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A cylindrical Christmas: Christmas songs from 1898-1917


On a whim I decided to see how many good and old Christmas songs I could find at the website of the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project. There were a few. I then found a few more on the Internet Archive. With these songs I decided to make the compilation you're reading about now. Do download it if you've got an interest in Christmas music or old songs.

Track List

  1. Sleigh Ride Party / Jingle Bells by the Edison Male Quartet (1898).
  2. On A Good Old Time Sleigh Ride by The Peerless Quartet (1913).
  3. Adeste Fidelis by John McCormack and William Reitz (1915).
  4. Noel (Holy Night) by The Venetian Trio (1916).
  5. Silent Night, Hallowed Night by The Haydn Quartet (1905).
  6. Hark the Herald Angels Sing by Henry Burr (1907).
  7. Cantique de Noel: Minuit, chretiens! by Albert Quesnel (1914).
  8. Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht by Hans Hoffman (1903).
  9. Hail Smiling Morn by The Edison Male Quartet (1904).
  10. Ring Out the Bells for Christmas by The Edison Concert Band and The Edison Mixed Quartet (1913).
  11. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear by The Carol Singers (1915).
  12. The First Nowell by The Carol Singers (1916).
  13. The Mistletoe Bough by The Carol Singers (1913).
  14. We Three Kings of Orient Are by The Carol Singers (1917).
  15. Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht by Marie Rappold (1916).
  16. O Tannenbaum by The Nebe-Quartett (1907).


Download "A cylindrical Christmas: Christmas songs from 1898-1917" from the Internet Archive.

Credits and Rights:

These songs may be in the public domain. It is my understanding that "sweat of the brow," i.e., the act, however arduous, of digitizing items in the public domain, isn't enough to create a new copyright. Just as scanning a public domain image or OCRing a public domain book apparently can't result in a newly copyrighted digital item, I assume that the mere act of digitizing a cylinder doesn't give UCSB any rights over the recording.

That said, copyright law is complex and is constantly being redefined to suit moneyed interests. Therefore, I want to point out that if the digitizers can impose restrictions on how we use these 100 year old songs, at least they've been gracious enough to give us a lot of leeway. Tracks 1-6 are taken from the "Voices of Christmas Past - 1898 to 1922" album, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. Tracks 7, 8, and 9 are from and are presumed to be in the public domain. Tracks 10-16 are from the University of California Santa-Barbara's Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License.