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Moses and Frances Asch Collection

Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Names:
Courlander, Harold, 1908-1996  Search this
Guthrie, Woody, 1912-1967  Search this
Jenkins, Ella  Search this
Leadbelly, 1885-1949  Search this
Ramsey, Frederic, 1915-1995  Search this
Seeger, Pete, 1919-2014  Search this
Extent:
841 Cubic feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Business records
Correspondence
Phonograph records
Photographic prints
Audiotapes
Date:
1926-1986
bulk 1948-1986
Summary:
This collection, which dates from 1926-1986, documents the output of Moses Asch through the various record labels he founded and co-founded, and includes some of his personal papers. The Asch collection includes published recordings, master tapes, outtakes, business records, correspondence, photographs, and film.
Scope and Contents:
The Moses and Frances Asch Collection measures 841 cubic feet and dates from 1926-1987, with some contemporary, relevant correspondence, clippings, and ephemera added after 1987.

Most of the collection consists of audio recordings (commercial 78 rpm and long-playing records, open reel tapes, acetate discs, and test pressings), correspondence with recording artists and producers, artwork, photographs, ephemera, clippings, record production materials, writings, and business papers relating to Folkways Records. Materials relating to Folkways Records can be found primarily in the Correspondence, Folkways Production, Business Records, Photographs, Artwork, Sound Recordings, and Film series.

The collection also contains some biographical materials and personal correspondence, including materials related to Asch's first business, Radio Laboratories, located in the Biographical Materials series. Correspondence, ephemera, photographs, record production materials, business papers, and recordings relating to Asch's record labels before Folkways Records (Asch Recordings, Disc Company of America, Cub Records) are located in the Early Label Materials series as well as the Audio Recordings and Photographs series.
Arrangement note:
The collection is arranged in 10 series:

Series 1: Correspondence, 1942-1987

Series 2: Folkways Production, 1946-1987

Series 3: Business Records, 1940-1987

Series 4: Woody Guthrie papers, 1927-1985

Series 5: Early Label Materials, 1940-1949

Series 6: Biographical Materials, 1926-1987

Series 7: Photographs

Series 8: Artwork

Series 9: Audio Recordings

Series 10: Film

At this time, the collection is partially processed. Please contact rinzlerarchives@si.edu for more information.
Biographical/Historical note:
The son of Yiddish writer Sholem Asch, Moses Asch was born in Poland in 1905. His childhood was spent in Poland, France, Germany, and New York. While young, Asch developed an interest in radio electronics, which ultimately lead him to his life's work, recording the music and sounds of the world. He established several record labels in succession, sometimes partnering with other record companies. Two of his fist record companies, Asch Recordings and DISC Co. of America, went bankrupt. They were followed by his best-known label, Folkways Records, which was founded in 1948 with Marian Distler (1919-1964). He was still working on Folkways recordings when he died in 1986.

Folkways Records sought to document the entire world of sound. The 2,168 titles Asch released on Folkways include traditional and contemporary music from around the world, spoken word in many languages, and documentary recordings of individuals, communities, and current events. Asch's business practices revolved around the commitment to keep every recording issued by Folkways in print, despite low sales. Asch stayed afloat by cutting costs where he could (such as color printing) and offering a high-quality product, meticulously recorded and accompanied by extensive liner notes. In doing this, he could charge a slightly higher price than other commercial outfits. Despite a tenuous relationship with financial solvency, Folkways grew to be not only one of the most important independent record companies in the United States in the 20th century, but also one of the largest and most influential record companies in the world.

Moses Asch's record labels featured famous and lesser known American writers, poets, documentarians, ethnographers, and grass roots musicians on commercial recordings. American folk icon Woody Guthrie recorded on the Asch, Disc, and Folkways labels, and the Asch Collection includes some of his correspondence, lyrics, drawings, and writings. The collection also includes correspondence with other notable musicians and artists such as John Cage, Langston Hughes, Margaret Walker, Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter, Pete Seeger, Peggy Seeger, Ewan MacColl, Alan Lomax, Henry Cowell, and Kenneth Patchen. Also in the collection are ethnographic field notes and photographs by as well as correspondence with Béla Barók, Sidney Robertson Cowell, Harold Courlander, Helen Creighton, Laura Boulton, and Samuel Charters. Asch hired various prominent artists and graphic designers including David Stone Martin, Ben Shahn, John Carlis, and Ronald Clyne to create album cover art for his recordings. Much of the original art and designs for these covers can be found in the Asch Collection.

