was Caedmon: a Third Dimension for the Printed Page. The name changed when the label switched to CD-only production.

Caedmon history

Caedmon Records was a pioneer in the audiobook business, it was the first company to sell spoken-word recordings to the public and has been called the seed of the audiobook industry.[1] Caedmon was founded in New York in 1952 by college graduates Barbara Holdridge and Marianne Roney (later Marianne Mantell).[2]

The label's first release was a collection of poems by Dylan Thomas as read by the author. The B-side contained A Child's Christmas in Wales, which was added as an afterthought; the story was obscure and Thomas himself could not remember its title when asked what to use to fill up the LP's B-side. However, this recording went on to become one of his most loved works, and launched Caedmon as a successful company.[1] The original 1952 recording was a 2008 selection for the United States National Recording Registry, stating it is "credited with launching the audiobook industry in the United States".[3]

The company went on to record other notable writers reading their own works, such as W. H. Auden, Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and many more. The label expanded further to encompass other types of spoken-word recordings, including children's stories, speeches, plus English- and foreign-language classics. Theater performances were also staged for the label, starring either the Shakespeare Recording Society or the Theatre Recording Society, depending on the playwright. These performances included many famous actors and actresses, including Anthony Quayle, Claire Bloom, Richard Burton, Albert Finney, John Gielgud, Siobhán McKenna, Michael Redgrave, Vanessa Redgrave, Felix Aylmer, Paul Scofield, Alec McCowen, Donald Pleasence, Ralph Richardson, Max Adrian, and Maggie Smith, among others. Other notable readers for the label included Vincent Price, Basil Rathbone, and Louis Jourdan.

Raytheon, which also owned D. C. Heath and Company, bought Caedmon in 1971. Harper & Row (now HarperCollins) purchased the label in 1987.[4]

Selected discography

This partial discography provides an idea of the range of literary and acting talent that Caedmon was able to record and distribute.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Caedmon: Recreating the Moment of Inspiration". NPR Morning Edition. December 5, 2002. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  2. ^ "Caedmon: Recreating the Moment of Inspiration". NPR.org.
  3. ^ "The National Recording Registry 2008". National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  4. ^ Mitgang, Herbert. “Recorded Books Help Make the Ear Faster than the Eye” (August 27, 1987). Retrieved from Recorded Books Help Make the Ear Faster Than the Eye The New York Times.com on June 14, 2009.
  5. ^ "16 33 45 78". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2010-12-30.