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Helen Hartness Flanders

Nancy-Jean 13 Aug 99 - 04:11 PM
Rick Fielding 13 Aug 99 - 04:20 PM
Sandy Paton 13 Aug 99 - 06:00 PM
Nancy-Jean 13 Aug 99 - 06:17 PM
Susan A-R 13 Aug 99 - 10:55 PM
Wally Macnow 14 Aug 99 - 11:13 AM
John Moulden 14 Aug 99 - 01:52 PM
Nancy-Jean 14 Aug 99 - 04:54 PM
Nancy-Jean 14 Aug 99 - 05:11 PM
Nancy-Jean 14 Aug 99 - 05:24 PM
Art Thieme 15 Aug 99 - 08:23 AM
Nancy-Jean 15 Aug 99 - 09:08 AM
Nancy-Jean 16 Aug 99 - 11:27 AM
Ferrara 16 Aug 99 - 11:41 AM
Nancy-Jean 17 Aug 99 - 01:33 PM
Sandy Paton 17 Aug 99 - 03:30 PM
Rick Fielding 17 Aug 99 - 04:06 PM
Nancy-Jean 17 Aug 99 - 04:08 PM
KathWestra 17 Aug 99 - 04:17 PM
Deacon 17 Aug 99 - 04:23 PM
Big Mick 17 Aug 99 - 04:48 PM
Nancy-Jean 17 Aug 99 - 05:05 PM
Nancy-Jean 18 Aug 99 - 11:17 AM
KathWestra 18 Aug 99 - 12:24 PM
Sandy Paton 18 Aug 99 - 01:11 PM
Nancy-Jean 18 Aug 99 - 01:37 PM
Art Thieme 18 Aug 99 - 02:27 PM
Nancy-Jean 18 Aug 99 - 04:23 PM
Nancy-Jean 20 Aug 99 - 11:28 AM
MMario 20 Aug 99 - 11:41 AM
Nancy-Jean 20 Aug 99 - 10:23 PM
Frank Hamilton 21 Aug 99 - 06:55 PM
Peter T. 21 Aug 99 - 07:05 PM
karen k 22 Aug 99 - 08:56 AM
Peter T. 22 Aug 99 - 01:06 PM
Frank Hamilton 22 Aug 99 - 06:20 PM
karen k 22 Aug 99 - 06:32 PM
Philippa 22 Aug 99 - 07:08 PM
Margmac 22 Aug 99 - 10:37 PM
Frank Hamilton 23 Aug 99 - 12:21 PM
Deacon 24 Aug 99 - 01:39 PM
KathWestra 24 Aug 99 - 04:16 PM
Jen 27 Aug 99 - 09:13 AM
Jen 27 Aug 99 - 09:14 AM
Nancy-Jean 03 Sep 99 - 12:18 PM
KathWestra 03 Sep 99 - 12:57 PM
Nancy-Jean 04 Sep 99 - 08:24 AM
Frank Hamilton 04 Sep 99 - 10:35 AM
Nancy-Jean 04 Sep 99 - 05:55 PM
Frank Hamilton 05 Sep 99 - 12:28 PM
Art Thieme 05 Sep 99 - 01:47 PM
Nancy-Jean 05 Sep 99 - 03:20 PM
Nancy-Jean 06 Sep 99 - 05:28 PM
Art Thieme 06 Sep 99 - 07:01 PM
Frank Hamilton 06 Sep 99 - 08:05 PM
Margmac 06 Sep 99 - 09:37 PM
Nancy-Jean 07 Sep 99 - 06:23 AM
Mari-rose 07 Sep 99 - 08:32 AM
Nancy-Jean 07 Sep 99 - 10:31 AM
Nancy-Jean 08 Sep 99 - 11:42 AM
Frank Hamilton 08 Sep 99 - 01:53 PM
Nancy-Jean 08 Sep 99 - 09:35 PM
Sandy Paton 09 Sep 99 - 12:15 AM
Sandy Paton 09 Sep 99 - 12:19 AM
Sandy Paton 09 Sep 99 - 12:22 AM
Nancy-Jean 09 Sep 99 - 07:27 AM
MMario 09 Sep 99 - 09:06 AM
Nancy-Jean 09 Sep 99 - 10:30 AM
Frank Hamilton 09 Sep 99 - 10:37 AM
Joan Sprung 09 Sep 99 - 11:26 AM
Nancy-Jean 09 Sep 99 - 01:50 PM
Nancy-Jean 10 Sep 99 - 08:55 AM
Mimzy 11 Sep 99 - 07:49 AM
Nancy-Jean 12 Sep 99 - 07:35 AM
Mimzy 13 Sep 99 - 10:19 AM
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Subject: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 04:11 PM

Helen Hartness Flanders. Does that name ring a bell? She was my grandmother and I plan to write a book about her life and her ballad collecting.

Since some of the most valuable informants who knew my grandmother are no longer "with us", I would welcome information from anyone who knew her, knows someone who knew her or even those of you who have enjoyed singing from the Helen Hartness Flanders Ballad Collection.