Asch's output of recordings on various labels, including published recordings, open reel master tapes, outtakes, and acetate disks, in addition to his business papers, correspondence, photographs, and other files were acquired by the Smithsonian Institution in 1987. The collection came to the Smithsonian with the understanding that all 2168 titles under the Folkways label would be kept available in perpetuity.
Provenance:
Ralph Rinzler arranged the Smithsonian's acquisition of the Moses and Frances Asch Collection in 1987, beginning with Asch before his death in 1986 and continuing with extensive discussions between Rinzler and the Asch family. Since its acquisition, archivist Jeff Place and others have added contemporary, relevant correspondence with Folkways artists and related individuals.
Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Topic:
Folk music  Search this
Folk dance music  Search this
Electronic music  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Music -- 20th century  Search this
Music -- 19th century  Search this
Music -- 18th century  Search this
Jazz  Search this
Folk music -- United States  Search this
World music  Search this
Sounds  Search this
Vocal music  Search this
Popular music -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Genre/Form:
Business records
Correspondence
Phonograph records
Photographic prints
Audiotapes
Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
CFCH.ASCH
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-cfch-asch
Additional Online Media:

Decision for youth [sound recording] : integrating the study of memorable selections from literature / by Morris Schreiber

Performer:
Schreiber, Morris  Search this
House, Wallace  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Performers:
University Players  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Instructional materials
Date:
1964
Topic:
Literature  Search this
Prose literature  Search this
Poetry  Search this
Narration (Rhetoric)  Search this
Essays  Search this
Decision making  Search this
Literature--Self instruction  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9118
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_232979

Understanding and appreciation of the novel [sound recording] / by Morris Schreiber

Performer:
Schreiber, Morris  Search this
Buckridge, Kenneth  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Novels
Instructional materials
Date:
1963
Topic:
Fiction--History and criticism  Search this
Fiction  Search this
English language--Reading  Search this
Literature--Self instruction  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9119
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_232980

Guidance through literature [sound recording] : windows for youth / by Morris Schreiber

Performer:
Schreiber, Morris  Search this
House, Wallace  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Instructional materials
Date:
1962
Topic:
Literature  Search this
Prose literature  Search this
Poetry  Search this
Narration (Rhetoric)  Search this
Literature--Self instruction  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9121
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_232982

Understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare [sound recording] : audio units in literature / by Morris Schreiber

Performer:
Schreiber, Morris  Search this
Director:
House, Wallace  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Subject:
Shakespeare, William 1564-1616 Criticism and interpretation  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Instructional materials
Date:
1966
Topic:
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Poetry  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9124
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_232985

Understanding and appreciation of the short story [sound recording] / by Morris Schreiber

Performer:
Schreiber, Morris  Search this
House, Wallace  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Performers:
University Players  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Instructional materials
Date:
1966
Topic:
Short story  Search this
Prose literature  Search this
Essays  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Literature--Self instruction  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9125
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_232986

Great short stories of the world [sound recording] / written and directed by Morris Schreiber

Performer:
Schreiber, Morris  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Creator:
Institute Players  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Instructional materials
Date:
1971
Topic:
Short story  Search this
Prose literature  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Literature--Self instruction  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9126
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_232987

Evangeline [sound recording] : by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow / read by Harry Fleetwood

Title:
Evangeline : A Tale of Acadie by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Performer:
Fleetwood, Harry  Search this
Album cover design:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Subject:
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth 1807-1882  Search this
Physical description:
2 phonograph records : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Oral interpretations
Instructional materials
Date:
1958
Topic:
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Spoken word  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9502
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_232997

