The collection consists of 8,515 color slides taken by Dr. Marilyn Houlberg during various field studies among the Yoruba in southwest Nigeria between 1961 and circa 2007. The images depict Yoruba art and culture with a special focus on artisans, art objects, body arts, costume, festivals, hairstyles, indigenous photography, weaving and textiles. Cultural events depicted include Balufon festivals, Egungun and Gelede masquerades, social events (weddings, christenings, funerals), and religious ceremonies (initiation and animal sacrifice). Also included are various scenes of daily life, architecture, food preparation, markets, portraits and landscapes. Houlberg extensively documented Yoruba artists in the process of creating their art, including carvers Yesufu Ejigboye, Runshewe, and Lamidi Fakeye, as well as the final pieces themselves. Houlberg documentated art in situ, such as Yoruba house posts, shrines, wall art and wood doors and art objects, including Gelede masks, Ibeji (twin) and Eshu figures, Osanyin staffs, and Ogboni and Shango shrines. Manuscript and printed materials, including Houlberg's resume, thesis, and numerous published articles are also available in this collection.
Scope and Contents note:
This 6,567 slide collection documents Houlberg's studies in Southwestern Nigeria spanning from 1961 to circa 2005. In 2015, Houlberg donated an additional 1,948 color slides to the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives. These slides have been added to the EEPA 2005-002 finding aid, bringing the total to 8,515 slides.
The collection primarily includes photos of people, including the Ogboni, Pokot, Yoruba, Turkana and Igbo, shrines, festivals and rituals, art objects, and artists. A particular strength of the collection are photos of Balufon festivals, Egungun and Gelede masquerades, social events (weddings, christenings, funerals), and religious ceremonies (initiation and animal sacrifice). Also included are various scenes of daily life, architecture, food preparation, markets, portraits and landscapes. Houlberg mostly photographed in Ilishan, Ikenne, Ilara, Shagamu, Lagos, Ijebu-Ode, and Egbe.
Houlberg extensively documented Yoruba artists in the process of creating their art, including carvers Yesufu Ejigboye, Runshewe, and Lamidi Fakeye, as well as the final pieces themselves. Houlberg documentated art in situ, such as Yoruba house posts, shrines, wall art, wood doors and art objects, including Gelede masks, Ibeji (twin) and Eshu figures, Osanyin staffs, and Ogboni and Shango shrines. Several Yoruba art forms, including photography, scarification tattoos, and textiles (both cloth and dress), are represented in the collection. Additionally, there are numerous slides of Yoruba hairstyles, many of which she published in her article, Social Hair: Tradition and Change in Yoruba Hairstyles in Southwestern Nigeria.
Yoruba ritual specialists, such as Ife-olu Solaru, Olufunke, and Yesufu Ejigboye, appear frequently throughout the collection. Houlberg documented her many stays with these individuals over the years.
There is also one binder of manuscript and printed materials, including Houlberg's resume, thesis, and numerous published articles.
The collection is organized into 29 series according to subject. The series descriptions correspond with particular subjects used in Houlberg's teaching and lectures, and based on donor's notes. All slides were kept in the order in which they were donated.
Series 1: African Hairstyles, circa 1973-1994 (Binder 1; 212 slides)
Series 2: Egungun Festival, 1961-circa 1988 (Binder 1; 362 slides)
Series 3: Gelede, circa 1969-circa 1989 (Binder 2; 301 slides)
Series 4: Ibeji Twins, circa 1969-circa 1990 (Binders 2-3; 854 slides)
Series 5: Ogboni Art Objects and Shrines, circa 1969-circa 1982 (Binder 4; 92 slides)
Series 6: Art Objects Depicting Ogun, circa 1969-circa 1983 (Binder 4; 56 slides)
Series 7: Olojufoforo Art and Festivities, circa 1968-circa 1975 (Binder 4; 21 slides)
Series 8: Yoruba People, Architecture, and Art, circa 1969-circa 1985 (Binder 4; 260 slides)
Series 9: Carving, Art Objects and Artists, and Scenes of Daily Life, circa 1973-circa 1988 (Binder 4; 201 slides)
Series 10: Yoruba Art, circa 1971-circa 1983 (Binder 5; 49 slides)
Series 11: Yoruba Textiles, circa 1973-circa 1983 (Binder 5; 84 slides)
Series 12: Yoruba, Miscellaneous, circa 1967-circa 1989 (Binder 5; 251 slides)
Series 13: African Art, Textiles People, and Dwellings, circa 1963-circa 1983 (Binder 6; 58 slides)
Series 14: Ibo Mbari and Igbo Peoples and Artwork, circa 1967-circa 1985 (Binder 6; 212 slides)
Series 15: Art and Ceremonies, circa 1967-circa 1991 (Binder 6; 493 slides)
