For many years, Frederic G. Cassidy argued forcefully to the American Dialect Society (ADS) for the need of a dialect dictionary that was “accurate, effective and economical.” The result is the Dictionary of American Regional English. This article continues Cassidy’s advocacy, applied now to the treatment of the recordings that accompany the dictionary. Detailed description of the appropriate historical milieu demonstrates that Cassidy selected then-progressive technology, not from his Wisconsin colleagues, but from fellow ADS members. The upshot is that most of the recordings, in spite of being made in the field, are very usable by today’s standards. Combined with other archival recording sets (e.g., the Hanley Collection at the Library of Congress) and contemporary recordings, scholars now benefit from an impressive archive of American speech sounds, leading to a deeper understanding of language change in the United States. The remaining challenge—reminiscent of the problem Cassidy raised 65 years ago—is for the ADS and its partners to engage in discussion of the best method for transcribing and aligning over 1,800 audio recordings of free conversation and readings of “Arthur the Rat.”

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