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
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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.
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.
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 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.
The Dale-Patterson family papers, which date from 1866 to 2010 and measure 6 linear feet, document the personal and professional lives of the Dale-Patterson family who came to live in Hillsdale, Anacostia, area of Washington, D.C., in 1892.
Scope and Contents note:
The Dale-Patterson family papers, which date from 1866 to 1990 and measure 6 linear feet, document the personal and professional lives of the Dale-Patterson family who came to live in Hillsdale, Anacostia, area of Washington, D.C., in 1892. The collection is comprised of correspondence, photographs, clippings, and ephemera.
The collection is arranged in four series:
Series 1: Dale-Patterson Family papers
Series 2: Charles Qualls papers
Series 3: Community Organizations
Series 4: Subject Files
The Dale family came to Washington, DC in 1886 when John Henry Dale, Sr., a gifted self-taught man, obtained a position as clerk in the newly contracted Pension Bureau building at 5th and G Streets, NW. First they lived near 13th Street and Florida Avenue, NW, then moved to Howard Road in Anacostia. Dale built a house at 2619 Nichols Avenue, now Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, drawing the plans and supervising the construction. The Dales and only one other family lived in this solidly built house for 100 years before it was sold to a church group and demolished.
Finding Aid Note: This finding aid is associated with a MARC collection-level record.361883
The Dale-Patterson Family collection was donated to the Anacostia Community Museum on April 07, 2013.
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Dale-Patterson Family collection is the physical property of the Anacostia Community Museum. Literary and copyright belong to the author/creator or their legal heirs and assigns. Rights to work produced during the normal course of Museum business resides with the Anacostia Community Museum. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archives.
This collection contains a variety of periodicals, photographs, correspondence, business and advertising ephemera (corporate and non-profit, personal), organizational records and ephemera, created by, for, and in reaction to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community.
Scope and Contents:
The Archives Center Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Collection contains periodicals, ephemera, posters, postcards, advertisements, photographs, organizational records, publications, correspondence, and other materials related to all aspects of the LGBT community and the civil rights issues pertaining thereto. The collection was created by the Archives Center to bring together materials specifically pertaining to the LGBT community. This collection contains material from communities and individuals throughout the United States. The collection is currently strongest in periodicals, newspapers and ephemera and very strong in material from California and New York. The collection continues to add new items and the researcher would be wise to take a broad view in targeting their research topics in the collection.
The collection is divided into twenty-five series.
Series 1: Periodicals, 1937-2021
Series 2: Agencies, Associations, and Organizations, 1965-2023, undated
Series 3: Community Life and Subject Files, 1825-2022, undated
Subseries 3.1: Photographs and Slides, 1870-2009, undated
Subseries 3.2: Ephemera and Buttons, 1969-2022, undated
Subseries 3.3: Posters and Prints, 1825-2018, undated
Subseries 3.4: Subject Files, 1958-2019, undated
Subseries 3.5: Pride, 1976-2022, undated
Subseries 3.6: HIV and AIDS, 1987-2020, undated
Subseries 3.7: Gay Games, 1982-2018
Series 4: Advertising, Business, and Publications, 1970-2021, undated
Subseries 4.1: Advertising, 1970-2018, undated
Subseries 4.2: Business, 1986-2021, undated
Subseries 4.3: Television, Theater, and Motion Pictures, 1978-2022, undated
Subseries 4.4: Bar ephemera and advertisement, 1979-2018, undated
Subseries 4.5: Publications, 1976-2019, undated
Series 5: Biren, Joan E. (JEB), 195-2018, undated
Subseries 5.1: Xerographic Copies of Photoprints, 1971-1995, undated.
