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Category: John Lomax

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Guthries, Lomaxes, and Seegers

Posted by: Todd Harvey

The "Great Folk Scare" of the 1930s-1950s had few surnames more prominent than Guthrie, Lomax, or Seeger. They were multi-generational families who today continue to practice folk music and illuminate tradition bearers. The American Folklife Center holds archival collections documenting these families and so we have produced guides to aid research access. This blog post explains and introduces the new guides.

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ETL: Searching the Lomax family papers through the magic of crowdsourcing

Posted by: Todd Harvey

"ETL" is a wonderful acronym, a non-word, a nickname for a phrase by which insiders describe a complex process. ETL in the context of digital collections at the Library of Congress is short for "extract, transform, and load." To a curator working with crowdsourced archival material. "ETL" in an email subject line signals the final step in a process by which an archival collection becomes full-text searchable, the gold standard for access to manuscript materials. In this post we look at the ways in which crowdsourced transcriptions add depth to our understanding of our rich fieldwork collections. We look at a variety of materials, including Alan Lomax's trips to collect traditional songs and music in Florida and Haiti. We show how Zora Neale Hurston's fieldwork informed her brilliant novel "Their Eyes Were Watching God," providing excerpts from fieldnotes that comport with descriptions in the novel.

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Crowdsourcing Transcriptions: “At the Library and in the Field: John and Alan Lomax Papers”

Posted by: John Fenn

This guest post comes from Todd Harvey, a Reference Specialist and the curator of Lomax collections at the American Folklife Center. To the Librarian of Congress March 21, 1940 Alan Lomax has in Washington with him today and tomorrow a folk singer for whose excellence he vouchers. This singer, Woodie Guthrie by name, is willing …

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John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax papers now online

Posted by: Nicole Saylor

This is a guest blog post by Todd Harvey, a Reference Librarian and curator of the Lomax collections at the American Folklife Center. The American Folklife Center announces long-awaited digital access to a tranche of Lomax family correspondence. It follows similar treatment for the Bess Lomax Hawes collection and the Alan Lomax collection. Most of …

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Reel Folk: The Making of Let’s Get the Rhythm

Posted by: Michelle Stefano

The following is a guest post by Irene Chagall, the co-producer of the film Let’s Get the Rhythm, which will be screening on September 30 as part of the AFC’s “Reel Folk: Cultural Explorations on Film” event (September 29-30) in the Library’s Pickford Theater. Co-producers Irene Chagall and Steve Zeitlin, the director of City Lore, …

“I Didn’t Done the Crime”: Stavin’ Chain’s “Batson” and the Batson Case

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Note: This is the third in a series of posts about the murder ballad “Batson.” This one discusses the version of the ballad performed by Wilson Jones, aka “Stavin’ Chain,” in light of the real-life Batson case. In previous blog posts about the murder ballad “Batson,” I looked at early versions collected by Robert Winslow …

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“When I First Got Ready For the War,” a Song of World War I

Posted by: Stephanie Hall

This is one of two articles, each focusing on one ethnographic recording of an African American song of World War I. To read the article about “Trench Blues” select here. African Americans left to serve in World War I, beginning one hundred years ago in June 1917, landing in France on June 25. They had …

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Election Week Special: “The Dodger” and the Election of 1884

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Note: this is the third in a series of posts about a classic item from the AFC archive, “The Dodger.” [See the first post here.] [See the second post here.][See the third post here.] Second note: we’ve also created a podcast version of these stories. Download our “Dodger” podcast here! Election Day is less than …

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The Candidate’s a Dodger: An Electoral Folksong from Oral Tradition to Aaron Copland

Posted by: Stephen Winick

Note: this is the first in a series of posts about a classic item from the AFC archive, “The Dodger.” [See the first post here.] [See the second post here.][See the third post here.] Second note: we’ve also created a podcast version of these stories. Download our “Dodger” podcast here! As Election Day draws near, …