About Archeophone

Since 1998, the GRAMMY-winning reissue label Archeophone Records has been preserving, restoring, and publishing recordings from the acoustic era of sound—the years from 1890 through 1925 when records were made into the acoustic horn, that is, without electricity. Our reissues feature top-notch audio restorations and extensive notes, illustrations, and original research that make these historic recordings accessible. Almost any type of music or spoken-word recording from the acoustic era is within our purview.

Archeophone has released 68 CDs to date, featuring material ranging from spoken word and comedy to spirituals, ragtime, pop and early jazz and dance bands. Archeophone has provided audio transfers, consultation, and record-finding services for TV shows such as Boardwalk Empire and select PBS presentations. Our releases have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and on NPR.

Archeophone is an institutional member of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections and the Antique Phonograph Society. Owners and in-house production team of Richard Martin and Meagan Hennessey are voting members of NARAS’ Producers & Engineers Wing and were co-founders of FirstSounds.org, the research collaborative that unveiled humanity’s first recordings of its own voice in March 2008. In 2011, Martin and Hennessey were honored on Slate.com’s list of 25 cultural innovators of our time.

Archeophone is currently owned and operated in Champaign, Illinois.

Honors & Awards

Archeophone releases have been nominated for 14 GRAMMY Awards, with one win, as well as two ARSC Awards for Excellence.

GRAMMY Awards and Nominations

Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1891-1922

  • Winner, Best Historical Album, 2006
  • Nominee, Best Album Notes, 2006

Actionable Offenses: Indecent Phonograph Recordings from the 1890s

  • Nominee, Best Historical Album, 2007
  • Nominee, Best Album Notes, 2007

Debate ’08: Taft and Bryan Campaign on the Edison Phonograph

  • Nominee, Best Historical Album, 2008
  • Nominee, Best Album Notes, 2008

Sophie Tucker, Origins of the Red Hot Mama, 1910-1922

  • Nominee, Best Historical Album, 2009
  • Nominee, Best Album Notes, 2009

There Breathes a Hope: The Legacy of John Work II and His Fisk Jubilee Quartet, 1909-1916

  • Nominee, Best Album Notes, 2010

Isham Jones, Happy: The 1920 Rainbo Orchestra Sides

  • Nominee, Best Historical Album, 2014
  • Nominee, Best Album Notes, 2014

Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra, Songs of the Night: Dance Recordings, 1916-1925 

  • Nominee, Best Album Notes, 2015

Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism & the Phonograph, 1890-1900

  • Nominee, Best Historical Album, 2016
  • Nominee, Best Album Notes, 2016

ARSC Awards for Excellence

There Breathes a Hope: The Legacy of John Work II and His Fisk Jubilee Quartet, 1909-1916

  • Nominee, Best Historical Research in Blues/Gospel/Hip-Hop/R&B, 2011

Dan W. Quinn, Anthology: The King of Comic Singers, 1894-1917

  • Best History, Best Research in Recorded Popular Music, 2016

Praise for Archeophone

“A wonderfully adventurous Illinois-based label that specializes in exhuming long-forgotten but fascinating sound recordings of the past.”

Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal

“Truly epochal reissues, which unearth completely forgotten chapters of musical history. The tiny Illinois-based Archeophone label has been doing that kind of archaeology for several years now, almost single-handedly championing the popular music of the acoustic recording era.”

Jody Rosen, Slate.com

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