Cavalcade of America

Cavalcade of America – Society, vol. 1

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These historical dramatizations of humanitarian progress are true American hero tales featuring vintage music, intriguing interviews, and even Broadway & Hollywood adaptations.


Compass Classroom is delighted to present Society, vol. 1 as part of The Cavalcade of America series for use with Dave Raymond’s American History course or as a standalone resource for your homeschool.

These historical dramatizations of humanitarian progress are true American hero tales featuring vintage music, intriguing interviews, and even Broadway & Hollywood adaptations. Be sure to check out Society, vol. 2 for even more exciting historical re-imaginings!

The Cavalcade of America was produced by the DuPont Company to burnish its motto of “Maker of better things for better living through chemistry.” The programs originally aired on CBS radio from 1935-1953, and on television from 1952-1957.

Included in this download:

  • 49 30-minute MP3 files tagged for use in iTunes or similar music database

Additional information




53 Dramatizations



Access the materials at “Downloadable Products” in your Compass Classroom store account, and unzip the file to a location on your hard drive.

Once the files are unzipped, you can play the files directly on your computer. Alternatively, you can upload the files to any device which will play .mp3s. If you use iTunes or a similar music database program, you can drag the unzipped folders to the program icon and they will organize automatically by disc, which corresponds to lesson in the curriculum.

These audio files were obtained in the public domain and are provided as-is. If you have questions, get help at

