“Harry Haft: Survivor of Auschwitz, Challenger of Rocky Marciano” Audiobook Wins AudioFile’s Earphones Award

One of Syracuse University Press and Sound Beat: Access Audio’s first audiobook collaborations  has been recognized as an Earphones Award Winner by AudioFile, the premier audiobook authority publication. The Earphones Award, given to Harry Haft: Survivor of Auschwitz, Challenger of Rocky Marciano  by Alan Scott Haft, recognizes “truly exceptional titles that excel in narrative voice and style, characterizations, suitability to audio, and enhancement of the text.”

Over the past couple of years, the Sound Beat team, part of the Special Collections Research Center, has worked with the Libraries’ Advancement staff to include longer format audio projects, like narrated journals and documentary-style pieces. Partnering with SU Press to create audiobooks was a natural progression and partnership. And through an exciting partnership with the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, InclusiveU students form an integral part of the production team. The opportunity to produce high quality audiobooks with students from InclusiveU at the center of the experience demonstrates the impact of cross-collaborative scholarship at Syracuse University.

SU Press has been publishing vital scholarship, sharing ideas, and giving voice to important stories since 1943. They were delighted to collaborate on providing an alternate format for authors and readers. Audiobooks are the fastest-growing segment in the digital publishing industry. And they provide another medium to reach audiences and to share stories that might otherwise have not been told.

The AudioFile reviewer described Harry Haft: Survivor of Auschwitz, Challenger of Rocky Marciano  as an “… exceptional audiobook [that] proves there are still unique stories of Holocaust survival to hear. Alan Haft’s biography of his father… who used brawn and boxing skills to survive … imprisonment at Auschwitz, is one listeners will long remember. Narrator Price Waldman tells Harry’s story with a sense of rage, determination to survive, and even love, allowing the story to excel on audio in a way that print books cannot match…” (AudioFile 2021).

The book is available for purchase  through several vendors, including Apple Books, Hoopla, Libro.FM, and Audible. 


Sound Beat: Access Audio Offering Children’s Audiobooks about Enslaved People by Cheryl Wills

Sound Beat: Access Audio is providing two free family audiobooks, written by Emmy Award-winning journalist Cheryl Wills ’89,  the great-great-great granddaughter of Emma and Sandy Wills, enslaved people from Haywood, Tennessee. The audiobooks are narrated by the author and are also available in video form, featuring artwork from the original print books. Educational materials and discussion questions are included for educators and caregivers, designed to spark conversation and foster understanding for younger listeners. Both stories offer important tales of triumph in the face of extreme adversity. These Access Audio productions have been made available as a gift from the Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center. Links to the materials is available online at http://soundbeat.org/sound-beat-access-audio/emma-the-emancipation-of-grandpa-sandy-wills/.

“The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills” uses actual Civil War military records as a backdrop, detailing Sandy’s journey from a suffocating slave plantation to a Union Army camp, then on to a new life as a free man. Featuring Carter Boone as Grandpa Sandy.

“Emma” would become Sandy’s wife, and grew up a brave and strong enslaved woman who had to fight for everything in her life – her freedom, her hope, and her dream of education for her family.

Author Cheryl Wills ’89 (S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications) has received awards from The Associated Press, New York Press Club, Newswomen’s Club of NY Front Page Award, as well as a medal of excellence from the prestigious United Nations Correspondents Association. In recognition of her career, the veteran journalist received an Honorary Doctorate from New York College of Health Professions in May of 2005. Wills was the first journalist invited to speak before the General Assembly of The United Nations in March of 2011 about the impact of slavery on her family during the UN’s International Remembrance of Victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. To read more about Cheryl Wills’ background and story, read this interview from a Newhouse student.

About Sound Beat: Access Audio

Sound Beat is a daily, 90-second radio show highlighting the holdings of the Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive. Belfer is part of Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center and is one of the largest sound archives in the United States. Each Sound Beat episode focuses on one particular recording from the Archive and provides a back story detailing its place in recording history. Sound Beat: Access Audio features long-form audio projects including audio books, interviews, narrated journals, and documentary-style storytelling that highlights the experiences of iconic Syracuse University community members. Sound Beat: Access Audio projects have included collaboration with students, faculty, staff, and administration from partners across the Syracuse University campus. Inclusion and the student experience are at the forefront of Sound Beat: Access Audio’s mission. Through an exciting partnership with the Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education’s InclusiveU, students form an integral part of the Sound Beat: Access Audio team in all aspects of production, working with Libraries staff to develop their research, writing, and editing skills.