Urfaust [sound recording] / by Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Author:
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 1749-1832  Search this
Performer:
Reyer, Walter  Search this
Gobert, Boy  Search this
Sutter, Sonja  Search this
Nicoletti, Susi  Search this
Weck, Peter  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Subject:
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 1749-1832 Faust Adaptations  Search this
Physical description:
2 phonograph records : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Date:
1962
Topic:
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9571
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_232999

The pit and the pendulum [sound recording] / Edgar Allen Poe

Title:
David Kurlan reads The pit and the pendulum
Author:
Poe, Edgar Allan 1809-1849  Search this
Narrator:
Kurlan, David  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Type:
Phonograph records
Instructional materials
Date:
1967
Topic:
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Prose literature  Search this
Local number:
FW09705
Folkways 9705
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233015
Additional Online Media:

Inland, western sea [sound recording] / by Nathan Asch

Author:
Asch, Nathan 1902-1964  Search this
Reader:
Maynard, Virginia  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Cover photographer:
Evans, Walker 1903-1975  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Type:
Phonograph records
Date:
1978
Topic:
Short story  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Prose literature  Search this
Local number:
FW09720
Folkways 9720
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233025
Additional Online Media:

The Daemon lover and The Lottery [sound recording] / read by Shirley Jackson

Reader:
Jackson, Shirley 1916-1965  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Type:
Phonograph records
Date:
1960
Topic:
Short story  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Women authors, American  Search this
Prose literature  Search this
Local number:
FW09728
Folkways 9728
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233031
Additional Online Media:

Padraic Colum reading his Irish tales [and] poems [sound recording]

Performer:
Colum, Padraic 1881-1972  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Culture:
Irish  Search this
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Place:
Ireland
Date:
1965
Topic:
Storytelling  Search this
Poetry  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
FW09737
Folkways 9737
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233038
Additional Online Media:

Bret Harte stories [sound recording] / read by David Kurlan

Author:
Harte, Bret 1836-1902  Search this
Performer:
Kurlan, David  Search this
Album cover design:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Date:
1957
Topic:
Short story  Search this
Spoken word  Search this
Storytelling  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Prose literature  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9740
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233040

Stephen Crane [sound recording] : a selection from "The Red Badge of Courage," the poetry, and the story, "The Veteran" / read by Jared Reed

Author:
Crane, Stephen 1871-1900  Search this
Reader:
Reed, Jared d. 1962  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Commentator:
Charters, Samuel Barclay 1929-2015  Search this
Subject:
Crane, Stephen 1871-1900 The Red Badge of Courage Adaptations  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Date:
1961
Topic:
Short story  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Poetry  Search this
Prose literature  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9745
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233043

Moby Dick [sound recording] : selections / read by Louis Zorich

Author:
Melville, Herman 1819-1891  Search this
Reader:
Zorich, Louis 1924-2018  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Commentator:
Charters, Ann  Search this
Subject:
Melville, Herman 1819-1891 Moby Dick Adaptations  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Date:
1965
Topic:
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Local number:
FW09775
Folkways 9775
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233064
Additional Online Media:

Four American murder mysteries [sound recording] / written by Bernard Barshay ; read by Henry Hamilton

Author:
Barshay, Bernard  Search this
Reader:
Hamilton, Henry  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Date:
1966
Topic:
Detective and mystery stories, American  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9781
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233067

Two short stories of the depression [sound recording] / written and ready by Bernard Barshay

Reader:
Barshay, Bernard  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Cover photographer:
Nelson, Paul  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Date:
1975
Topic:
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Short story  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9783
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233069

The nineteen sixties [sound recording] / by Bernard Barshay

Performer:
Barshay, Bernard  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Date:
1977
Topic:
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Short story  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9784
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233070

More stories of the depression [sound recording] / by Bernard Barshay

Reader:
Barshay, Bernard  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Cover photographer:
Nelson, Paul  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Date:
1978
Topic:
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Short story  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9785
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233071

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