Just so you know...I am in touch with the Flanders Ballad Collection curator at Middlebury College, with Vermont's treasured ballad singer, Margaret MacArthur,... and with "my sisters and my cousins, whom I reckon by the dozens ..and my aunts".

Any suggestions or leads will be appreciated.

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 04:20 PM

I'll bet Sandy will have something to say. I think he's going away this weekend, so bring this back when he returns.
Rick


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 06:00 PM

Hello, Nancy-Jean:
      Glad to discover you're on the Mudcat! Great place to visit, but addictive.
      We got your personal E-pistle the other day, and will try to write a quick paragraph or two about our meeting with your grandmother and her charming husband (Senator Ralph Flanders, folks, the gentleman with such undeniable conservative credentials that he was picked by his colleagues to make the motion to censure Wisconsin's rabid red-baiting witch-hunter, Joe McCarthy!). After the one formal meeting, there were a few exchanges of letters, etc., but you already know about them.
      Will you be at the Getaway in October? Should be a fine place to meet fellow Mudcatters and to discuss Helen Flanders and her work. I'm looking forward to it. Caroline and I will be doing a bit of a program there for the mob, although it won't be quite like singing unpracticed soprano in a gospel quartet (that's an in-joke, folks). See you there?
      Sandy


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 06:17 PM

Perry, Merry, Dictum, Domini--you bet I will be there! Glad you are coming. You bring wonderful songs into my life, you and Caroline!

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Susan A-R
Date: 13 Aug 99 - 10:55 PM

So, which sisters, cousins and aunts? I believe Naomi is from that branch, and has been doing some songs from the collection. If there's any help I can provide from central VT. let me know. I also do have a cousin working with the State Historical Society here in Montpelier, and could ask her if you have any specific directions in which you would like to look.

Susan A-R


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Wally Macnow
Date: 14 Aug 99 - 11:13 AM

Nancy,

Are you in touch with Deborah Flanders? She put out a recent recording of material from your grandmother's (her grand aunt's)collection.

Wally


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: John Moulden
Date: 14 Aug 99 - 01:52 PM

Your Grandmother was a correspondent of the Northern Irish song collector, Sam Henry - she was also his US representative. There are several letters from her and copies of his replies among the private papers owned by Sam Henry's daughter. I am her agent in all concerning these. I can be contacted - jmoul81075@aol.com


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 14 Aug 99 - 04:54 PM

THANK YOU! This is the kind of information I was hoping for. I will email you.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 14 Aug 99 - 05:11 PM

Thank you, Wally. I have the CD.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 14 Aug 99 - 05:24 PM

Thank you. I met Naomi, Deborah's sister, briefly last fall. I am not personally acquainted with that side of the family. You're talkin' my great Uncle Ernest's children's children...

My research thrust is about the past. I am interested in Helen Hartness Flanders as a whole person, not just a ballad collector. I am interested in her connections with other collectors, traditional singers, and people in general.

Any leads on how to get information on Marguerite Onley, HHF's longtime collaborator, would be valuable.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Aug 99 - 08:23 AM

Talk about great and inspiring threads here at Mudcat---This is what the search---the treasure hunt for the gems of musical antiquity is all about. For you newcomers into this brave new folk thing that is happening now---this is what the historical process called the oral tradition is all about.

Love,

Art


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 15 Aug 99 - 09:08 AM

Thank you Art!

In this quest, every day is Christmas!

Helen Hartness Flanders had a mission to find and save the old songs. She was working against time. The old folks were dying and the populatity of radio discouraged evenings of family singing. In her 30 years of ballad collecting, lecturing and publishing, she gave future generations tangible references to the songs and told us how people passed these songs on from generation to generation.

Helen Hartness Flanders kept her relationship to me strictly as "Granny", and from that I have a history of both love and music. She left it to me (in my adult years) to discover my own music-related mission: to understand HHF as a complete person-- a "woman before her time"--write about her, and to encourage reprinting her books. _____________________________________________________ Now a question to all of you: does anyone know the current whereabouts of Tristram P. Coffin? He did the critical analyses for the scholarly 4 volume series entitled, Ancient Ballads Traditionally Sung in New England.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 16 Aug 99 - 11:27 AM

How many of you have heard any of the field recordings?

If you sing ballads from the Flanders collection, how do you know them? From the books Mrs. Flanders wrote? From your friends?


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Ferrara
Date: 16 Aug 99 - 11:41 AM

I believe "Bill Hopkins' Colt" is from one of Mrs. Flanders' books, but I learned it from Margaret MacArthur's album "Let the Wildwood Ring."

Nice to see you on the Mudcat, Nancy-Jean!! - Rita F


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 01:33 PM

What do you think people would like to know about a folk song collector?


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 03:30 PM

I'd like to know how HHF became interested in the pursuit of old songs and ballads in the first place. She could have been playing Bridge and drinking tea with the others ladies of her time and class. Instead, whe was wandering all over Vermont (and parts of New York) recording the songs of old geezers on their farms and in their woodlots. She even had sufficient funds to publish much of what she collected. Amazing woman!

Most of the songs we know from her collection have been learned from her books. This is partly because, when we were living in Vermont, Horace Beck was the keeper of the gate that guarded her collection at Middlebury. We went there once, hoping to listen to some of the material. Had a pleasant visit with Horace and his wife, and were told that access to the collection was restricted, sorry. So much for that. That was many years ago, of course, and thing may have changed in the interim. I certainly hope so. Margaret MacArthur could tell us how things stand at the present moment. Are you a lurker, Margaret?

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 04:06 PM

Maybe my thread about a maker of MacArthur harps will draw her in.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 04:08 PM

It is a wonderful story. It is a story about a woman who had a passion for life, for observing life and for sharing what she saw and heard. The books and the memorabilia all substantiate this. What happened way back when was that she belonged to a committee of writers --remember, Helen Hartness Flanders was already a published writer--and this group decided that someone should find out about what songs Vermonters sang (and passed on orally). As my mother said, "They put the finger on her to do the job." This initial assignment sparked such a passion in my grandmother that she could not stop when the committee's project ended. She loved the whole ballad collecting process: the quest for the song, the scenery she drove through to get there and the people she met.

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: KathWestra
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 04:17 PM

I can't think of any committee assignment that has sparked similar passion in me. What a nifty story, Nancy! And thanks for starting this most interesting thread. I'm loving it. Kathy

P.S. Glad to hear you and Caroline are coming to the Getaway, Sandy! It's been too long. K.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Deacon
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 04:23 PM

I am so glad that someone is studying HHF! I've admired her work for a long time and learned a lot of songs from her books.

Recently I thought about writing a dissertation on her, Ralph, and Springfield. Glad I'm doing Bellows Falls, 10 miles south--a real biography of Flanders sounds wonderful.

Anyway, for some reason, Ralph Flanders's papers made it to Syracuse University. There is little on HHF in the papers, the collection may be of use. I can help connect you with people in Special Collections....

David Deacon


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Big Mick
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 04:48 PM

A moment for some praise, Nancy-Jean. There are many reasons why this website is so popular. I would say that you and your project are destined to go down in the annals of Mudcatdom. I am fascinated by this thread and your project. I will pretty much be lurking, as I don't have much to offer. But I applaud your effort, and I celebrate having someone like you here. Thank you for your efforts and thank you for being a part of our village.

Big Mick


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 17 Aug 99 - 05:05 PM

Hello to David Deacon and Big Mick and Kathy W. with the silvery voice!

Lovely messages all. I am stuck in one place and all the papers are far away, so bits and snatches help. I have a catalogue on REF's collected papers at Syracuse. HHF's major Collection and papers are in Middlebury, Vermont. I am having fun tracking down correspondence elsewhere. And there are lots of elsewheres. You gotta keep the work fun!

I knew that after Phillips Barry's death, Fannie Eckstorm became somewhat of a mentor figure to Granny. I have contacted the right person and --oh boy! oh boy!--in a day or two I will get to see what those ladies said to each other.

The beauty of it is that these people were sharing their joy and their knowledge of how to go about collecting and transcribing ballads.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 18 Aug 99 - 11:17 AM

To those of you who are students of the other ballad collectors: who was in touch with Helen Hartness Flanders?

I know of Alan Lomax, Fannie Hardy Eckstorm, Eloise Hubbard Linscott and Sam Henry. Who else was talking with or writing to my grandmother?

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: KathWestra
Date: 18 Aug 99 - 12:24 PM

Nancy Jean -- Maybe we should have a Helen Hartness Flanders session at the Getaway in October, and invite Sandy and any other participating 'Catters to join the discussion.... Just a thought. Kath


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 18 Aug 99 - 01:11 PM

Sandy doesn't know all that much about it, Kath, but I'd be an eager participant, as would Caroline.

Nancy-Jean: Have you any correspondence between Marjorie Porter and your grandmother? I've been told there was a bit of conflict there.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 18 Aug 99 - 01:37 PM

I have not yet seen any correspondance between HHF and Margorie Porter. (Remember, I have not had a chance to spend time at Middlebury looking through the correspondence.) I do recognize the name though.

What would be interesting to know is how these collectors differed in their methods of collecting.

Phillips Barry taught my grandmother very strict rules for collecting ballads: transcribing exactly as the singer had sung--no changing of words, if the words sounded strange, and leaving the tune just as it was recorded. This was a real task. My mother did some of the transcriptions in the beginning.

No one in the Flanders collecting group was involved in performing. That was left to the singers. When my grandmother delivered a lecture, she brought along her singer-informants or their tapes, to illustrate the songs. Thus she was sharing what she had found in the first place.

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Art Thieme
Date: 18 Aug 99 - 02:27 PM

Nancy-Jean,

I've E-mailed Joe Hickerson at the L.O.C. about the current situation of Tristran Coffin, but have not heard from him. Told him about this thread too. Even though he is retired, he's always in there working on things when he's around D.C. When I hear, you will also.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 18 Aug 99 - 04:23 PM

Thanks, Art. I appreciate your telling ole Joe about this thread. He is actually part of my loop--I am in D.C. and go to the Folklife Center when it is open and I am not working (not often). The staff there is most helpful and interested in my project.

Actually it was Joe Hickerson who--a few years ago at the Folklore Society Getaway--looked at me with wide eyes after I mentioned that my grandmother collected ballads and said I'd better come to the LOC and look at the files. It was at that moment that Granny became more than just a granny! By the time I looked at the correspondence between her and Lomax, I knew I was on to something big!!!

Thanks for your help and your interest.

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 20 Aug 99 - 11:28 AM

Vermont Folksongs and Ballads The New Green Mountain Songster Ballads Migrant in New England Ancient Ballads Traditionally Sung in New England (4 vols)

How many of you want to own one or more of these books and find they are out of print?

What would it take to get them re-printed or to have a new anthology of the Flanders collected ballads?

jes wonderin'.......

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: MMario
Date: 20 Aug 99 - 11:41 AM

Are they all from the same publishing house? What are the copyright dates? And who holds the copyright?


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 20 Aug 99 - 10:23 PM

All different: University of Pennsylvania Press, Farrar, Straus and Young, Yale University Press and Folklore Associates, Inc.

I don't know who holds what copywrites.

Nancy-Jean


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 06:55 PM

Nancy-Jean,

These are wonderful books. I'd love to know where I could obtain them.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Aug 99 - 07:05 PM

Apart from a brief reference to a recording by Deborah Flanders, where would those of us who are not American and do not know the depth or breadth of HHF's searches go? Is there a recording of Vermont Ballads (whatever those are) or other "garland of verses" that represents her finds or interests?
yours in complete ignorance, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: karen k
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 08:56 AM

Peter,

For more info on Helen Hartness Flanders and Vermont Ballads, try the website below.

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/jon_flanders/index.htm

karen k


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Peter T.
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 01:06 PM

Thanks karen. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 06:20 PM

Karen,

Tried the URL you gave us a couple of times. Didn't work. Is there something missing?

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: karen k
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 06:32 PM

Frank, The first one should work as I simply copied and pasted it. Try the one below. Hope this works for you. Copied and pasted this one too.

karen k

http://www.middlebury.edu/~lib/FBC/index.html


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Philippa
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 07:08 PM

I tried both URLs successfully; thanks


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Margmac
Date: 22 Aug 99 - 10:37 PM

Bill Hopkins colt is from HHF first book Vermont folk-songs and Ballads as collected in two segments by George Brown in August , 1930. I learned it from the book about 30 years ago and recorded it with my family on Front Hall MAKE THE WILDWOODS RING in 1982

Currently I am finishing a recording BALLADS THRICE TWISTED. Thirteen of the seventeen ballads are from the Flanders collection, now housed at Middlebury College. Of these ballads that I have been singing for many years, six I learned from print, and seven from field recordings given to me by Helen Flanders descendents, that is Nancy Jeans mother Elizabeth Flanders Ballard and her uncle James Flanders

HHF has been a major influence on my repertoire and on my life


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 23 Aug 99 - 12:21 PM

Margaret,

Please let us know when your recording,"Ballads Thrice Twisted" is available. Will it be available on CD? Also is "Make the Wildwoods Ring" available on CD?

Frank


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Deacon
Date: 24 Aug 99 - 01:39 PM

Nancy-Jean,

In terms of HHF's books that are good to sing from, I like her pamphlet, "A Garland of Green Mountain Song." It is a nice selection. I've been singing from photocopies from the Bellows Falls library for years.

David


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: KathWestra
Date: 24 Aug 99 - 04:16 PM

Margaret -- Be sure to start a new thread to let us know when "Ballads Thrice Twisted" is out (and how to get it!). I love the title. Kathy


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Jen
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 09:13 AM

Try here for Helen Hartness Flanders books


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Jen
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 09:14 AM

Wow, it actually worked. Sounds like a nice project, Nancy-Jean! I wish you luck!


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 12:18 PM

Hello Jen and everyone! I have been out of the country, but not out of touch with this project. Thank you for keeping the mudcat fires burning. I am grateful that we now have a listing of HHF's books on this site. Amazon.com is also a possibility for tracking down books. The more I read of my grandmother's letters and lectures, the more I admire her for "following her bliss" into the world of ballads. Her life's story is indeed an inspiratiion. I am honored to have been musically (as well as genetically) connected to her. She was proud of my collecting and singing French folksongs, yet never made more of it than it was. In other words, to be a true collector or to pass along traditional songs, I would have to learn my own way. My own way, it turns out, is to share my grandmother's work with others and to most appreciate those singers who perform ballads (as HHF wanted the oral tradition carried) in a simple, unadorned manner. If only we could have had videos of those ballad collecting experiences! But we don't. What we have is Margaret MacArthur! I hope everyone who is curious about the Flanders collection becomes familier with Margaret's recordings. She truly carries the torch of Helen Hartness Flanders' love of ballads.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: KathWestra
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 12:57 PM

Welcome back, Nancy! Glad to see this thread refreshed, and hope for more interesting discussions of HHF and her work. Kathy.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 04 Sep 99 - 08:24 AM

Here's a question to keep you glued to Mudcat and off the clogged Labor Day highways. For those of you who have researched the field work of other New England collectors: 1) How would you characterize the collecting methods and long term goals of Helen Hartness Flanders?; 2) How did her ballad searcj differ from that of her contemporaries?-- Eloise Hubbard Linscott, the Warners, Fannie Hardy Eckstorm, Helen Creighton, and the many others listed (in the above messages) on this thread.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 04 Sep 99 - 10:35 AM

Nancy-Jean,

This is a wonderful question. You are probably in the best position to answer it and I (for one) would love to hear your answers.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 04 Sep 99 - 05:55 PM

HHF was very picky about recording and then getting an exact transcription of what the singer sang--even collecting multiple versions of the same song, if the singer had a different memory of the song on a different day. She wanted to establish what songs were being sung and exactly how they were being sung. Her ballad collecting began as a project assigned by a committee to track down and write about traditions in Vermont--singing being a tradition. It was not part of my grandmother's goal to get up before a crowd and perform these songs, or to improve upon what she had heard. She enjoyed study and research--hence connecting a song to its Child Ballad origin or to a similar song in another country. Now who can talk about the modis operandi of other collectors?


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 05 Sep 99 - 12:28 PM

When we were in Budapest, we visited the Bartok museum on the "hill" (Buda-side). We saw countless transcriptions of fiddle tunes he had collected from Transylvania, carefully annotated and compiled. Many of them found their way into his works, I'm sure. There is a wonderful picture of him sitting in an ox-cart in Turkey with pencil and music paper getting a tune down. As far as I know, though, he didn't collect songs, just tunes.

Alan Lomax's collecting methods were interesting and to some controversial. Alan could be very forceful about what he wanted recorded and how. It seems, like Sharp and others, that he had a preconceived idea of what he was looking for. Sometimes, the problem is that the collector may miss something he/she is not looking for.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Art Thieme
Date: 05 Sep 99 - 01:47 PM

Being interested in Midwestern lore and songs has led me to the work done by Helene Stratman Thomas in Wisconsin. If anything, she was all-inclusive. My main interest/ prejudice was always the lore and songs of the lumbercamps---the songs that were in the English language. Being of that bent caused me to overlook so very much of the great work she did that documented the many ethnic groups that settled in Wisconsin (although after a bad winter, I wonder why anyone at all came there to live). Her work is housed in the U. of Wis. Music Library in Madison.

Some of her,at least the songs in English, along with great insight into her collecting trips and work, are compiled into a fine volume--"FOLKSONGS OUT OF WISCONSIN" (edited by Harry Peters) 1977--published by the Wisconsin State Historical Society. Ms. Thomas recorded everything she could find during her trips in that state before and after World War 2. Wisconsin Public Radio's Judy Rose, produced a wonderful series of programs called "WISCONSIN PATCHWORK" with included amazing examples (the best of?) from this collection.

Thomas's all-inclusiveness contrasted greatly with the earlier work of Franz Rickaby---a poet, playwright, fiddler and composer--whoitchhiked and walked all over the timber country playing music for his bed and board and committing songs he heard from lumberjacks to memory. He wrote them down later for the most part from what I've understood. He had his songs in notebooks by topic--lumbercamp songs--cowboy songs--seas--rivers--frontier. After Rickaby's too-young death, his lumber ballads and songs became "Ballads And Songs Of The Shanty Boy". His collection is at the U. of Wisconsin--Madison as his widow married Clarence Dykstra who was later to be president of the university.

More later if they come to mind. This is a lovely thread...

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 05 Sep 99 - 03:20 PM

Wonderful and thoughtful replies coming in! I hope more of you join in.

Let me add another aspect of collecting: how the collector finds the songs. Helen Hartness Flanders was not a folkie back in 1929. She was a wife, mother, amateur pianist, published writer, and a patron of the arts. She had a job to do for this committee and she had to use her wits to figure out how to find known singers or have the singers come to her. She asked everyone she knew if they knew people who liked to sing the old songs. She sent out letters to all the schools in Vermont (asking teachers to have children go home and ask if their parents or grandparents had old songs passed down orally) and to the granges; she also sent out articles which were published in several area newspapers in which she described her quest and gave examples of songs and recounted anectdotes from the people who had shared their family songs. Later on she gave lectures about ballads and brought several of the people who had given her the songs to sing them for the audience. Some of these singers were real characters! These lectures, articles and other methods of making folks aware of their heritage WORKED TO BRING THE SONGS IN. HHF received mail about ballads, tunes and texts written out, addresses of people who were thought to know songs, etc. My grandmother also could look at someone and have a sense that they might sing--she had immense charm and could outright ask a total stranger if he remembered an old song like ".....". Recently, someone told me of being in the checkout line at a grocery store with my grandmother. The checkout person was humming a tune. Sure enough, a conversation ensued and more songs were on their way into the Collection!

So how did other collectors go about finding the songs?


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 06 Sep 99 - 05:28 PM

Keepin' the thread alive. Hoping for more feedback on how songs are collected--by the above-mentioned collectors and you folks.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Art Thieme
Date: 06 Sep 99 - 07:01 PM

Things look so official and scholarly when they are bound into a BOOK and issued with a great dust jacket and foot notes etc. etc. etc. But I think that I was play-acting when I tried to "collect" songs. I had instincts in the right direction and I knew what I liked---what I hoped to find. After that, it was pure luck.

In '62 I was emulating Woody & Steinbeck's Joads and Jack Kerouac. I was 20 years old and met Del Bray in a bar in Cheyenne. He was an elderly cowboy who sang "A Cowboy's Barbara Allen" for me. I scribbled it town. The tune was as I remembered it a long while later.

About '65, in Evansville, Indiana, I had a summer job in my uncle's factory. I tape recorded Jim Shelby's Afro-American Baptist church gospel group that year (I think). Jim Shelby was the "porter" at the factory. Porter=dirty job doer. My uncle never forgave me for telling his workforce that they ought to start a union. (They never did; Mick, where were ya?)

Around the same time I made tapes of Lazy Bill Lucas (piano)and Walter Vinson (a member of the Mississippi Sheiks in the '30s) in Chicago. It was on a whim. Somebody said they were going over to an apartment on S. Michigan to hear some guys that did blues. I took my 40 pound Webcor along and got tapes I still listen to.

Another summer in Evansville I found Lee O.B. Quiggins picking an old Martin guitar on Main street. He was blind and made his living keeping to the southern states and playing on the street. He was not terribly good and my family always made fun of me for going out to hang with "those unwashed baritones". I taped his songs in his fleabag hotel room with the sounds of Boots Randolph's sax coming up from the bar below...

I made some great tapes of Bill Chipman from Senath, Missouri, in the "bootheel" of that state. I did that while I was on duty with a hand-held mike (between customers) at the Old Town Folklore Center in Chicago where I worked. (1965 or '66) I think I recall that Frank Hamilton learned his "UTAH CARROL" from Bill. (Is that the one on your new CD, Frank?) Bill had borrowed cash from me and made the tape to pay me back and erase the debt. I doubt that Dawn Greening and many others ever got their $$ back. Bill, where are you now...?

In other threads I've mentioned the 93 year old Hobo singer and Wobbly fiddler, Paul Durst, that I taped in Chicago around 1960. He'd been with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, at the Hymarket Riot--Chicago, at the Ludlow Massacre (labor) in Colorado. Paul was born in 1868. He was a time machine for me--a kid who grew up in a Chicago high-rise.

There were others all over that I learned songs from---many who add to this forum here at Mudcat. But it was always just being in the right place at the right time. (But my whole life has been lived that way.) On several occasions I hauled the tape recorder out to get the songs. Many times I didn't do that---and I'm still kicking myself...

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 06 Sep 99 - 08:05 PM

Hi Art,

Great stories. I remember Bill Chipman so well because he sang a version of Barbara Allen which was terrific. I remember it to this day! I learned Utah Carroll from the book by Austin Fife, (Saints of Saddle and Sagebrush?)..help me Sandy, and an early recording of it which I can't remember but I associate with Library Of Congress field recordings. When Bill came into the Old Town School of Folk Music, Dawn Greening immediately, in her warm inimitable way glommed onto him. He had come by the School to gather money for his local mission. (At least that's what he said). Next thing, he was being sent by the School to play on private party bookings in the North Shore of the Chicago area. He arrived at one gig about an hour earlier and helped the hostess wash dishes and set up for the party. Like you, Art, I wonder where he went?

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Margmac
Date: 06 Sep 99 - 09:37 PM

My luck in finding songs was like yours, Art, being in the right place at the right time. it was at a wedding in Guilford VT that Stephen Green told me that the Hills mentioned in Edith Sturgis book Songs from the Hills of Vermont were in Dover, and that her descendents still came to her summer place on occasion. Well, I see the hills of dover from my kitchen window, and Labor Day weekend was coming up. I found at the place Edith's daughter Susan Goodale, who said "lets look in Mothers desk, and thereas they had been 40 years before were the rest of the songs she had collected from James Atwood before her book of 13 songs was published in 1919. All typed, and with scraps of paper with tunes of 6 of them. With help from the town clerk I found James son Fred who knewthe tunes to many more. He came to visit, around 1962, and trust old Wallwnsack took down the tunes, along with racket from my kids. A thrilling time for me. IHHF always ahad a very competent secretary, and I wished for one then and wish for one now. Hey, I have learned to type in the last couple of years, but notes from those years are decipherable only by me. Still have not learned to spell. I have a great photo of Sen. andH.H Flanders here at my house with Megan, age three, my husband John, his mother Olive MacA and me. Also aroun 1962.

Frank I hope I answered your question aboutMake the Wildwoods Ring. It is only on vinyl. of which I have many


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 07 Sep 99 - 06:23 AM

To Margaret and others who have undecipherable notes: how about talking those notes into a tape recorder?--little by little. Helen Hartness Flanders saw that times were changing and documentation had to be done before the opportunities were gone. She made the promise to make her song collection decipherable. She is gone, but the songs were gifted back to those who love tradition. Any way you can do it, folk song fans would be grateful. (P.S. Margaret, in a couple of years I might be free to offer my secretarial services to your cause!!!)


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Mari-rose
Date: 07 Sep 99 - 08:32 AM

Hi--my father was from the Waterbury VT area.[He's dead now]. He knew of HHF and met her sometimes, at least he told me he had. He used to sing a lot old ballads when I was growing up, like Matty Groves and Barbara Allen. Our family still sings them--it's a tradition, and I guess we feel we owe it to Dad. Jane BEck, at VT Folklife CEnter, has some of our family's songs in her files.I have no idea if HHF collected from my kin, but's possible. I'm glad someone is looking at her work. It should be more widely known, and the old song traditions of New England more widely available.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 07 Sep 99 - 10:31 AM

Mari-Rose, thank you for your response. Please contact me via this email so that we can continue this conversation---- themimzy@aol.com I will find out as much as I can but I will need to know your father's name.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 08 Sep 99 - 11:42 AM

Helen Hartness Flanders wanted to find the songs, understand the traditions and keep them alive. What are we doing today--in our world of Radio and T.V.-- to pass along traditions and ballads?


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 08 Sep 99 - 01:53 PM

I think that we may have to bypass the usual sources of information through the media. We need to have communities of people that are interested in folk songs and their propagation and offer support and information to those who don't know much about it. Nancy-Jean, you are doing this by telling us about the wonderful contributions of your grandmother and this may be more important than battling the networks for a meaningfully informative folk song program. One useful thing would be to provide readers with more information. These folk song books by collectors have become out of print and they need to be made available. I would love to see you write a biography of your grandmother. I would love to read it and I'm sure I'm not alone.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 08 Sep 99 - 09:35 PM

Frank, the book is not just talk. I don't know the first thing about finding a publisher. I am in the note-taking/interviewing/research stage but something exciting is taking place. I see a message. Putting aside all adolescent baggage, haven't all of our foremothers and fathers had something good to leave us. Helen Hartness Flanders saw the big picture. I am privileged to be seeing her dream. Every day comes another bit of the picture. What you said, Frank, is exactly what I am realizing. We who love tradition have an obligation to share our discovery. We sing with each other. We sign up for folk getaway week-ends. We attend folk festivals. Sometimes--oh,wow!--we bring along a few non-folkies. But do we carry the message in other ways--to people who didn't have a singing family like I did? It has occurred to me that one way of "giving back", might be to occasionally offer to organizations out in the nonfolkie world, for example, an evening of the old songs and descriptions of the bygone days when families drew close through singing. The story of my grandmother's ballad quest and what she learned about life and peoples' thirst for music would make for a nostalgic and thought-provoking talk. Any collector's story would be a good story. So there!


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 09 Sep 99 - 12:15 AM

Nancy-Jean:

I just noticed, in the catalog of the Archie Green manuscripts at the University of North Carolina, one file titled "Helen Hartness Flanders." I have absolutely no idea of what it may contain, but you might investigate it when you have the free time. The web site is here: .

See you in a month or so, at the Getaway. We'll be at the "collecting" workshop you are conducting. We'll try to follow your baton! Sandy


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 09 Sep 99 - 12:19 AM

I've done it again! This is humiliating! Try this: ARCHIE GREEN MSS. If that doesn't work, I'm giving up on HTML!


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 09 Sep 99 - 12:22 AM

And I copied that one from my bookmark, straight off! You'd better use a search engine, Nancy-Jean, and look for "Archie Green." I give up!

Cyber-klutz.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 09 Sep 99 - 07:27 AM

Thank you, Sandy. This HHF project is like making a quilt. I collect scraps. You folks who send in ideas/leads are not only helping me but will contribute to adding more information about Helen Hartness Flanders to what already exists in the Flanders Ballad collection. Please continue to fill this thread with names of people who knew Helen Hartness Flanders, had correspondence with her, or even had a good or bad word to say about her.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: MMario
Date: 09 Sep 99 - 09:06 AM

the link sandy tried to post is

url:http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/g/Green,Archie

click here

Sandy - you doubled the http://www portion.....

very minor but easily made mistake....

MMario


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 09 Sep 99 - 10:30 AM

Thanks. Sandy, like most of us, is really "on the ball". I have already made request for copies of that correspondence. Anyone have an address for Archie Green?


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 09 Sep 99 - 10:37 AM

Nancy-Jean, I agree with you. I'm on your side. No argument here. That's why Win Stracke, Dawn Greening, Gert Soltker and I started the Old Town School of Folk Music in 1957. This was our original mission. This is why Pete Seeger organized the Weavers. He wanted to bring the folk song experience to the general public through his re-interpretations. Pete was at the foundation of the folk song revival movement of the sixties. The folk song collectors are important and if there's any way to share them with the general public, I'll do all I can to make that happen. When I made the statement about providing useful information, I wasn't referring to you. You already are. But there is a lot of misinformation out there that doesn't reach the public. It may not get to them through the mass media channels. That was my point. It may take alternative routes.

