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Moses and Frances Asch Collection

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

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

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

Series 1: Correspondence, 1942-1987

Series 2: Folkways Production, 1946-1987

Series 3: Business Records, 1940-1987

Series 4: Woody Guthrie papers, 1927-1985

Series 5: Early Label Materials, 1940-1949

Series 6: Biographical Materials, 1926-1987

Series 7: Photographs

Series 8: Artwork

Series 9: Audio Recordings

Series 10: Film

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

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

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

Asch's output of recordings on various labels, including published recordings, open reel master tapes, outtakes, and acetate disks, in addition to his business papers, correspondence, photographs, and other files were acquired by the Smithsonian Institution in 1987. The collection came to the Smithsonian with the understanding that all 2168 titles under the Folkways label would be kept available in perpetuity.
Provenance:
Ralph Rinzler arranged the Smithsonian's acquisition of the Moses and Frances Asch Collection in 1987, beginning with Asch before his death in 1986 and continuing with extensive discussions between Rinzler and the Asch family. Since its acquisition, archivist Jeff Place and others have added contemporary, relevant correspondence with Folkways artists and related individuals.
Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Topic:
Folk music  Search this
Folk dance music  Search this
Electronic music  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Music -- 20th century  Search this
Music -- 19th century  Search this
Music -- 18th century  Search this
Jazz  Search this
Folk music -- United States  Search this
World music  Search this
Sounds  Search this
Vocal music  Search this
Popular music -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Genre/Form:
Business records
Correspondence
Phonograph records
Photographic prints
Audiotapes
Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
CFCH.ASCH
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/bk533b8a927-559a-44ac-98d2-f32d871058b4
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-cfch-asch
Online Media:

James Joyce's Ulysses Lestrygonians

Author:
Joyce, James, 1882-1941  Search this
Performer:
Bowen, Zack R.  Search this
Producer:
Bowen, Zack R.  Search this
Director:
Bowen, Zack R.  Search this
Creator:
Rosenhouse, Irwin (cover illustrator)  Search this
Names:
Joyce, James, 1882-1941 -- Adaptations  Search this
Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Extent:
2 Phonograph records (analog, 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.)
Culture:
Irish  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Phonograph records
Date:
1961
Contents:
Includes parts 1-4.
Scope and Contents:
"A dramatic reading with the original music performed by students and faculty of The State University College of Education (Fredonia, N.Y.) produced and directed by Zack R. Bowen." -- text from label and notes.
Track Information:
101. Part I.

201. Part II.

301. Part III.

401. Part IV.
Local Numbers:
FW-ASCH-LP-09562

Folkways.9562
Publication, Distribution, Etc. (Imprint):
New York : Folkways, 1961.
Participant or Performer Note:
Performed by students and faculty of the State University College of Education, Fredonia, N.Y., produced and directed by Zack R. Bowen.
General:
Cover illustration by Irwin Rosenhouse.

Biographical notes and text of the recording (8 p.) laid in container.

"Recorded under a grant from the State University of New York Research Foundation" -- text from label.
Related Materials:
Related materials may be found in the Moses and Frances Asch Collection, also held by this repository. Related materials may include correspondence between the studio, producers, and/or performers; original cover art designs; original production materials; business records; and audiotapes from studio production.
Restrictions:
Restrictions on access. No duplication allowed listening and viewing for research purposes only, Not Available..
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Topic:
Spoken word  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Prose literature  Search this
Genre/Form:
Phonograph records
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
CFCH.ASCH, Item FW-ASCH-LP-09562
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 9: Audio Recordings / LP
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/bk564c47cc7-7932-455e-a529-6ba94ed6ebaa
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref24620

James Joyce's Ulysses Sirens

Author:
Joyce, James, 1882-1941  Search this
Commentator:
Bowen, Zack R.  Search this
Director:
Bowen, Zack R.  Search this
Brownstein, Oscar  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald, 1925-2006  Search this
Names:
Joyce, James, 1882-1941 -- Adaptations  Search this
Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Extent:
2 Phonograph records (analog, 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.)
Culture:
Irish  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Phonograph records
Date:
1965
Contents:
"Sirens," a chapter from Joyce's Ulysses, in four parts.
Track Information:
101 Part One.

201 Part Two.

301 Part Three.

401 Part Four.
Local Numbers:
FW-ASCH-LP-09563

Folkways.9563
Publication, Distribution, Etc. (Imprint):
New York : Folkways, 1965.
General:
Cover design by Ronald Clyne.

Biographical notes and text of the recording (6 p.) laid in container.

