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GUEST,Richie Important US Song & Ballad Collectors (25) RE: Important US Song & Ballad Collectors 28 Sep 11


Here's an except on Gordon from one or teh article on my site by Norm Cohen:

ROBERT WINSLOW GORDON came closer than most of his peers in gathering a national folksong garland. [1] "His collecting activities during the 1920s were prodigious. From 1923 to 1927, he edited a column in Adenture and accumulated a file of nearly four thousand letters, almost everyone with one or more song texts, from some two thousand correspondents across the country, Between 1922 and 1929, his field expeditions, the most ambitious up to that time, netted over one thousand cylinder recordings of traditional singers and a large quantity of additional unrecorded texts. A single three-month field trip in 1926 yieldedn early seven hundred items. His sea chantey collection held some 1300 songs, almost four hundred of which were from oral sources.[2]

As first archivist of the Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song, Gordon began building that repository with his own private collection as a nucleus. While archivist he acquired and indexed several major manuscript collections totalling some two thousand additional songs, and he enriched the Archive with an impressive collection of pulp publications, such as songsters, songbooks, and broadsides, that most other folksongs cholars of the day would have regarded as next to valueless.

Strange to say, Gordon never published a collection of his materials as did many of his contemporaries during the 1920s. Strangely, he never contributed a single article to any of the established folklore journals. Students of American folksong interested in his work have only his columns in Adventure, a series of articles in the New York Times, and an essay on Negro spirituals as the complete corpus of his publications.[3]

BTW one of Gordon's collections is available online. I'm thinking about getting the book on him.

Richie


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