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Asch, Moses (Moe)

Collection Creator:
Rinzler, Ralph  Search this
Container:
Box 1 (Series 2)
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of article from the Folk Alliance Conference 1996.
Collection Restrictions:
Large portions of this collection are digitized, and while these materials are being prepared for public access through this finding aid, researchers can request digital copies by contacting the Rinzler Archives at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for information.
Collection Citation:
Ralph Rinzler papers and audio recordings, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
CFCH.RINZ, File RINZ_02_001_015
See more items in:
Ralph Rinzler papers and audio recordings
Ralph Rinzler papers and audio recordings / Series 2: Collected Texts
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-rinz-ref496

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:

Missing Title

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
Online Media:

General

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14146

Artwork- Miriam Schaffer

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
undated
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of drawings, letter, and lunch menu.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14147

Clippings- 1952-1990

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1952-1990
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of newspaper clippings.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14149

Clippings- Ed Badeaux

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1960-1961, 1965, 1971
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of clippings and catalogs.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14151

Clippings- Interfaith Observer

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1952
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of newspaper clippings.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14153

Clippings- Non- Folkways 1945-1949

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1945-1949
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of newspaper clippings.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14155

Clippings- Non- Folkways 1948-1949

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1948-1949
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of newspaper clippings.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14157

Clippings- Non- Folkways 1949

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1949
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of newspaper clippings.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14159

Clippings- Non-Folkways 1950-1962

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1950, 1962
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of newspaper clippings.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14161

Clippings- Political 1952-1982

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1952, 1959-1960, 1982
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of newspaper clippings.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14163

Correspondence- 1963-1982

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1963, 1967, 1979, 1982
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of correspondence including many interesting articles from magazines such as Billboard.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14165

Correspondence- 1986

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1986
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of correspondence regarding Moe's death, condolences, and sympathy cards.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14167

Correspondence- Asch, Sholem

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1938, 1940
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of correspondence regarding things such as rental payments and international shipments of bronze materials.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14169

Correspondence- Business 1

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1944-1948
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of correspondence regarding Asch Recordings Business.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14171

Correspondence- Business 2

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1923-1945
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of correspondence, moving contract, notes, and appeal letter.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14173

Correspondence- Business 3

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1935
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of correspondence including letters between Asch and Institute of Radio Service Men. Letters were accumulated by Gary Kenton and repatriated to this folder.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14175

Correspondence- Business 4

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1942-1961
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of correspondence including letters from when Moe ran DISC Company of America. Letters were accumulated by Gary Kenton and repatriated to this folder.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14177

Correspondence- Business 5

Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1948-1961
Scope and Contents note:
File consists of correspondence from Western Union and a doctor's note explaining a scenario when Moe was injured. Letters were accumulated by Gary Kenton and repatriated to this folder.
Collection Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 6: Biographical Materials / General
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref14179

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