Subseries 5.2: Posters and Oversize Advertisement, 1973-2018, undated
Series 6: Dietrich, Joseph A., 1992-2010
Series 7: Mattachine Society Records, 1942-1996, undated
Subseries 7.1: Correspondence, 1952-1991, undated
Subseries 7.2: Board of Directors Minutes, 1954-1974, undated
Subseries 7.4: Councils, Chapters, and Committees, 1953-1965, undated
Subseries 7.5: Conventions, 1953-1960, undated
Subseries 7.6: Publications, 1944-1996, undated
Series 8: Rainbow History Community Pioneers, 2003-2012, undated
Series 9: Strub, Sean O., addendum, 1987-2011, undated
Series 10: Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore (GLCCB, 1990-2014, undated
Series 11: Ros, Silvia, 2009-2011
Series 12: Huebner, David, 2009-2014
Series 13: St. George, Philip, 1945-1955, undated
Series 14: Will & Grace, 1995-2006
Series 15: Barna, Joseph T. and Heritage of Pride (HOP), New York, New York, 1910-2014, undated
Subseries 15.1: Photographs, Photographic Negatives, and Slides, 1985-2010, undated
Subseries 15.2: Heritage of Pride (HOP), 1984-2014, undated
Subseries 15.3: Barna, Joseph T., 1910-2013, undated,
Series 16: Becker, John M., 1999-2014, undated
Series 17: Rohrbaugh, Richard, 1972-1986, undated
Series 18: Guest, Michael E., 2001-2009
Series 19: The Fosters, 2013
Series 20: Pride at Work, 1990-2015
Series 21: Sabatino, Michael and Voorheis, Robert, 1980-2016, undated
Subseries 21.1: Archilla, Gustavo A. and Lokkins, Elmer T., 1916-2014, undated
Series 22: Gay Officers Action League (GOAL), 1982-2016, undated
Series 23: Brown, Adele "Del" and Herizon's Bar, 1985-1991, undated
Subseries 1: Changing Herizons, and Herizons Newsletter, 1983-1991
Series 24: Universal Fellowship Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC), 1957-2019, undated
Series 25: The Christmas House, Crown Media Family Networks, 2020-2021
While the quest for equal rights has been pursued by generations, it is generally acknowledged that the modern day Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) civil rights movement began in New York City in June 1969 with the Stonewall Riots. Prior to this time a number of activists, individuals, and organizations such as The Mattachine Society, Daughters of Bilitis and others, fought to bring recognition of LGBT civil rights to the forefront of American society. While the movement was primarily, and most visably, centered in New York City and San Francisco, periodicals, guide books, and ephemeral material interconnected the larger LGBT community throughout the United States. The increased visibility of the LGBT movement inspired affinity groups at odds with the LGBT community's new found visibility and quest for broader civil rights. The challenge to what was termed "traditional" values encouraged these counter-LGBT groups to define and solidfy their constituency and also become more pro-active. This collection comprises material that is generated by individuals and organizations promoting both points of view.
Materials in the Archives Center
Michio and Aveline Kushi Macro-Biotics Collection (AC0619)
The Shamrock Bar: Photographs and Interviews (AC0857)
Archives Center Wedding Documentation Collection (AC1131 )
Division of Science, Medicine, and Society HIV/AIDS Reference Collection (AC1134)
John-Manuel Andriote Hot Stuff: A Brief History of Disco Collection (AC1184)
Joan E. Biren (JEB) Queer Film Museum Collection (AC1216)
World AIDS Institute (WAI) Collection (AC1266)
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Records (AC1282)
Helping Persons with AIDS (HPA) Records (AC1283)
DC Cowboys Dance Company Records (AC1312)
Bil Browning and Jerame Davis Papers (AC1334)
David Hadley Rockwell New York Disco Ephemera Collection (AC1342)
Leonard P. Hirsch Federal Globe Records (AC1357)
Corbett Reynolds Papers (AC1390)
Mark Segal Papers (AC1422)
The Mattachine Society of Washington "Love in Action" Collection (AC1428)
Academy of Washington Records (AC1458)
Matthew Shepard Papers (AC1463)
I'm From Driftwood Records (AC1503)
The Division of Political History holds artifacts related to gay activist Franklin Kameny and a variety of political buttons. They also hold LGBT related artifacts from Joan E. Biren (JEB).
The Division of Medical and Science holds objects donated from Dr. Renee Richards, Sean O. Strub, and Leonard Hirsch.
The Division of Entertainment and the Arts holds objects donated by The Fosters, Will & Grace, and The Christmas House.
This collection was assembled by the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian, beginning in 2004.
The collection is open for research use.
Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves. Researchers must use reference copies of audio-visual materials. When no reference copy exists, the Archives Center staff will produce reference copies on an "as needed" basis, as resources allow.
Do not use original materials when available on reference video or audio tapes.
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.