“You Don’t Surrender: Journal and Memoirs from Don Waful, World War II P.O.W.” Audiobook Now Available

Sound Beat: Access Audio, part of the Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University Libraries, has recently released the long-anticipated audiobook of Don Waful ’37, G’39 titled “You Don’t Surrender: Journal and Memoirs from Don Waful, a World War II P.O.W.” on the Sound Beat: Access Audio website.

This two-hour production provides remarkable insight into the psyche of a captive soldier set against the backdrop of one of the most compelling events of the 20th century. The journals, narrated by Brett Barry ’98, G’13, tell part of the story. Four interview sessions conducted between 2018-19, with then 103-year-old Waful, gave him a chance to fill in gaps and reminisce on his experience 75 years after the war’s end. A third part of the audiobook voiced by famed broadcaster Sean McDonough ’84 , provides reference through a historical timeline. McDonough, who began his career calling games for the Syracuse Chiefs baseball team (of which Waful was former President) also gives the audiobook’s prologue and epilogue.

The journal details Lieutenant Donald R. Waful’s time behind enemy lines. Captured by the German army and held captive from 1942-44, Waful recorded details of daily life, diversions the prisoners employed to pass the time, and his burgeoning love for Cassie, the enlisted nurse he’d become engaged to weeks before his capture.

This original audio content was produced by Sound Beat: Access Audio, which creates audio projects that highlight iconic Syracuse University community members. Don Waful (1916-2019) was an icon in the community and on campus for decades. He received his bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University’s College of Arts & Sciences in 1937 and his master’s degree in 1939. He was a member of the Alumni Glee Club and quite possibly the longest-tenured football fan.

Sound Beat, both the 90-second interstitials and the longer form Sound Beat: Access Audio, provide opportunity to incorporate applied learning for Syracuse University students. Student interns help to research and write Sound Beat episode scripts and serve as production assistants for Access Audio. These interns come from a wide range of programs on campus, including our project partner InclusiveU, which provides support and opportunities for students with cognitive and intellectual disabilities. “You Don’t Surrender” was recorded at WAER and Newhouse studios, and was mixed and mastered at Silver Hollow Audio.


Syracuse University Press and Sound Beat: Access Audio Partnering to Produce Audiobooks

Syracuse University Libraries is pleased to announce that Syracuse University Press and Sound Beat: Access Audio, which is produced at Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive at SU Libraries, have partnered to produce audiobooks. Their first two audiobooks, Reservoir Year: A Walker’s Book of Days by Nina Shengold and Harry Haft: Survivor of Auschwitz, Challenger of Rocky Marciano by Alan Scott Haft, are now available for purchase  through several vendors, including Apple Play Books, Hoopla, Libro.FM, and forthcoming through Audible.  More information about the audiobooks can be found at press.syr.edu.

Sound Beat is a 90-second daily radio program based on recordings held within the Belfer Audio Archive, part of Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center. Each episode provides a short back story on a specific piece of recorded sound. The show is on air in 360 markets and carried by commercial and community-supported stations around the world.

“Over the past couple of years, the Sound Beat team has expanded to include longer format audio projects, like narrated journals and documentary-style pieces. Partnering with SU Press to create audiobooks was a natural progression and partnership for us. It aligns with our mission of inclusion and accessibility and bringing important stories to a new listening audience,” said Jim O’Connor, Sound Beat Producer.

Syracuse University Press has been publishing vital scholarship, sharing ideas, and giving voice to important stories since 1943. “We are so excited to be able to provide an alternate format for our authors and readers. We’ve been watching the trend of the growth of audiobooks for several years. These first two audiobooks are just the beginning for our partnership, and we’re looking forward to planning the next ones,” said Alice Pfeiffer, Director of Syracuse University Press. “Audiobooks provide another medium to reach audiences and to share stories that might otherwise have not been told.”

boxer Harry Haft wearing boxing gloves
book cover featuring water color painting of soft blue sky, blue water and outline of gray forest

“At Home with Warren Kimble” Audio Production

Syracuse University Libraries’ Sound Beat: Access Audio produced a casual but sophisticated audio documentary featuring Warren Kimble ’57 (College of Visual and Performing Arts), America’s “best-known living folk artist.” The audio documentary was released for free access via the Sound Beat: Access Audio website at “At Home with Warren Kimble.”