Episode List

  1. Self Reliance, Originally broadcast 04/29/1936. The stories you will hear transport you from the year 1738 to 1936 and this wide gap of the years serves to illustrate hoe long the trait of self-reliance has been identified with American men and women. If you wish to meet a self reliant American you need not seek far. Go to any farm, any community or city. Go in to America’s homes or factories or offices. The self-reliance of American women is one of the most remarkable features of American life. When this countenance was settled womanhood had very few traditions or true partnerships with men of sharing an equal burden in a countries progress. Here we bring you two stories of self-reliant womanhood.
  2. Showmanship – The Story Of Phineas T. Barnum, Originally broadcast 09/30/1936. The first program of the Fall-Winter season. The story of P. T. Barnum is dramatized. Barnum leaves the grocery business to buy a one hundred and sixty year old slave, who claims to have raised George Washington. Barnum and General Tom Thumb meet Queen Victoria. Jenny Lind is a success, Barnum teams up with Bailey to form “The Greatest Show On Earth.” The first tune is a medley from, “Jumbo.” The final commercial describes how DuPont saved the lives of many elephants. To all Americans there is glitter and glamour and magic in a simple name PT Barnum. In this episode you are presented with high spots in his colorful career. This most typical of Yankees left his native Connecticut in the year 1835 at the age of 25 to seek fame and fortune in New York.
  3. The Seeing Eye, Originally broadcast 12/02/1936. The Seeing Eye is a school in Morris Town New Jersey where German Shepherd dogs are educated as guides for the blind brining new opportunities, independence, faith and light to those who walk in darkness.
  4. John Hyatt – Father Of Plastics, Originally broadcast 01/13/1937. John Wesley Hyatt founded two great industries; he was the father of plastics and also of roller bearings. Hyatt was born on 28th November 1837 in Starkey, New York. In 1863 at the age of 26 we find him working in a print shop in New York and he is reading the newspaper when he spots an advert for a prize of $10,000 for the discovery of a satisfactory substitute for ivory in the making of billiard balls.
  5. Minute Men Of The Air, Originally broadcast 02/03/1937. Interwoven with the amateur radio operators of America Hams as they call themselves is the history of the American radio relay league, which was founded by Hyrum Percy Maxim engineer and inventor. Mr Maxim became interested in amateur radio in 1907 through the activities of his son. Father and son together developed one of the most dominant amateur radio stations in their part of the country. In those days amateurs talked to each other in dots and dashes, actual voice communication was to come later. One evening in 1914 Hyrum Maxim sits at the key to his transmitter at his amateur station in Hartford Connecticut…
  6. The Man Who Couldn’t Grow Old, Originally broadcast 02/10/1937. The Cavalcade of America brings you the story of Peter Cooper, industrialist, philanthropist and educator. Cooper found fame and fortune late in life and used his success to help young people just beginning the struggle of life. His own life was a continued attempt to improve conditions around him.
  7. Stephen Girard, Originally broadcast 03/10/1937. In the long line of noble and distinguished men and women in the Cavalcade of America there is one who has been called the perfect citizen. Although Stephen Girard is well known as the founder of Girard College in Philadelphia people are not so familiar with his activities of merchant, philanthropist, banker and patriot. Stephen Girard worked always for the good of the general public.
  8. The McGuffey Readers, Originally broadcast 03/31/1937. The Cavalcade of America salutes one of the foremost American educators William Holmes McGuffy creator of the famous McGuffy Readers.
  9. Mary Lyon Pioneer Woman Educator, Originally broadcast 10/06/1937. 1937 marks two anniversaries in the education of women. One hundred years ago in 1837 so the inauguration of college coeducation in the United States at Oberlin College Ohio and also the founding of Mount Holyoke Seminary the first endowed permanent institution for the education of women in the United States. In this episode of Cavalcade the Dupont Company present highlights in the career of Mary Lyon whose heroic pioneering efforts paved the way for our American women’s colleges of today.
  10. John Jacob Astor, Originally broadcast 10/20/1937. Cavalcade of America tells the story of a man typical of so many foreign born pioneers whose loyalty to his adopted homeland helped its growth to greatness. John Jacob Astor in the early days of the young republic saw the vision of American commerce taking an equal place with that of other nations of the world.
  11. Elmer Ambrose Sperry, Originally broadcast 11/03/1937. Elmer Ambrose Sperry was born in Cortland, New York on October 12th, 1860. He utilized every opportunity during his boyhood to examine the machinery in various small factories in his hometown. Coupled with his interest in mechanics was young Sperry’s precise mathematical mind and even as a boy he started inventing things.
  12. Sara Josepha Hale, Originally broadcast 11/24/1937. This is the story of Sarah Josepha Hale an inspirational woman and famous Editor of Godeys Lady’s Book and ardent advocate of feminine education whose memory lives in the welfare and opportunities of women today. She is also credited with being responsible for making Thanksgiving Day a national holiday.
  13. Ottmar Mergenthaler, Originally broadcast 12/01/1937. From the time of the first printing press in 1450 until late in the 19th century all type was set by hand. The invention of a linotype or mechanical typesetter by Ottmar Mergenthaler made practical such things as inexpensive books, modern newspapers and other printed matter thereby giving tremendous impetus to the spread of education and knowledge.
  14. Dolly Madison, Originally broadcast 05/22/1939. America has always had its heroines. The chivalry of the new world pays its own particular court, not only to historic ladies of great charm and culture but equally to women of action. In one woman lives a memory of both action and beauty. The memoirs of the eighteenth century call her ravishing, divine unbelievably lovely placing her among the world’s fairest women but the fame that has enshrined her in the annals of American history had little connection with beauty alone, it is the story of this woman of action that the Cavalcade of America tells here, the famed American beauty, Dolly Madison.
