Karsh Signature

Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century

Ruth Draper

Ruth Draper, 1936

In 2019, 25 recordings were added to the United States Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. One of them is Ruth Draper: “Complete recorded monologues” (1954-1956). Joining Ms. Draper on the list of recordings are Karsh Sitters Pablo Casals for his “Bach Six Cello Suites” (album c. 1939); Benjamin Britten for “War Requiem” (album, 1963); and Robert F. Kennedy‘s Speech on the Death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 4, 1968).

From the Library of Congress: Ruth Draper (1884-1956) was an actress who specialized in solo performance featuring numerous characters and monologues of her own creation. Some were humorous, such as her many sketches of society women like “The Italian Lesson,” a 28-minute tour de force of conversation, interruptions and distractions, and very little Italian. Others were more serious, like “A Scottish Immigrant at Ellis Island” and “In a Railway Station on the Western Plains.” She presented them successfully on stages in Europe and America from the 1910s on… She resisted recording offers until late in her life, when she recorded a series of her monologues in 1954. A lone album with three monologues was released by RCA Victor in 1956, though her work was further anthologized on five albums by the Spoken Arts label. Recent digital versions have included previously unreleased monologues.