Series 16: Body Arts, Nuba People (Sudan) and Fulani and Bororo People (Niger), circa 1973-circa 1979 (Binder 7; 64 slides)
Series 17: People, Scenic Views and Animals of Kenya, Sudan, Angola, and Ghana, circa 1972-circa 1985 (Binder 7; 168 slides)
Series 18: Peoples and Arts of Ghana, Mali, and the Ivory Coast, circa 1966-circa 1992 (Binder 7; 406 slides)
Series 19: Published Maps and Photos, circa 1968-circa 1985 (Binder 8; 70 slides)
Series 20: Nigerian Masks and Art Objects, circa 1967-circa 1978 (Binder 8; 396 slides)
Series 21: Yoruba Festivals, People, and Art in Nigeria, circa 1967-circa 1988 (Binders 8-9; 128 slides)
Series 22: Yoruba Photography and Textiles, circa 1975-circa 1983 (Binder 9; 54 slides)
Series 23: Ife-Olu, Ilishan, circa 1980-circa 1988 (Binder 9; 87 slides)
Series 24: Yoruba Festivals, People, Hairstyles, Ibeji Objects, Eshu Figures, and Oya and Orishala Priests, Priestesses, and Shrines, circa 1966-circa 1988 (Binder 9; 168 slides)
Series 25: Shango, circa 1970-circa 1983 (Binder 10, 162 slides)
Series 26: Ara Festival, 1975 (Binder 10; 174 slides)
Series 27: Ceremonies and Festivals, Portraits, Art and Ceremonial Objects, Domestic and Market Scenes, circa 1969-circa 2005 (Binders 10-11; 759 slides)
Series 28: Yoruba Art Objects, and Domestic, Work, and Festival Scenes, circa 1971-circa 1983 (Binder 11; 104 slides)
Series 29: Manuscript and Printed Materials, 1973-circa 2005 (Binder 12)
Artist, anthropologist, and art historian Dr. Marilyn Hammersley Houlberg was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1939. Houlberg received an Associate of Arts degree from Wright Junior College (1959) and a BFA from the University of Chicago (1963). After graduating, she traveled to North Africa and explored Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. In 1964, Houlberg researched Haitian art, religion, and indigenous photography in Haiti and in 1965 was awarded a scholarship for graduate study from the University of Chicago. There she completed her MAT in Art History in 1967. Following graduation, Houlberg worked at the Nigerian Museum in Lagos, where she documented Yoruba sculpture, masquerades, religion, body art, and indigenous photography.
She began her teaching career at the University of Chicago as a lecturer on African art and African civilization, working there from 1971 to 1973. At the University of London, Houlberg earned a Masters in Anthropology, producing the thesis Yoruba Twin Sculpture and Ritual (1973). She also extensively photographed her travels abroad in Yorubaland. Between 1974 and 1990, Houlberg taught at the University of Chicago, Columbia College, Kalamazoo College, and Northwestern University. From 1974 to 2008 she continued teaching at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, lecturing on Yoruba art and ritual in West Africa and the New World, and the art and ritual of Vodou in Haiti.
Houlberg has lectured worldwide at numerous museums and symposiums since 1972, including in Lagos, Nigeria; Jacmel, Haiti; Toronto, Canada; Salvador, Bahia, Brazil; and Cologne, Germany. Her essays have been published in several issues of African Arts. Some of Houlberg's significant publications include Arts of the Water Spirits of Haitian Vodou, in Sacred Waters: Arts for Mami Wata and Other Divinities in Africa and the Diaspora (2008) and Water Spirits of Haitian Vodou: Lasiren, Queen of Mermaids, in Mami-Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa and the African-Atlantic World (2008). The exhibition Mami-Wata at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art (2009) featured her photographs.
Marilyn Houlberg, 733 West 18th St., Chicago, IL 60616, Donation, 20050320, 2005-0002
Use of original records requires an appointment. Contact Archives staff for more details.
Permission to reproduce images from the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives must be obtained in advance. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
The Paredon Records audiorecordings consist of all 50 of the recordings released by Paredon, along with the master audiotapes. Many of the recordings have a file containing business records relating to their production. These business records include artist contracts, recording reports, various notes on records produced, photographs of artists, news articles both about and by Barbara Dane, Irwin Silber, and Paredon Records, correspondence by Barbara Dane, Irwin Silber and Paredon Records, and other miscellany. Many contracts are signed by both Paredon Records and the artist. Correspondence is primarily between business associates. A complete inventory of the business records is available.
