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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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.
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.
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at email@example.com or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
The Cook Labs records, which date from 1939-2002, document the activities of audio engineer Emory Cook and his label Cook Labs. The contents include business records, materials relating to recording artists, photographs, and production materials, as well as phonograph records, master recordings and unpublished recordings produced by or associated with the Cook Labs label. The collection also contains two interviews conducted with Emory Cook in 1990: one by Jeff Place and one by Anthony Seeger and Nicholas Spitzer. There are several physical objects relating to Cook Labs including a bag of powdered vinyl, a binaural playing arm, and a condenser microphone.
Scope and Contents note:
There are two primary components of the Cook Labs records: the records, master tapes and other audio recordings, and the related paper files.
The Cook Labs records contains about 150 of the 200 released Cook recordings, and 739 master tapes. In addition, there are 330 unpublished tapes.
The the paper files include acquisition materials; business correspondence; recording reports; various production notes on records produced; news articles both about and by Emory Cook and Cook Labs; copyright, licensing, and trademark materials; photographs, correspondence, contracts, and other materials relating to recording artists; production materials for each Cook Labs release; and other miscellany. Many contracts are signed by both Cook Labs and the artist. Correspondence is primarily between business associates.
Two interviews were done with Emory Cook in 1990: one by Jeff Place and one by Anthony Seeger and Nicholas Spitzer; both interviews are included in the Cook Labs records.
There are several physical objects relating to Cook Labs including a bag of powdered vinyl, a binaural playing arm, and a condenser microphone.
Many of the items in this list have been assigned an accession number, and like materials have been grouped together to create seven series:
Series 1: Business Papers, 1939-1990
Series 2: Recording Artists, 1949-1981, bulk 1950-1959
Series 3: Photographs, undated, 1957
Series 4: Production files, 1948-1995, bulk 1952-1963
Series 5: Objects, undated, 1908-1964
Series 6: Audio Interviews, 1990
Series 7: Audio Recordings
Emory Cook (1913-2002) is widely regarded as a highly influencial audio engineer. Born and raised in Albany, New York, he joined the Army Air Corps in 1932. After his discharge in 1934 he obtained his degree from Cornell University and began working for Western Electric in the Audio Engineering Force. During World War II, while still at Western Electric, Cook supervised the creation of a fire-controlled radar "Trainer," for which he received a Commendation from the Service.
In the late 1940's, convinced he could do better than what was on the market, Cook began experimenting with making his own audio equipment. Cook Laboratories was started in 1945 when he developed a new cutting head to be used in record production. Future development of equipment brought about the discovery that he could record frequencies as high as 20,000 hertz, more than any other recording company at the time. He cut a record of piano and organ music to demonstrate this discovery, and took it to the 1949 Audio Fair in New York. When he demonstrated the record with the hopes to sell the recording equipment, he found that people were much more interested in buying the record itself. Shortly after, Sounds of Our Times, later called Cook Records, was born.
Cook Records collected many different sounds and was mostly aimed at the devoted high-fidelity listener. Cook believed that hearing was a sense often overlooked by people, and he wanted listeners of his albums to be able to hear things they might otherwise miss. In a New Yorker profile by Daniel Lang in 1956, Cook claimed that hearing was "always being kicked aside in favor of sight… There's a time and a place for everything, and that includes sound." In order to encourage listening, he put out many albums full of everyday sounds, such as Voice of the Sea, an album of noises of the ocean and Eye of the Storm, recorded during a thunderstorm. One of the most successful albums was Rail Dynamics, an album of steam trains pulling in and out of a station.
Cook Records also produced traditional music albums from its plant in Stamford, Connecticut. The label produced everything from organ music to folk, flamenco guitar, calypso and steel band. Cook had little interest in name musicians and instead searched high and low for anything he thought might be an interesting contribution to his label. He even invited listeners to send in their favorite sounds, some of which he eventually recorded.
Cook had such a large interest in Calypso music that he set up a second pressing plant in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. There he pressed calypso and steel band music for both a Trinidadian and American audience, and most albums sold well in both countries.
In addition to the wide range of music Cook recorded, he was also an inventor. It was Cook who first came up with the idea of pressing records with powdered, rather than solid, vinyl, a technique he dubbed "microfusion." This technique not only saved money, but cut out many of the traditional crackles and pops associated with records.
He also developed the binaural system of recording and playing records, which he thought was superior to the more commonly used stereo method. Binaural was more precise than stereo, and it required placing two microphones six inches apart, approximately the space between two ears, during the recording. It was then played back with a special two-needle playing arm. Binaural recordings were thought by Cook to best duplicate the original sound.