"A dramatic reading produced by Zack Bowen directed by Zack Bowen and Oscar Brownstein (Recorded under a grant from the State University of New York Research Foundation)" -- text from notes.
Related Materials:
Related materials may be found in the Moses and Frances Asch Collection, also held by this repository. Related materials may include correspondence between the studio, producers, and/or performers; original cover art designs; original production materials; business records; and audiotapes from studio production.
Restrictions:
Restrictions on access. No duplication allowed. Listening and viewing for research purposes only.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Topic:
Spoken word  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Prose literature  Search this
Genre/Form:
Phonograph records
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
CFCH.ASCH, Item FW-ASCH-LP-09563
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 9: Audio Recordings / LP
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/bk5a93b4e22-5e25-4314-b745-43c293cf52db
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref24621

James Joyce's Ulysses

Author:
Joyce, James, 1882-1941  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald, 1925-2006  Search this
Director:
Bowen, Zack R.  Search this
Producer:
Bowen, Zack R.  Search this
Creator:
Dunn, J. Tyler, director.  Search this
Names:
Joyce, James, 1882-1941 -- Adaptations  Search this
Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Extent:
1 Phonograph record (analog, 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.)
Type:
Archival materials
Phonograph records
Date:
1964
Track Information:
101 Part One.

201 Part Two.
Local Numbers:
FW-ASCH-LP-09814

Folkways.9814
Publication, Distribution, Etc. (Imprint):
New York : Folkways, 1964.
General:
Notes by Zack Bowen with text of the selection (8 p.) inserted in container.

[Richard Alan Hughes.]

Cover design by Ronald Clyne.

"A dramatic reading produced by Zack R. Bowen ; Directed by Zack R. Bowen and J. Tyler Dunn." -- text from label.

"Pages 87 to 115 in 1961 Mod. Lib." -- text from label.
Related Materials:
Related materials may be found in the Moses and Frances Asch Collection, also held by this repository. Related materials may include correspondence between the studio, producers, and/or performers; original cover art designs; original production materials; and business records. Related materials include one open-reel audiotape from studio production (FW-ASCH-7RR-0832). Possibly related is audiocassette FP-CFP-CT-C-0937.
Restrictions:
Restrictions on access. No duplication allowed. Listening and viewing for research purposes only. Not Available.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Topic:
Spoken word  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Prose literature  Search this
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
CFCH.ASCH, Item FW-ASCH-LP-09814
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 9: Audio Recordings / LP
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/bk5d17b623b-0bb0-44ed-a4bb-bb900e2e8b05
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref24622

The Irish literary tradition by Frank O'Connor

Producer:
O'Connor, Frank, 1903-1966 (poet, reader)  Search this
Author:
Gregory, Lady, 1852-1932  Search this
Hyde, Douglas, 1860-1949  Search this
Joyce, James, 1882-1941  Search this
Synge, J. M. (John Millington), 1871-1909  Search this
Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald, 1925-2006  Search this
Collection Creator:
Asch, Moses  Search this
Distler, Marian, 1919-1964  Search this
Folkways Records  Search this
Extent:
1 Phonograph record (analog, 33 1/3 rpm, 12 in.)
Culture:
Irish  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Phonograph records
Place:
Ireland -- In literature
Ireland
Date:
1958
Track Information:
101. Introduction.

101. A Lovely Church ; The Scholar & the Cat / by Frank O'Connor.

102. My Grief on the Sea / by Douglas Hyde.

103. Twenty Golden Years Ago / by James Clarence Mangan.

104. On Baile's Strand / by W. B. Yeats.

105. Riders to the Sea / by J. M. Synge.

106. The Gaol Gate / by Lady Gregory.

201. Playboy of the Western World / by J. M. Synge.

202. A Prayer for My Daughter / by W. B. Yeats.

203. A Portrait of the Artist / by James Joyce.

204. Ulysses / by James Joyce.

205. Finnegans Wake / by James Joyce.
Local Numbers:
FW-COMM-LP-09825

Folkways.9825
Publication, Distribution, Etc. (Imprint):
New York : Folkways, 1958.
Participant or Performer Note:
Read by Frank O'Connor.
General:
Notes with text of recording and readings in booklet (8 p. : ill.) inserted in original container.

Cover design by Ronald Clyne.
Related Materials:
Related materials may be found in the Moses and Frances Asch Collection, also held by this repository. Related materials may include correspondence between the studio, producers, and/or performers; original cover art designs; original production materials; business records; and audiotapes from studio production.
Restrictions:
Restrictions on access. No duplication allowed. Listening and viewing for research purposes only. Need Permission.
Collection Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Topic:
English literature -- Irish authors  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Literature  Search this
English literature -- Irish authors -- History and criticism  Search this
Collection Citation:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
CFCH.ASCH, Item FW-COMM-LP-09825
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection
Moses and Frances Asch Collection / Series 9: Audio Recordings / LP
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/bk59bf95650-446a-4e66-9746-9da7da2ceeab
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-asch-ref24623

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