In “At Home with Warren Kimble,” Warren and his wife and business partner, Lorraine, share their passion for art and their small-town community of Brandon, Vermont. Warren also shares his enthusiasm around memories cheerleading for Syracuse University, including Jim Brown and the Cotton Bowl, and the professor he remembers every time he mixes colors.

The audio documentary was produced by Syracuse University Libraries’ Sound Beat: Access Audio team. Sound Beat is a daily, 90-second radio show highlighting the holdings of the Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive. Belfer is part of Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center and is one of the largest sound archives in the United States. Each Sound Beat episode focuses on one particular recording from the Archive and provides a back story detailing its place in recording history. Sound Beat: Access Audio features long-form audio projects including audio books, interviews, narrated journals, and documentary-style storytelling that highlights the experiences of iconic Syracuse University community members. Sound Beat: Access Audio projects have included collaboration with students, faculty, staff, and administration from partners across the Syracuse University campus. Inclusion and the student experience are at the forefront of Sound Beat: Access Audio’s mission. Through an exciting partnership with the Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education’s InclusiveU, students form an integral part of the Sound Beat: Access Audio team in all aspects of production, working with Libraries staff to develop their research, writing, and editing skills.

3 students posing with alumnus Warren Kimble
Sound Beat: Access Audio student producers at Bird Library, 2019. From from left to right: Ian Coe (InclusiveU), Warren Kimble ’57 (VPA), Tyler Youngman ’19 (iSchool), David Ross (InclusiveU)

“Dr. Sarah ‘Sally’ Short: Long on Life” Audio Documentary

Syracuse University Libraries’ Sound Beat: Access Audio and Falk College recently partnered to produce a vibrant audio documentary featuring Professor Emerita Dr. Sarah “Sally” Short, an academic trailblazer in nutrition and proud Orange alumna whose dedicated teaching career at Syracuse University spanned more than 50 years. The audio documentary was released for free access via the Sound Beat: Access Audio website at http://soundbeat.org/sound-beat-access-audio/dr-sally-short-long-on-life/.

Dr. Sally Short’s eccentric teaching sparked student enthusiasm for the sciences and even grabbed the attention of The New York Times, when the paper highlighted her “outlandish” teaching methods in 1975 with a photo of Sally barefoot on a motorcycle she regularly rode to class. The audio documentary includes interviews with Sally, her family, former students, the Dean of Falk College, and David Falk, benefactor of Falk College.

“She was the ultimate teacher and role model for my teaching and counseling career,” said Meredith Moses Maxwell ’70, a former student. “Dr. Short was my favorite professor back in the late 1960s. Her classes were exciting, from being rewarded for correct answers with candy, to being greeted – often by name – walking across campus. I was in the famous class that was welcomed in Newhouse’s basement auditorium by the unmistakable sounds, smells, and sight of a motorcycle entering and driving down the aisle by none other than Dr. Short. She captured our attention! A few weeks later, my older brother serving in Vietnam wrote and asked if I knew anything about this ‘crazy’ SU teacher. He’d seen a picture and article about the stunt in the Saigon Times. I was so proud to be her student.”

The audio documentary was a collaboration between Falk College’s Office of Advancement and the Libraries’ Sound Beat: Access Audio teams. Sound Beat is a daily, 90-second radio show highlighting the holdings of the Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive. Belfer is part of Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center and is one of the largest sound archives in the United States. Each Sound Beat episode focuses on one particular recording from the Archive and provides a back story detailing its place in recording history. Sound Beat: Access Audio features long-form audio projects including audio books, interviews, narrated journals, and documentary-style storytelling that highlights the experiences of iconic Syracuse University community members. Sound Beat: Access Audio projects have included collaboration with students, faculty, staff, and administration from partners across the Syracuse University campus, including the School of EducationFalk Collegethe School of Information Studiesthe College of Visual and Performing Artsthe S.I. Newhouse School of Public CommunicationsWAERSyracuse University Press, and the Office of University Counsel. Inclusion and the student experience are at the forefront of Sound Beat: Access Audio’s mission. Through an exciting partnership with the Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education’s InclusiveU, students form an integral part of the Sound Beat: Access Audio team in all aspects of production, working with Libraries staff to develop their research, writing, and editing skills.

woman sitting on motor cycle in quad of Syracuse University
Dr. Sarah ‘Sally’ Short, circa 1975