Emory Cook died at the age of 89 in 2002 after a long hospitalization.
COOK RECORDINGS - NUMERICAL LISTING:
001 20,000 Cycle Demo (1949) COOK00001
002 Night Rain and Surf COOK00002
003 Specimen Heart Beats COOK00003
004 Katydids, Frogs and Forrest Birds
E101 Grenada Stories and Songs (1957-58) COOK00101
E102 Amazon Sound: Yacu River Tribes (Rituals and Rites) (1954) COOK00102
E103 Music of St. Lucia (1953) COOK00103
E104 Rada (1958) COOK00104
E105 JOSE RAMON FORTUNE AND OLGA MAYNARD Nancy Stories (1956) COOK00105
106 Afro-West Indian Cultural Practices (1957-58) COOK00106
107 ESCOLA DE SAMBA DE BRAZIL The Boli, The Cocolute, and Brazil (1957-58) COOK00107
901 Steelband Jump Up Boys Town, Tropical Harmony, Silvertone COOK00901
904 THE ESSO STEEL BAND Esso Steelband of Bermuda (1958) COOK0904
906 LORD MELODY Lord Melody Sings Calypso (1958-59) COOK00906
911 TOM CHARLES AND HIS SYNCOPATER ORCHESTRA Fete for So! (1959) COOK00911
914 LORD MELODY Again! Lord Melody Sings Calypso (1957-58) COOK00914
916 Calypso Cross Section Young Killer, The Mighty Bomber, Small Island Pride, The Mighty Wrangler (1957-58) COOK00916
920 THE MIGHTY SPARROW King Sparrow's Calypso Carnival (1959) COOK00920
927 LORD MELODY Calypso through the Looking Glass (1959) COOK00927
928 CLARENCE CURVAN His Drums, His Orchestra COOK00928
930 Belly to Belly Clarence Curvan, Johnny Gomez, Tom Charles, Fitz Vaughn Bryan (1960-61) COOK00930
931 LORD MELODY Lord Melody, 1962 COOK0931
1000 TITUS MOODY DDDs of Binaural (1952) COOK01000
1011 The Christmas Music Box (1950) COOK01011
1012 Music Boxes of Long Ago (1950) COOK01012
1013 CHARLIE MAGNANTE Accordion Pops Concert (1954-55) COOK01013
1014 CHARLIE MAGNANTE AND LaVERGNE SMITH His and Hers (1954-55) COOK01014
1020 SAM ESKIN Sam Eskin's Songs of All Time COOK01020
1021 GROUPE MI-O Un Ti Bo (1958) COOK01021
1022 LAVINIA WILLIAMS' GROUPE FOLKLORIQUE Haiti Confidential (1958) COOK01022
1023 The Ramayana (Hindu Ceremony) (1961) COOK01023
10120 Music Boxes, Carousels, and Hand Organs (01012 and 05010) (1950-53) COOK10120
10248 The Voice of Mexico Gustavo Zepoli, Trio Leones (01024 and 01080) (1954) COOK10248
10251 SEAN McGONIGAL AND ST. COLUMCILLE'S UNITED GAELIC PIPE BAND Kilts on Parade (01025 plus solos) (1950-53) COOK10251
10271 CARLOS MONTOYA AND THE JOSE GRECO TROUPE Fiesta Flamenca (selections from 01027 and 01028) (1952) COOK10271
10289 CARLOS MONTOYA Montoya (selections from 01028 plus) (1952) COOK10289
10301 EDWARD AND JOSEPH VITO The Harp (selections from 01030 and 01031 plus) (1951-54) COOK10301
10326 Cafe Continental Ruth Welcome, Dick Marta, and Anita Ast (selections from 01026 and 01032) (1951-52) COOK10326
10350 Nickelodion and Calliope (selections from 01035 and 05010) (1950-53) COOK10350
10500 REGINALD FOORT The Theater Organ COOK10500
10501 MICHAEL CHESHIRE Pipe Organ in the Mosque (selections from 01050 and 01051) (1952) COOK10501
10523 REGINALD FOORT Percussion and Pedal (selections from 01052 and 01053) (1952) COOK10523
10545 REGINALD FOORT The Organ at Symphony Hall (01054 plus) (1954) COOK10545
10579 REGINALD FOORT Foort Pops (selections from 01057 and 01058) (1956) COOK10579
10646 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Tempo Vivace: Symphonic Masterpieces of Dance & Theater (selections from 01064 and 01066) (1955-56) COOK010646
10657 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Two Classical Symphonies: Mozart Symphony No. 40, Beethoven Symphony No. 5 (01065 and 01067) (1955) COOK10657
10659 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Two Classical Symphonies: Mozart Symphony No. 40, Haydn Symphony No. 100 (01065 and 01069) (1955-56) COOK10659
10683 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Modern Orchestral Textures (01068 and 01063) (1955) COOK10683
10850 RUPERT Cook LabsEMENDORE BAND Le Jazz Trinidad COOK10850
10867 Before and After Willie Rodriguez (selections from 01086 and 05007) (1953-54) COOK010867
