I consider myself to be a aficionado of the history of the early to mid 20th century. Perhaps a dabbler would be a better word. One of the key components of a culture is the music that it chooses to listen to. That's why I was incredibly excited to find the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s sound recordings were made on cylinders of wax that were played back on phonographs. Obviously not many people have access to a phonograph machine. Even if you did have a machine it would be tantamount to historical suicide to listen to one of these cylinders today. Like a record player, every time you listen to a cylinder you degrade its quality just a little bit.
The Cylinder Preservation and Digitization project has made 5000+ of these cylinders available to the public in the form of mp3 and unedited .wav files. Go out and see what your grandparents and great grandparents were listening too. I am as we speak.