Voices of Toy Industry Land in Library of Congress

April 6, 2020 | Recordings from The Toy Association’s “Generations of Play, An Oral History” project, powered by StoryCorps, are now archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and available for listening on the StoryCorps Archive website.

The first installment of the project, which creates the opportunity for people in the toy and children’s entertainment community to share and record their personal stories, features 15 interviews recorded during Toy Fair New York 2020. The participants were narrowed down from a pool of almost 50 nominees submitted last fall and include Jay Horowitz of American Classic Toy, Jay Foreman of Basic Fun!, Aaron Muderick of Crazy Aaron’s, David Wexler of Creative Diversions, Adi Golad of Goliath, Julie Kerwin of IAmElemental, Rick Woldenberg of Learning Resources, Steven Meyer of Mary Meyer, Dominic Crapuchettes of North Star Games, Robert Pasin of Radio Flyer, Alexandra Deegan of Ravensburger North America, Richard C. Levy of Richard C. Levy & Associates, Lynn Potyen of The GameBoard, and long-time industry veterans Tom Kalinske and Alan Hassenfeld.

“The toy industry has been a vital part of our family for more than 40 years," said participant Richard C. Levy. "It was, therefore, an honor to have been asked to participate in The Toy Association’s oral history project. The experience was made extra special and magical to have been interviewed by my daughter, Bettie."

During each of the 40-minute Toy Fair recording sessions, contributors shared their stories with interview partners of their choice, who helped steer the conversation, pose questions, and create meaningful memories with one another. A StoryCorps facilitator was also present to help guide participants through the recording process.

“As part of The Toy Association’s mission to inspire generations of play, we developed this project to help preserve the often untold stories that define the toy community and create an account of those that have dedicated their lives to bringing joy to children through toys and games,” said Marian Bossard, executive vice president of global market events at The Toy Association.

All participants have received copies of their full-length interviews, which have been archived for future generations to hear at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and on the StoryCorps Archive website. Seven of the stories have also been selected to be produced into three- to five-minute audio segments by StoryCorps. The Toy Association will promote these edited pieces on its social media channels and website this summer.

StoryCorps has brought more than 600,000 Americans together to record conversations about their lives, pass wisdom from one generation to the next, create human connection, and leave a legacy for the future. It is the largest collection of human voices ever gathered. Visit storycorps.org to learn more.