10889 RED CAMP Horizontal & Upright & Downright & Dunright (01088 and 01089) (1954) COOK10889
10890 The Castiliane Johnny Gomez Band, John Buddy Williams Band, Girl Pat Steel Band, And Grand Curacaye String Orchestra (1956) COOK10890
11312 BRUCE PRINCE-JOSEPH AND HUFSTADER SINGERS The Forgotten Pedal Harpsichord and Hufstader Singers (01131 and 01092) (1953) COOK11312
11815 TONY ALMERICO'S PARISIAN ROOM BAND AND LIZZIE MILES Clambake on Bourbon Street (1954-55) COOK11815
50130 Tour of Cook Labs COOK50130
70889 RED CAMP Popular Piano and Combo COOK70889
80134 LUIZ BONFA Waterfall: Guitar COOK80134
80417 MARIMBA ORCHESTRA Waterfall: Children's Music COOK80417
80680 NEW ORCHESTRAL SOCIETY OF BOSTON Waterfall: Symphonic COOK80680
XX1 Audio Follies Sampler COOK00XX1
XX2 Calypso Jazz Sampler COOK00XX2
Series 10 Cook Series 10 COOK_Series10
Series 30 Cook Series 30 COOK_Series30
Series 60 Cook Series 60 COOK_Series60
Series 70 Cook Series 70 COOK_Series70
Series 80 Cook Series 80 COOK_Series80
Series 90 Cook Series 90 COOK_Series90
Series 100 Cook Series 100 COOK_Series100
Series 300 Cook Series 300 COOK_Series300
Series 301 Cook Series 301 COOK_Series301
Series 302 Cook Series 302 COOK_Series302
Series 303 Cook Series 303 COOK_Series303
The Smithsonian Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections acquired the Cook Labs Records in 1990, when Emory and Martha Cook donated their company records to the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Anthony Seeger, then Director of Smithsonian Folkways Records, received a call from Mr. Cook in the summer of 1989 offering to donate the Cook label to the Smithsonian. Dr. Seeger visited him in August of that year to view the contents of the collection, and the Smithsonian received custody of the collection in May 1990. In return for the donation from Mr. Cook, the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage agreed to keep the record titles available and to store the papers in the archives.
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at (202) 633-7322 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Popular music -- 20th century -- United States Search this
Primarily published sheet music, plus some related ephemera. Originally included 781 boxes of American sheet music and assorted clippings, articles, photographs, etc.; also 93 boxes of 33-1/3 RPM phonograph records, 30 boxes of 45 RPM records, and 20 boxes of 78 RPM records
Scope and Contents:
Sam DeVincent organized his collection topically and the present organization is built upon his basic system. In the course of processing this huge collection organized into hundreds of topics, a set of more encompassing topical headings have been developed. For example, the series designation "transportation" gathers together DeVincent's topical headings of "automobiles," "railroads," "bicycles," etc. Each of these larger, conceptual, headings is considered a series and is given a series number. Transportation is series number 1. Each series will be described separately and a composite index will lead researchers into the appropriate series. Terminology is consistent with Library of Congress Subject Headings whenever possible.
Within each series, the topical headings used by DeVincent, or a heading of similar level and type, receive sub-series numbers. For example, "railroads" is part of series 1, transportation, and is given the sub-series number 7. Therefore, "railroads" is designated as 1.7.
All of the sheet music has been placed in folders (from 1 to 45 items per folder) and given a letter of the alphabet. Within each folder, the music is arranged alphabetically by song title. A researcher searching the index for the song Wabash Cannonball (note that very few song titles are indexed) would be directed to "1.7 V." The researcher would then turn to the railroad section of the container list (1.7) and look for folder V and read the folder description.