Scope and Contents:
There are two main components of the Paredon Records audiorecordings: the master recordings and corresponding commercial records themselves and the paper files relating to these recordings.
Series 1: Papers is primarily made up of "production files"--files containing materials related to specific albums. These production files can include artist contracts, recording reports, photographs of artists, clippings, royalty statements, licenses, album cover proofs, and correspondence between Paredon Records and the recording artists. news articles both about and by Barbara Dane, Irwin Silber, and Paredon Records. Many contracts are signed by both Paredon Records and the artist. Also included in this series are articles by Barbara Dane and Irwin Silber, a transcript of Daniel Sheehy's oral history interview with Barbara Dane, as well as miscellaneous ephemera.
Series 2: Master Audiorecordings includes all Paredon master tapes. Their corresponding commercial recordings are not described in this finding aid.
Series 1: Papers (1970-2007, bulk 1970-1980)
Series 2: Master Audiorecordings (1969-1985, bulk 1970-1980)
Biographical / Historical:
Paredon Records was founded in 1969 in New York by Barbara Dane and Irwin Silber, and its first recordings were released in 1970. Paredon released four records at a time. Barbara Dane, a singer/songwriter herself, produced the albums and recruited the musicians, artists who worked on the covers, and volunteers who translated foreign language material and contributed stories for the record booklets. Irwin Silber, a writer and editor for The Guardian newspaper, assisted Dane in all aspects of production. Irwin worked on business aspects of the label, such as distribution, orders, and editing and printing the record supplemental materials. Dane and Silber traveled to almost all of the countries mentioned in these records, as part of their work as activists and personally knew the musicians and artists.
According to the interview with Barbara Dane, "Paredon" means "a big wall" in Spanish. Paredon represents "a wall of culture defending us [listeners] against this 'sleazy' culture that's out there on the other side of the wall." The mission of Paredon Records was to use music as a tool to spread culture: the stories and experiences of those involved in protest and revolution movements all over the world, in order to increase dialogue among similar movements and peoples. Dane and Silber hoped these records would promote social and political activism, and that the uplifting power of music would inspire people to be agents of social change. The records reflect the most important socialist or liberation movements in world politics as well as domestic issues in the United States of the late twentieth century.
The 50 Paredon record albums constitute a unique historical documentation of the political protest and revolutionary currents in the world over the course of three decades. 31 of the 50 albums come from national liberation movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America. These include music, song, poetry and speech from Angola, Argentina, Chile, China, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Palestine, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Uruguay, and Vietnam. Another five albums come out of the European oppositional political movements from; Greece, Italy, North Ireland and the United Kingdom. In all cases, the materials are performed and/or presented by the participants in these movements. A number of world renowned artists are among the performers, including Mikis Theodorakis (Greece), Marcel Khalife (Lebanon), Quilapayún (Chile) and Silvio Rodriguez (Cuba). Several important world political figures — Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Don Albizu Campos and Che Guevara — also appear on these records delivering seminal speeches. Not all of the political figures deliver their speeches, such as the Ho Chi Minh album, but were read by someone else. The other 14 record albums document political and social protest movements in the U.S. during this same period. The songs reflect currents in the civil rights, women's, and labor movements. Two albums document GI opposition to the Vietnam War. These recordings include a broad array of singers and songs associated with the political protest of the times. Albums by the band "The Men of No Property" and others were obtained clandestinely, as the movements often became dangerous. Smithsonian Folkways Director Daniel Sheehy interviewed Barbara Dane in 2007, the transcript of which is contained in the Supporting Materials folder in Series 1: Papers.
Shared Stewardship of Collections:
The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage acknowledges and respects the right of artists, performers, Folklife Festival participants, community-based scholars, and knowledge-keepers to collaboratively steward representations of themselves and their intangible cultural heritage in media produced, curated, and distributed by the Center. Making this collection accessible to the public is an ongoing process grounded in the Center's commitment to connecting living people and cultures to the materials this collection represents. To view the Center's full shared stewardship policy, which defines our protocols for addressing collections-related inquiries and concerns, please visit https://folklife.si.edu/archives#shared-stewardship.
The Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections acquired the Paredon Records audiorecordings in December, 1991, when Barbara Dane and Irwin Silber donated their record company papers to the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage agreed to keep the record titles available for purchase, and to accession and store the Paredon Records Collection in the archives.
Access to the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections is by appointment only. Visit our website for more information on scheduling a visit or making a digitization request. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies.