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Thorn Mayes Sound Recordings
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography/Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Thorn Mayes Sound Recordings
    Dates: 1965-1980
    Collection Number: 2003-38
    Creator/Collector: Mayes, Thorn L.
    Extent: 99 recordings
    Online items available
    Repository: History San Jose Research Library
    San Jose, California 95112
    Abstract: Sound recordings created by Thorn Mayes as part of his research on early wireless telegraph and radio in the Western United States. Includes one-on-one interviews conducted by Thorn Mayes and Warren Green, talks to the Antique Wireless Association both by Mayes and by other speakers, recordings of historic radio broadcasts, and re-creations of spark transmissions at West Coast wireless stations.
    Language of Material: English


    The collection is available to researchers by appointment with the Curator of Library & Archives.

    Publication Rights

    Responsibility for making an assessment on copyright issues for the use of material from the Thorn Mayes Sound Recordings, and for securing any necessary permissions, rests with persons desiring to use the material. Material from this collection can be used for educational and other non-commercial purposes without the written permission of the History San Jose Research Library & Archives. "Fair use" criteria of Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 must be followed. Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute (Title 17 of the U.S. Code), it is permissible to use limited portions of a work, including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports. Accordingly, we recommend that users who believe that use of this collection's material may exceed fair use criteria contact History San Jose directly. Additionally, we recommend that a patron's use of such material be approved in writing. You may contact the Curator of Library and Archives at History San Jose (research@historysanjose.org) for assistance.

    Preferred Citation

    Thorn Mayes Sound Recordings. History San Jose Research Library

    Acquisition Information

    Donated to the Perham Foundation by Thorn Mayes' son. Acquired by History San Jose in 2003 as part of the Perham Collection of Early Electronics.

    Biography/Administrative History

    Thorn Mayes, born April 19, 1903, graduated from the University of California in 1927 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. He was an avid amateur radio operator, working W6AX, W9AX, 6BDQ, 6AX, K6BI, K2CE, and W1CX under the handle “Thorn.” His first 2-way wireless contact was in 1921, and he was member #229 of the Old Old Timers Club. After retiring from his managerial position at General Electric Company, Mayes became a serious collector of antique gear (prior to 1922), books and magazines, as well as an historian of early wireless in the United States. He was particularly interested in recreating the history of the three main, early, commercial wireless stations on the West Coast: KPH, KFS, and NPG.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    In conducting research on West Coast early radio, Mayes was able to draw on his many friends and contacts within the amateur radio and electronics community. As part of his work, he recorded a large number of interviews with names familiar to students of early electronics, particularly in the Western United States, including Ralph Heintz, Haraden Pratt, Richard Johnstone, and Robert Palmer. Mayes also recorded many of his talks at amateur radio associations. These recordings are part of the Perham Collection of Early Electronics, and the majority of these interviews and talks have been transcribed by History San Jose. They consist of one-on-one interviews conducted by Mayes and Warren Green, talks to the Antique Wireless Association both by Mayes and by other speakers, recordings of historic radio broadcasts, and re-creations of spark transmissions at West Coast wireless stations.

    Indexing Terms

    Radio--California--San Francisco Bay Area--History
    Telegraph, Wireless--History
    Electronics industries--History
    Radio stations--California--San Francisco Bay Area--History
    Amateur radio stations
    Shipping--California--San Francisco Bay Area--History
    Palmer, Robert
    Heintz, Ralph, Sr.
    Johnstone, Richard
    De Forest, Lee, 1873-1961
    Federal Telegraph Company
    Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America
    United Wireless Company
    Pacific Coast (U.S.)