Most of the sheet music is either a solo piano or a piano/vocal arrangement. There are very few orchestral or band parts and very little music for instruments other than piano. When the word "instrumental" is used in folder descriptions and titles, the music referred to has no lyrics and is for solo piano. Music for other instruments or ensemble parts will be mentioned explicitly in the folder description and usually indexed. Also, duplicates have not been kept in the file unless the sheet is particularly old or fragile (in which case one duplicate was kept if available). Sheets with slightly different covers, different ink colors, or variations in advertising matter are not considered duplicates.
In addition to the sheet music, the collection includes ephemera files corresponding to each series. These files contain items such as lists of sheet music, DeVincent's correspondence with other collectors, wire service printouts received at the radio station where he worked, his notes to be used for cross-indexing ("see also" references), and miscellaneous items relating to the topic. Some materials kept by DeVincent have not been incorporated into the ephemera files, for example most of the popular magazines, Fort Wayne Indiana newspaper clippings about non-musical topics, and some advertising matter.
The ephemera files are numbered with the same series and sub-series numbers as the sheet music. For example bicycles are 1.3 in both the music and ephemera files. A description of the ephemera file follows the sheet music container list. It is followed by an index to the entire series. Many topical headings not directly concerned with the topic of the series are indexed (for example "Women, images of" is an important topic in the bicycle sub-series). The author of each series description made the decisions about topics for indexing.
Series 1: Transportation:
Dates -- circa 1800-1980
Contents -- Series 1: Transportation contains circa 3,900 pieces of sheet music documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards transportation technology in the United States.1.1: Aeronautics1.2: Automobiles1.3: Bicycles1.4: Boats and Boating1.5: Horse-Drawn Vehicles1.6: Motorcycles1.7: Railroads1.8: Urban Transportation1.9 Ephemera
Series 2: Armed Forces:
Dates -- circa 1810-1980
Contents -- Series 2: Armed Forces contains circa 3,400 pieces of sheet music and song folios documenting the military history of the United States; there are only a handful of foreign imprints. 2.1: Pre-Civil War2.2: Civil War2.3: Pre-World War I2.4: World War I2.5: World War II2.6: Post -World War2.7: Naval History2.8: Marine CorpsEphemera
Series 3: African-American Music:
Dates -- circa 1828-1980
Contents -- Series 3: African-American Music contains circa 7,800 pieces of sheet music and folios dating from the 1820s to the 1980s; most of the material dates from after 1890. 3.1: Minstrel Shows and Blackface Entertainers3.2: Uncle Tom's Cabin3.3: African-American Folk-songs and Spirituals3.4: Songs about African-American/Vocal Ragtime3.5: Instrumental and Ragtime Music3.6: Ragtime Composers and Publishers3.7: Blues and Jazz Music3.8: Composers and PerformersEphemera
Series 4: Songwriters:
Dates -- 1817-1982
Contents -- Series 4: Songwriters: The song sheets associated with each songwriter in this series are generally arranged in the following order: General Songs; Ethnic Songs; Armed Conflict Songs or other Topical Headings; Ragtime; Instrumental; Musical Theater Production Songs; Motion Picture Production Songs; Specialized Song Sheets/Editions; Professional/Artist Copy Song Sheets; and Folios/Volumes. List: 4.1 - 4.217Ephemera
Series 5: Politics and Political Movements:
Dates -- circa 1817-1982
Contents -- Series 5: Politics and Political Movements contains circa 1,565 pieces of sheet music and song folios documenting the political history of the United States. 5.1: Patriotic Music5.2: Politicians and Political Figures5.3: Politics and Political Parties5.4: Ku Klux Klan5.5: Prohibition and Temperance5.6: Trade Union5.7: Women's RightsEphemera
Series 6: Moving Pictures and Movie Stars:
Dates -- 1911-1986