Have you talked to Ron Cohen at the University of Indiana? They have a U of I Press that makes publications available. I'm sure when the time comes you will find a publisher for your worthwhile work.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Joan Sprung
Date: 09 Sep 99 - 11:26 AM

Wow, I see your're home again, Mimz, (thanks for the postcard) and this thread continued to play out without stopping the whole time you were away. What wonderful feedback from all the folks who have connections and ways to get connections to Granny's life and work! The networking seems to be gathering many bits and pieces of info for your project. Reminds me of the rubber-band balls we used to make, one at a time. Bounced wonderfully, those. Have a great time at the Getaway, and send my best to all the DC folk. I miss them. Joan


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 09 Sep 99 - 01:50 PM

I will add this once-a-more. Can anyone think of how I can get information on Helen Hartness Flanders' assistant, Marguerite Onley. I would like to know more about her as a human being--how she interacted with singers, what she was like in person. She was a Vermonter. Perhaps lived in Springfield. After she and my grandmother parted ways, some years later she died in a house fire. My grandmother's Collection would not be what it is, were it not for Marguerite Onley. She deserves her own portrait as a collector, but I need help in finding information on her. Any Vermontahs out theah?


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 10 Sep 99 - 08:55 AM

I discoverd a thrilling bit of family history recently. Steve Green (Maine Folklife Center) sent me a taped interview he had with my mother, Elizabeth Flanders Ballard, in 1982. Mother had worked with HHF for a number of years, mostly transcribing the ballad tunes. She had never talked about this with us kids and we forgot to be curious. During this interview she confides that she only collected one ballad on her own. She was picking up a singer and bringing him by car to where Granny was waiting with some other people. In the car, the man and Mother talked. Then he sang. He sang The Gypsy Daisy. Of course, she told Granny about it. Granny is listed as collector in the books. This explains why The Gypsy Daisy tune was so familiar to me when I heard it years later. It was one of the songs I grew up on. Anyone else out there interview my mother about Helen Hartness Flanders? News comes from the most unlikely sources!


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Mimzy
Date: 11 Sep 99 - 07:49 AM

refreshing!


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Nancy-Jean
Date: 12 Sep 99 - 07:35 AM

I understand that field recordings of the Flanders Collection(at Middlebury College)will eventually appear on CD. Hearing the original singer is a real part of understanding the ballad as it was being passed along from generation to generation. And perhaps...I hope...encourages us to stay within more traditional presentations.

By the way, I just joined Mudcat and my nickname "Mimzy" has replaced "Nancy-Jean" in the "from" field. Dunno why. I am one and the same, mimzically yours.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Mimzy
Date: 13 Sep 99 - 10:19 AM

Wouldn't it nice to have a CD of Flanders Collection ballads with contributions by various traditional singers who count these songs as part of their repetoires? An interesting potpourri of artists!--as heard during the Pinewoods Folksong week. When I hear, "From the Flanders Collection" , and then a ballad sung in traditional style, the performance honors an important area in our folk musical heritage.


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 16 Jul 07 - 12:26 PM

I'm having trouble accessing any kind of index to the field recordings in the Flanders Ballad Collection housed at Middlebury College. Here's the site I've been using: Flanders field recordings

Does anyone know if this is being updated, or is there somewhere else I should be looking?



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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 16 Jul 07 - 12:32 PM

Just got my answer (and quick!) from the curator of the college's special collections and archives:

"The Flanders Ballad Collection is currently undergoing complete reorganization in order to make it more fully accessible in a web environment. We expect the links to guides to the collection will be available in time for the beginning of the Fall 2007 semester in September."


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: GUEST,Pamela in Ithaca
Date: 16 Jul 07 - 04:24 PM

This is great news!

I believe that they've been working on reorganzing, rehousing
and making more available for some time now. It's really
wonderful that this is getting that close to "done."

Any word on the Flanders biography?
I admit to having jumped to the end of this thread,but
Mimzy, are you still out there?
What's the latest?


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: open mike
Date: 17 Jul 07 - 09:07 AM

Here is a c.d. from 2005 by Deb Cowan based on Helen Hartness Flanders
Dad's Dinner Pail
on Falling Mountain records
No doubt we will hear from Deb Cowan here soon, as she is a member!!


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: DebC
Date: 17 Jul 07 - 09:57 AM

Hey Laurel, Dave and Pamela (it's great how Mudcat brings together someone I have known for over 20 years and two recent friends from the last few years in different parts of the country :-) )

Anyway, I have not heard from Nancy-Jean in a while and have kind of let Flanders rest a bit as I am involved in other projects.

Thanks, Dave, for the update. I am guessing you communicated with Andy Wentink at Middlebury?

The Flanders Collection has so much material in it that it is an overwhelming and quite a daunting task to organise it. Just attempting to choose the eleven songs for Dad's Dinner Pail was a challenge and required many hours of research.

At some point, I do hope to go back to Flanders and have another look. It's a marvelous collection and needs some more attention.

Debra
www.DebraCowan.com


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 18 Oct 13 - 06:05 PM

Anyone know of an update regarding the re-organization of this collection? Would love to hear the recordings, but also wonder if transcripts are available

best- Julia Lane


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 18 Oct 13 - 07:13 PM

Just came across this recent post
http://sites.middlebury.edu/flanders/author/rirwin/

looks like they now have a grant to digitize the recordings


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Subject: RE: Helen Hartness Flanders
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 18 Oct 13 - 10:23 PM

Have a blicky: http://sites.middlebury.edu/flanders/author/rirwin/


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