  15. Mehitabel Wing, Originally broadcast 01/16/1940. This is a story of a woman who made one of the most remarkable horseback rides in American history, possibly as notable as the midnight ride of Paul Revere.The story of Mehitabel Wing is symbolic of an important movement in American history. The struggle of the people to own the land upon which they lived.
  16. Roger Williams, Originally broadcast 05/14/1940. This is the story of one of America’s first great advocates of religious freedom, Roger Williams (1603 – 1683). The years passed and finally there came to all American’s liberty of conscience establishing those very truths, which brought about the banishment of Roger Williams in 1635. It was a victory of complete religious freedom, the freedom of Roger William’s Providence experiment. This religious freedom found fullest expression in the constitution of the United States, which declares, “congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Today this is one of America’s proudest heritages and it is for this that Roger Williams takes his place in the Cavalcade of America.
  17. Jane Addams Of Hull House, Originally broadcast 05/21/1940. The story of how the great Chicago social worker became involved with the problems of the poor. The program originates from the Civic Auditorium, Milwaukee on the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Jane Addams and the fifth anniversary of the founding of “Hull House.” Jane Addams was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and is recognized as the founder of the social work profession in the United States. Cavalcade of America pays tribute to the work of Jane Addams, her work with the poor, the Peace Movement, and the founding of her great social institution, the Jane Adamms Hull House.
  18. Susan B. Anthony, Originally broadcast 06/18/1940. The story of the early fighter for woman’s rights. Inspired by the life of Susan B. Anthony. In a small town of the America of 1838 a girl just arrived home from an academy for young gentlewomen had returned to her fathers household presumably to fold her hands and wait for a husband but that young gentlewoman was Susan B. Anthony who became a fighter for woman’s rights and an one of the first American suffragettes.
  19. Light In The Hills, Originally broadcast 11/27/1940. Cavalcade of america honors a woman who has earned herself a place in the history of our time. She is Martha Berry (October 7, 1865 – February 27, 1942), founder of Berry College in Georgia. The story begins in the year 1890 when Martha’s idea for a school to educate the poor children of the south is borne.
  20. Mightier Than The Sword, Originally broadcast 01/08/1941. The story of how Thomas Nast used his political cartoons to end the reign of Boss Tweed in New York municipal politics. A story dedicated to one of American journalisms historic crusades, it is based on the life of the great American political cartoonist, Thomas Nast who, during the 1870s and 1880s, fought to secure decent civil government by the means of his celebrated drawings, and the power of the American free press.
  21. A Passage To Georgia, Originally broadcast 04/14/1941. The story of James Oglethorpe, who started out to reform the British system of debtor’s prisons, and wound up as the guiding force behind the American colony of Georgia.
  22. Henry Bergh Founder Of The ASPCA, Originally broadcast 04/21/1941. The story of how the Society formed to prevent the mistreatment of animals. The drama includes an interesting insight into the Gerry Society for the prevention of cruelty to children. Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Cavalcade of America presents the story of its first president Henry Bergh, a passionate advocate for the welfare of animals. The story begins when Henry was a young man, and he was the appointed secretary and acting vice-consul to the American legation in St. Petersburg, Russia. Whilst traveling through the snowy streets, they stop a man from beating his donkey…
  23. The Heart And The Fountain, Originally broadcast 04/28/1941. The story of Margaret Fuller, a pioneering woman reporter and the first women foreign correspondent. Her coverage of Garibaldi’s revolution and the love she found there is dramatized.
  24. Johns Hopkins, Originally broadcast 05/26/1941. Tonight we bring you the story of Johns Hopkins. The great university and world famous hospital in Baltimore which bear his name, stand among America’s foremost contributions to human welfare. Johns Hopkins gave them to us out of the sorrow of his life. At that time this fortune, generated primarily from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States.
  25. Cimarron, Originally broadcast 12/01/1941. story set in the early Oklahoma Territory. It’s about a crusading newspaper editor who always had to move on to the next frontier.
  26. An American Is Born, Originally broadcast 01/19/1942. A good story about a Czech couple in Mexico, awaiting an entry visa into the United States.
  27. Tomorrow And Tomorrow, Originally broadcast 01/26/1942. A story about a model wife who is bored to tears with her husband. When she has an opportunity to leave with her true love, her son proves a considerable complication.
  28. The Dark Angel, Originally broadcast 02/16/1942. The story today is a love story. It’s about three people, Kitty, Alan and Gerald. The story of a woman who chooses her love, and once chosen, nothing can destroy it within her. It could have been in any year, in any country. In a world of peace, or one ravaged by war. It could be at a time when the snow has come late, or early – for whatever the time and space, there was always Spring, and love!
  29. The Printer Was A Lady, Originally broadcast 05/04/1942. The story of Anne Royall, lady newspaper editor during the Jackson administration.
  30. Remember The Day, Originally broadcast 05/18/1942. This is the story of a gentle woman – a schoolteacher – and her faith in a little boy, who under her wise and understanding guidance, grew to be a great man. In the lobby of a hotel in Washington DC news reporters and photographers are swarming for tonight’s celebrities. In the midst of the bustle, an attractive middle aged woman, looks about her with amusement. She’s here to see one of her past students, from twenty five years ago…