Contents -- Series 6: Moving Pictures and Movie Stars: 6.1 Academy Award Songs6.2 Child Stars6.3 Dance Folios6.4 Disney Productions and Other Cartoon Movies6.5 Female Stars6.6 Male Stars6.7 Movie Music6.8 Silent Films6.9 Songs About the MoviesEphemera
Series 7: Sports:
Dates -- 1834-1983
Contents -- Series 7: Sports contains 1,254 pieces of sheet music and song folios. Most of the sheet music is either piano or piano/ vocal arrangements. 7.1: Baseball, 1860-19767.2: Boxing, 1893-19827.3: Fishing, 1847-19627.4: Football, 1894-1978; undated7.5: Gambling and Games of Chance, 1891-19807.6: Golf, 1893-19537.7: Horse Racing, 1899-19687.8: Hunting, 1834-19517.9: Ice Skating, 1861 -1978; undated7.10: Olympics, 1932-19837.11: Ping Pong, 1901-19027.12: Roller Skating, 1871-1980; undated7.13: Skiing, 1908-19717.14: Sleighs and Sledding, 1846- 1967; undated7.15: Sports, Miscellaneous, 1866-19777.16: Tennis, 1893-1914, 1951Ephemera
Series 8: Geography:
Dates -- 1794-1987
Contents -- Series 8: Geography is divided into three sections: the United States, Foreign Countries, and Natural Features. The more than 13,000 sheets date from 1830-1987 and include undated sheets that are probably earlier. The series comprises 33 cu. ft. 8.1-8.49: United States, 1830-1987 (States)8.50-8.51: United States, 1830-1987 (U. S. Regions)8.53-8.89: Foreign Countries, 1794-1982 (Afghanistan - Italy)8.90-8.126: Foreign Countries, 1794-1982 (Japan - Vietnam) & (Foreign Regions)8.127-8.128: Natural Features, 1834-1980Ephemera
Series 9: Domestic and Community Life:
Dates -- 1827-1986; undated
Contents -- Series 9: Domestic and Community Life documents family, love, marriage, home, and social organizations. It does not include Health or Business items, which are included in separate series. Certain issues, such as women's rights, are in Series 2: Politics and Political Movements. 9.1: Adult Family Members, 1836-1985; undated9.2: Children, 1855-1971; undated9.3: Dolls, Stories, Toys, 1860-1984; undated9.4: Songs About and Images of Men and Women, 1828-1972; undated9.5: Home, Neighborhood, and Immigrants/Refugees, 1830-1980; undated9.6: Love, 1827-1982; undated9.7: Marriage, 1829-1976; undated9.8: Friendship and Social Organizations, 1838-1982; undated9.9: Age, Death, and Dying, 1834-1951; undated9.10: Domestic Art and Clothing, 1843-1978; undated9.11:Albums, Lockets, and Memories, 1857-1952; undatedEphemera
Series 10: Sacred Music and Religious Themes:
Dates -- 1822-1986, undated
Contents -- Series 10: Sacred Music and Religious Themes contains approximately 4,000 pieces of sheet music, much of which is traditional Christian music, but also documents popular attitudes towards religion in the United States. Note that the Christmas and Easter subseries include their secular aspects. 10.1, Adam, Eve, and Eden, 1882-197110.2, Angels, 1849-1961, undated10.3, Bells and Chimes, 1848-1956, undated10.4, Biblical Characters and Stories, 1876-1986, undated10.5, Cathedral, Chapel, Church, 1866-1966, undated10.6, Choir, 1880-193710.7, Christmas, 1828-1984, undated10.8, Devil and Satan, 1865-1979, undated10.9, Easter, 1872-1975, undated10.10, Evolution, 1925-196310.11, Heaven, 1866-1975, undated10.12, Inspirational Singers, 1868-197710.13, Madonna, The Virgin Mary, 1855-1953, undated10.14, Miracles, 1929-195910.15, Mormons, 1895-1933, undated10.16, Paradise, 1900-1925, undated10.17, Pilgrim, 1868-1938, undated10.18, Psalms, 1884-1980, undated10.19, Quakers, 1899-1940, undated10.20, Rosary, 1897-195310.21, General Sacred Songs, 1822-1982, undatedEphemera, 1899-1986
Series 11: Entertainment:
Dates -- 1841-1984, undated
Contents -- Series 11: Entertainment contains more than 12,500 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards entertainers and entertainment in the United States. Note that movies and some musical entertainment are also covered in Series 6, Moving Pictures and Movie Stars, and in Series 16, Country, Western, and Folk Music. Blind musicians and performers are in Series 17. 11.1: Early Troupes & Bandmasters, 1841-1944, undated11.2: Dance Bands and Orchestras, 1905-1964, undated11.3: Novelty Bands, 1901-195211.4: Male Singers (Individual), 1846-198111.5: Female Singers (Individual), 1845-197111.6: Duos and Groups (Male and Mixed), 1903-198111.7: Female Duos and Groups, 1896-196611.8: Child Entertainers, 1852-1927, undated11.9: Impersonators, 1904-198211.10: Actors and Comedians, 1853-198211.11: Theater, 1873-1973, undated11.12: Juke Box, Nickelodeon, 1923-198111.13: Phonograph, Records, Tapes, 1878-197111.14: Radio, Transistor, Wireless, 1898-198411.15: Television, 1931-198711.16: Circus, Fair, Zoo
