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Folklore: Robert W. Gordon, folksong collector

Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Jan 12 - 03:05 PM
RTim 18 Jan 12 - 03:20 PM
Gibb Sahib 18 Jan 12 - 03:26 PM
Gibb Sahib 18 Jan 12 - 03:26 PM
Lighter 18 Jan 12 - 03:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Jan 12 - 03:33 PM
Gibb Sahib 18 Jan 12 - 03:46 PM
Lighter 18 Jan 12 - 06:11 PM
Trunklesqueezer 18 Jan 12 - 06:41 PM
Jon Bartlett 18 Jan 12 - 11:40 PM
GUEST,from Tokyo 19 Jan 12 - 09:05 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Robert W. Gordon, folksong collector
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:05 PM

Strange that one of the greatest of American folksong collectors is seldom mentioned. He was the first Archivist of the Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song.

Robert Winslow Gordon almost never published under his name, but his collections were legion. These collections were dated between 1920-1930 but covered a larger period.

-Field expeditions, some 1000 cylinder recordings including many previously unrecorded texts.
-Some 4000 letters, most with songs, in response to his requests in Adventure, a column in the New York Times, 1920s. This series was published in mimeograph form by the WPA, 1928.
-Sea chantey collection, some 1300 songs, 400 from oral sources.
-Aquisition of manuscripts with some 2000 songs.
-1926 collecting trip, 700 songs collected.
-Aquisition for the Library of broadsides, song sheets, pulp material, songsters.
-Sea Island and other spiritual collections. A rare published article described the development of the spiritual and introduced spirituals from the Sea Islands of South Carolina; "The Negro Spiritual," an effective introduction to a partial collection by Katherine C. Hutson et al., of the Society for the Preservation of Spirituals, in The Carolina Low-Country (The first collection of "Come By Yuh" and others in this volume).
-His letters and papers are in the Robert W. Gordon Collection of American Folksong, University of Oregon.

Norm Cohen, information summarized in JAFL, 1974, vol. 87, no. 343; "Robert Gordon and the Second Wreck of "Old 97."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Robert W. Gordon, folksong collector
From: RTim
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:20 PM

How about this to start with??

Tim Radford

http://www.loc.gov/folklife/Gordon/index.html


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Robert W. Gordon, folksong collector
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:26 PM

I'm hoping to win a grant some day to research at the Library of Congress, and study the stuff.

In the meantime, of course there are these links:

The retrospective album w/ some of his field recordings

The "Inferno" Collection, hosted by 'Jack Horntip'


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Robert W. Gordon, folksong collector
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:26 PM

Sorry, first link cross-posted with Tim


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Robert W. Gordon, folksong collector
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:30 PM

Some years ago I went through the entire, enormous Gordon Collection, other than his recorded disks.

Some excellent material there.

Debora Kodish wrote his biography a few years ago: _Good Friends and Bad Enemies_.

IMO, Gordon was the equal of either Lomax as a collector and he surpassed both as a scholar.

Unfortunately, Gordon published very little.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Robert W. Gordon, folksong collector
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:33 PM

Guide to the Robert W. Gordon Collection ca. 1906-1939.

19 containers. University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
htt://libweb.uoregon.edu/speccoll/index.html

His "Old Songs Men Have Sung" department of the pulp Adventure Magazine has been called the finest work of American folk song of the time. Included are war, camp, soldier, minstrel, Negro and White spirituals, murder ballads, sea songs, Irish ballads, cowboy songs, etc. Some of this appeared in the New York Times.

The University of Oregon collection contains ca. 4000 song texts and fragments, 2250 privately collected and 1700 transcribed from published sources.

Manuscript collections (not found in Library of Congress) include Songs of the Dogwatch by Joseph McGinnis (songs of the sea including chanteys, Canal and Great Lakes songs).
Mary Newcomb, photostat of MS Songs My Mother Sang (wide-ranging from Child ballads to Negro and play-party songs).
Papers and notes from Joanna Colcords's Roll and Go. Includes variants not published.
Gordon's class notes, lectures at Harvard University.

Gordon's important book, Folksongs of America; notes.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Robert W. Gordon, folksong collector
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 03:46 PM

ah yes, University of Oregon...
***

Here are citations for NYT articles:

Gordon, Robert W. 1927. "The Folk Songs of America: A Hunt on Hidden Trails." New York Times (2 Jan. 1927).

Gordon, Robert W. 1927. "Folk Songs of America: Work Chanteys." New York Times (16 Jan. 1927).

There a couple others from around that time.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Robert W. Gordon, folksong collector
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 06:11 PM

Joseph McGinnis sailed around 1890, IIRC. He sent Gordon a number of texts seperately, and Colcord uses some of his songs.

_Songs of the Dogwatch_ should have some good stuff in it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Robert W. Gordon, folksong collector
From: Trunklesqueezer
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 06:41 PM

Two more.

Gordon, R. W. (1927). "Folk Songs of America: Negro Chants." New York Times Sunday Magazine (8 May) : 11, 21.

Gordon, R. W. (1927). "Folk Songs of America: Shanty-boy Lays." New York Times Sunday Magazine (28 August) : 9, 20.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Robert W. Gordon, folksong collector
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 11:40 PM

His collection in Library of Congress contains a lengthy set of "Waiting for a Train" a few years before Jimmy Rogers claimed to have written it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Robert W. Gordon, folksong collector
From: GUEST,from Tokyo
Date: 19 Jan 12 - 09:05 AM

Thanks.

Kiyohide,
Tokyo Folklore Center


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