  31. Soldier Of A Free Press, Originally broadcast 09/07/1942. Richard Harding Davis was born in the Civil War year 1864 under a star that was red with blood. In his career as a newspaper man, he was to cover many great events; the Johnstown Flood, the Coronation of a Russian Tsar, the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. But the fame of Richard Harding Davis is built on the World Wars and it began in 1897 when he was assigned to report the attempt of the Cuban people to overthrow the Spanish yoke.
  32. A Child Is Born, Originally broadcast 12/21/1942. An original nativity play, well-written and performed.
  33. A Case For The FBI, Originally broadcast 03/15/1943. The F.B.I. takes to the air to capture a kidnapper. A message from J. Edgar Hoover about wartime juvenile delinquency is read.
  34. The Schoolhouse At The Front, Originally broadcast 07/19/1943. The story of the Special Training Units that teach illiterate soldiers how to read and count. In civilian life Corporal Alfred James Denning used to be the principle of a grammar school in Pennsylvania now he’s in the army and he’s still teaching school. He’s still teaching the alphabet, the multiplication table and where the equator is the same as before only there’s one difference. He’s not teaching children anymore he’s teaching soldiers, soldiers found to be illiterate men who can’t be taught to fight until they can read and write.
  35. The General Wore Calico, Originally broadcast 10/18/1943. The story of Mary Bickerdyke, the first American woman war volunteer, and her work during the Civil War.
  36. My Fighting Congregation, Originally broadcast 06/12/1944. With the thought and prayer of America centered on the nations fighting men in France and the battlefields of the world the Dupont Cavalcade tells the story of one of the group of men, the Army Chaplains Corps who go in to battle armed only by the strength of their faith. The weapons of this corps are the words and acts that sustain and console and give heart to those who bear the brunt of battle. This Cavalcade play is the story of one of those soldiers of faith. It is the story of a chaplain attached to an army air force bombardment group operating in the South West Pacific. It is based on the actual experiences of Chaplain Taggart as related in the book My Fighting Congregation by Chaplain Taggart and Christopher Cross.
  37. Witness For The People, Originally broadcast 11/27/1944. The story of Anne Royall, a crusading journalist who fought for the freedom of the press during the presidency of Andrew Jackson.
  38. Westward The Women, Originally broadcast 01/01/1945. The story of Abigail Duniway’s fight for women’s rights in the Oregon Territory in the 19th century. The broadcast originates from Hollywood. The Cisco Kid was a juvenile western adventure. In many ways it was the radio show equivalent to the western B-movies of the time, complete with what sound distinctly like coconuts for horses hooves and wonderfully cheesy Mexican accents – “Oh, Ceesco, perhaps they will keel heem”. The show follows the on-going adventures of the Cisco Kid and Pancho, his loyal companion. Many of the stories follow a predictable theme, usually involve a good fight, and end up with Cisco getting the girl, or at least a kiss for his troubles.
  39. Party Line, Originally broadcast 06/18/1945. A small town in the early part of the century revolved around the party line, and was firmly ruled by the chief operator, Miss Elmira!
  40. The Story Of The Tremendous Trifle, Originally broadcast 03/04/1946. The story of how Edwin L. Drake started the American petroleum industry.
  41. When Cupid Was A Pup, Originally broadcast 04/01/1946. An embittered ex-serviceman on duty at a lighthouse discovers “Oscar,” a blind, starving seal that can’t even swim!
  42. Circus Day, Originally broadcast 04/08/1946. A good story about circus life, as seen by the widow of a circus man of long ago.
  43. The Great McGraw, Originally broadcast 04/15/1946. Anecdotes and stories about baseball’s famous manager, John J. McGraw of the New York Giants.
  44. Spin A Silver Dollar, Originally broadcast 05/27/1946. The story of the couple who operate “Wide Ruins,” a Navajo trading post in Arizona.
  45. My Freshman Husband, Originally broadcast 06/10/1946. A young veteran, along with his wife and baby, go to college under the G. I. Bill.
  46. Danger – Women At Work, Originally broadcast 09/09/1946. A tribute to American truck drivers, and to one woman truck driver in particular: Josephine Clark.
  47. An Honorable Titan, Originally broadcast 11/04/1946. The story of Adolph Ochs and the founding of The New York Times.
  48. Country Lawyer, Originally broadcast 11/11/1946. It may be any street in the USA it may be any town in the USA but it just happens to be Maple Street in Hillsberg and our story opens in the home of Josh Adams attorney of law who is speaking with his son. Josh Adams is a country lawyer and his son is going to spend the summer working with him before he decides whether he wants to pursue law as a career. This is a lovely story in much the same vein as Dr Christian, a story of human kindness and caring.
  49. The Pinkerton Man, Originally broadcast 11/18/1946. America’s greatest detective solves a year-old bank robbery and murder.
  50. The Magnificent Failure, Originally broadcast 02/03/1947. The story of Josiah White, who discovered the many uses of hard coal. This story is about a man so far ahead of his time that thoughtless neighbors called him a crazy fool. But like all great men, men with new ideas Josiah White proved that his idea could work.
  51. Peanut Vendor, Originally broadcast 04/14/1947. The story of Amadeo Obici, the founder of Planter’s Peanuts. The broadcast originates from Hollywood.
  52. Page One, Originally broadcast 05/12/1947. The story of an immigrant to America named Joseph Pulitzer, and how he changed journalism and the free press. The broadcast originates from Hollywood. When Joseph Pulitzer (April 10, 1847 – October 29, 1911) bought the Saint Louis Despatch newspaper at an auction he bought responsibility and a duty to the people and vowed to make it the best newspaper he could.
  53. A Lady Of Distinction, Originally broadcast 06/09/1947. The story of M. Carey Thomas, who became the president of Bryn Mawr College.


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