Series 12: Plants and Animals:
Dates -- 1831-1984, undated
Contents -- Series 12: Plants and Animals contains approximately 4,000 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards plants and animals in the United States. 12.1, Trees, 1833-1969, undated12.2, Plants and Flowers, 1840-1979, undated12.3, Animals, 1831-1984, undated12.4, Fish, Mermaids, and Aquatic Species, 1832-1978, undated12.5, Birds, 1834-1976, undated12.6, Insects and Spiders, 1853-1968, undated
Series 13: Agriculture, Business, and Law:
Dates -- 1827-1985, undated
Contents -- Series 13, Agriculture, Business, and Law contains approximately 3,300 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards business, commerce, farming and food, finances, labor, law, and social order in the United States. The series comprises nine cubic feet, plus two boxes of ephemera. 13.1, Business and Jobs, 1927-1982, undated13.2, Farming, Food, and Tobacco, 1836-1986, undated13.3, Finances and Valuables, 1841-1982, undated13.4, Law and Social Order, 1858-1972, undated13.5, Public Services and Utilities, 1836-1984, undatedEphemera, 1901-1987, undated
Series 14: Calendar, Time, and Weather:
Dates -- 1811-1980, undated
Contents -- Series 14, Calendar, Time, and Weather contains approximately 1,800 pieces of sheet music, documenting attitudes toward and consequences of natural events. The four seasons comprise the larger part. 14.1, Years, 1880-1945, undated14.2, Seasons, 1850-1978, undated14.3, Months, 1855-1978, undated14.4, Days of the Week, 1853-196514.5, Clocks and Time, 1844-1967, undated14.6, Weather, 1911-1980, undatedEphemera, 1952-1982, undated
Series 15: Holidays and Celebrations:
Dates -- 1847-1982, undated
Contents -- Series 15, Holidays and Celebrations contains approximately 500 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards holidays, celebrations, and travel in the United States. Note that Christmas items are in Series 10, Sacred Music and Religious Themes, subseries 7. 15.1, Holiday, Travel, Vacation, 1866-198215.2, Carnival, 1847-1937, undated15.3, Mardi Gras, 1892-1958, undated15.4, Masquerade, 1900-1973, undated.15.5, Halloween, 1853-1962, undated.15.6, Thanksgiving, 1853-1974, undated.15.7, New Year, 1852-1970, undated15.8, Park, 1869-1969, undated15.9, Picnic, 1854-1964, undated15.10, Rolling Chairs, 1905-1923, undatedEphemera
Series 16: Country, Western, and Folk Music:
Dates -- 1839-1986, undated
Contents -- Series 16: Country, Western, and Folk Music, contains approximately 11,500 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards country, western, and folk music in the United States. The dates always refer to copyright of the music and not to the subject on the cover, songwriter's life, or other events. There are 78 boxes of sheet music and 16 boxes of ephemera. 16.1, Individual Male Entertainers, 1911-1983, undated16.2, Individual Female Entertainers, 1902-1986, undated16.3, Duos and Groups, 1910-1981, undated16.4, The West, 1939-198416.5, Barn Dance, Fiddle Tunes, and "Turkey in the Straw," 1878-197516.6, Blues, Feuding, Hillbilly, Honky Tonk, and Yodeling, 1885-1975, undated16.7, Miscellaneous Songs, 1913-198316.8, Folios, 1914-1969Ephemera --subseries 1-7 and subseries 9-10
Series 17: The Human Condition--Physical, Mental, Behavioral:
Dates -- 1833-1987
Contents -- Series 17, The Human Condition--Physical, Mental, Behavioral contains approximately 1,000 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards the human condition in the United States. 17.1, Physical Health, 1833-1982, undated17.2, Happiness, 1845-1978, undated17.3, Crazy, Foolish, 1904-1973, undated17.4, Rubes, 1888-1938Ephemera
Series 18: Dance:
Dates -- 1812-1978, undated
