Old recording holds a voice of the past

MERCER, Pa. -- A 1953 tape recording of a Mercer County man who was a teen-ager at the time of the Civil War will be added to the archives of the Joe Shafran Oral History Project, housed at the Mercer County Historical Society.
Shafran, a Shenango Valley native now living in Annapolis, Md., said the reel-to-reel recording of Francis Perrine was done when Perrine was 104 years old.
It will be played and then placed in the archives in a ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the historical society office on Courthouse Square.
The interview was done by Mae Beringer of Mercer, curator of the One-Room School House and a former teacher.
Beringer, now 94, will attend the ceremony.
Shafran said Perrine was very lucid and had an incredible memory as he recalled the details of his life.
Shafran said the Pennsylvania Historical Commission told him the tape may rival a similar recording kept at Columbia University and might well replace it as the oldest recorded voice of a person from the Civil War era.

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