Contents -- Series 18, Dance contains approximately 3,330 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards dance in the United States. 18.1, General Songs about Dance, 1882-1967, undated18.2, Ballroom Dancers and Dance Institute, 1840-1951, undated18.3, Charleston, 1923-196418.4, Fox Trot, 1913-193218.5, Galop, 1842-1924, undated18.6, Gavotte, 1874-1978, undated18.7, Jigs and Reels, 1891-1951, undated18.8, Lancers, 1857-1903, undated18.9, Maxixe, 1913-1914, undated18.10, Mazurka, 1854-1940, undated18.11, Minuet, 1875-1968, undated18.12, One Step, 1910-192118.13, Polka, 1845-1975, undated18.14, Quadrilles, 1831-1883, undated18.15, Redowa, 1853-1908, undated18.16, Schottische, 1850-1944, undated18.17, Skirt Dance, 1891-1893, undated18.18, Square Dance, 1926-196418.19, Tango, 1909-195218.20, Three Step, 1903-191318.21, Two Step, 1894-192518.22, Varsova, 1851-1917, undated18.23, Waltz, 1812-1968, undated18.24, Folios, 1888-1953, undatedEphemera
Series 19: Art and Literature:
Dates -- 1830-1977, undated
Contents -- Series 19, Art and Literature contains approximately 860 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting popular attitudes towards art and literature in the United States. 19.1, Art and Artists, 1839-1977, undated19.2, Cover Artists and Early Lithograph Covers, 1830-1931, undated19.3, Photography, 1848-196619.4, Carving and Whittling, 1906-194719.5, Books, Diary, and Stories, 1849-198319.6, Poets and Poetry, 1836-1969, undated Ephemera Index
Series 20: Newspapers:
Dates -- 1844-1968, undated
Contents -- Series 20, Newspapers, 1844-1968, contains materials documenting the business of and popular attitudes towards newspapers in the United States. 20.1, Songs about Advertising, the News and the Press20.2, Songs published by Newspapers or about serialized stories20.3, Songs about Newsboys and Newsgirls20.4, Cartoons, Cartoonists, and Comics20.5, Newspaper and Magazine SupplementsEphemera
Series 21: Musical Instruments:
Dates -- 1824-1981 and undated
Contents -- Series 21, Musical Instruments, 1824-1981, undated, contains approximately 4,900 pieces of sheet music and other materials documenting the development of and popular attitudes towards the playing of music in the United States. Numerous teaching manuals are included.21.1, Accordion, 1902-1964, undated21.2, Banjo, 1853-1975, undated21.3, Cello, 1891-1935, undated21.4, Clarinet, 1905-1958, undated21.5, Concertina, 1905-1941, undated21.6, Cornet, 1848-1924, undated21.7, Double Bass, 1939-195521.8, Drums, 1867-1971, undated21.9, Fiddle, 1893-1981, undated21.10, Flute, 1847-1936, undated21.11, Guitar, 1824-1977, undated21.12, Harmonica, 1904-1974, undated21.13, Harp, 1866-1976, undated21.14, Hurdy Gurdy, 1899-196921.15, Mandolin, 1843-1954, undated21.16, Music Boxes, 1848-1979, undated21.17, Organ, 1856-1973, undated21.18, Saxophone, 1907-195321.19, Tambourine, 1854-196021.20, Trombone, 1906-195721.21, Trumpet, 1904-1945, undated21.22, Ukulele, 1915-1964, undated21.23, Violin, 1843-1957, undated21.24, Zither, 1970-1951, undated21.25, Various Instruments, 1835-1968, undatedEphemera
Series 22: American Indian:
Contents -- Series 22: American Indian
Dates -- 1899-1975
Series 23: Universe:
Contents -- Series 23: Universe
Dates -- 1842-1970
Series 24: Education:
Contents -- Series 24: Education
Dates -- 1834-1964
Series 25: Vocal:
Contents -- Series 25: Vocal
Series 26: General Sheet Music:
Contents -- Series 26: General Sheet Music
Series 27: Gypsies:
Contents -- Series 27: Gypsies
Series 28: Opera:
Contents -- Series 28: Opera
Series 29: Piano:
Contents -- Series 29: Piano
Series 30: Marches and Quicksteps:
Contents -- Series 30: Marches and Quicksteps
Series 31: Dialects:
Contents -- Series 31: Dialects
Series 32: Christopher Columbus:
Contents -- Series 32: Christopher Columbus
Series 33: Reveries:
Contents -- Series 33: Reveries
Series 34: Indiana Publishers:
Contents -- Series 34: Indiana Publishers
Series 35: Sam DeVincent Personal Papers:
Contents -- Series 35: Sam DeVincent Personal Papers
Series 36: Folios and Songbooks:
Contents -- Series 36: Folios and Songbooks
Series 37: Other Materials:
Contents -- Series 37: Other Materials
Dates -- 1853-1976
Additional Topical Series:
An updated list of DeVincent topical series is available via the Smithsonian finding aid portal.
The collection is arranged into topical series.
Sam DeVincent was born January 8, 1918 and lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana for most of his life. DeVincent collected sheet music and related materials during most of his lifetime. His interest included both the music and the cover art. Because he had little money to support his collecting, DeVincent gathered most of his material through careful searches and travel.
DeVincent and his wife used much of the music he collected in their musical group "Nancy Lee and the Hilltoppers." The group performed regularly on radio station WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana, from 1945 to 1955. After 1955 (and the emergence of rock and roll), "Nancy Lee and the Hilltoppers" played only once a week on the radio station. At this time, Mr. DeVincent worked as an all-night disc jockey at WOWO. In 1960 he became music director and music librarian at the station. His position as music librarian helped him to add to his collection, especially the phonograph recordings (many promotional copies are included).
DeVincent retired from WOWO in 1983. He and his wife continued to perform publicly including a weekly radio show on WOWO. The National Museum of American History acquired the DeVincent collection in the spring of 1988. Sam DeVincent passed away November 29, 1997.
Materials in Other Organizations:
Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
The Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music contains approximately 24,000 pieces of sheet music, songbooks, and folios. DeVincent arranged his collection into categories based on either personal names of musicians or performers or on subjects he defined that were as diverse as the American Red Cross and Halloween. The Lilly Library has maintained this arrangement.
All the sheet music in the DeVincent collection is listed in the IN Harmony: Sheet Music from Indiana: Lilly Library web site. Digitized images are available for some items.
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History:
Donald J. Stubblebine Collection of Musical Theater and Motion Picture Sheet Music and Reference Material, 1843-2010 (AC1211)
This collection was purchased by the Smithsonian Institution in 1988 from Sam and Nancy Lee DeVincent.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Original song text, music, drawings, correspondence, and other writings by Woody Guthrie; news clippings, articles, correspondence, and business records related to Woody Guthrie. Date span: 1927-1985. Bulk dates: Guthrie song text, writings, and drawings, 1940-1948; correspondence by and to Woody Guthrie, 1944-1951; correspondence regarding Woody Guthrie, 1956-1977.
Arranged in boxes and map files by type of material. The major groupings are song texts, drawings, correspondence, and clippings.
Woodrow (Woody) Wilson Guthrie (1912-1967) was one of the most important folk composers in American history. Born in Okemah, Oklahoma, Guthrie's name is associated with the common people and those displaced by the Great Dust Storms of the 1930's. He was a prolific songwriter, and his song "This Land is Your Land" is considered by many to be his best known. During the height of his short recording career Guthrie recorded with many of the best-known folk singers and players in the New York area. A one time member of the Almanac Singers with Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Bess Hawes and others, Woody also frequently performed with Lead Belly, Burl Ives, Cisco Houston and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. Guthrie's earliest recordings were done for RCA and came out as a set entitled Dust Bowl Ballads, later reissued by Folkways.
It was Guthrie's association with Moses Asch of Folkways Records which yielded the bulk of Guthrie's recorded legacy. Guthrie was given a stipend by Asch to come by the studio when he felt like recording. A one day session in March 1944, yielded 75 recorded songs alone. His songs were recorded on glass discs which now reside in the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections. Much of this material was released by Asch on various Asch, Disc and Folkways recordings, including his classic children's material.
Although known for his music, Guthrie was also an artist. Among the materials that came with the Folkways Records Collection are watercolors and pen and ink drawings. He also was a writer of note, his most famous work being the novel "Bound for Glory". Historians have begun to consider Guthrie an important literary figure of the 20th century. The Woody Guthrie Papers, including typed song lyrics, correspondence, drawings, newspaper clippings, and miscellaneous items, were left with Moses Asch, and came to the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections as part of the Moses and Frances Asch Collection. Guthrie died of Huntington's Chorea in 1967 after a long hospitalization.
This collection is part of the Moses and Frances Asch Collection.
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at 202-633-7322 for additional information.
Restrictions may apply concerning the use, duplication, or publication of items in these collections. Rights to the materials created by Woody Guthrie are held by the Guthrie family. Further information is available from Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives, 250 West 57th Street, Suite 1218, New York, NY 10107, tel. 212-541-6230, email email@example.com. Please consult the archivists if you have additional questions about the Guthrie materials and their use.