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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
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-cfch-asch
Online Media:

Anthology of 20th Century English Poetry (part 3) [sound recording] : authors reading their own poetry

Commentator:
Dunning, Stephen  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Performer:
Blackburn, Thomas 1916-1977  Search this
Causley, Charles  Search this
Heath-Stubbs, John  Search this
Enright, D.J.  Search this
Amis, Kingsley  Search this
Larkin, Philip  Search this
Davie, Donald  Search this
Scannell, Vernon  Search this
Wain, John  Search this
Jennings, Elizabeth 1926-2001  Search this
Gunn, Thom  Search this
Porter, Peter  Search this
Hughes, Ted  Search this
MacBeth, George  Search this
Lucie-Smith, Edward  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Culture:
British  Search this
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Place:
England
Date:
1967
20th century
Topic:
English poetry  Search this
Poetry  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9879
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233118

Contemporary English literature, vol. 1 [sound recording] : poetry of Robert Graves, Elizabeth Jennings, Edith Sitwell, C. Day Lewis / read by the poets

Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Performer:
Graves, Robert 1895-1985  Search this
Jennings, Elizabeth 1926-2001  Search this
Sitwell, Edith  Search this
Day Lewis, C. (Cecil) 1904-1972  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Culture:
British  Search this
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Place:
England
Date:
1962
20th century
Topic:
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
English poetry  Search this
Poetry  Search this
British Isles  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9888
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233125

Kenneth Patchen reads with jazz in Canada [sound recording] / with the Alan Neil Quartet

Performer:
Patchen, Kenneth 1911-1972  Search this
Boyle, Bill  Search this
Chambers, Lionel  Search this
Hillary, Dale  Search this
Alan Neil Quartet  Search this
Commentator:
Neil, Alan  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Poetry
Place:
Canada
Vancouver (British Columbia)
Date:
1959
Topic:
Poetry--Collections  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Jazz  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9718
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_231592

Decision for youth [sound recording] : integrating the study of memorable selections from literature / by Morris Schreiber

Performer:
Schreiber, Morris  Search this
House, Wallace  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Performers:
University Players  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Instructional materials
Date:
1964
Topic:
Literature  Search this
Prose literature  Search this
Poetry  Search this
Narration (Rhetoric)  Search this
Essays  Search this
Decision making  Search this
Literature--Self instruction  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9118
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_232979

Understanding and appreciation of poetry [sound recording] / prepared and narrated by Morris Schreiber

Performer:
Schreiber, Morris  Search this
House, Wallace  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Instructional materials
Date:
1960
Topic:
Poetry  Search this
Poetry--Self instruction  Search this
Literature--Self instruction  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9120
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_232981

Understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare [sound recording] : audio units in literature / by Morris Schreiber

Performer:
Schreiber, Morris  Search this
Director:
House, Wallace  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Subject:
Shakespeare, William 1564-1616 Criticism and interpretation  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Instructional materials
Date:
1966
Topic:
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Poetry  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9124
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_232985

Poetry in the round [sound recording] : a poetry workshop / narration and poems by George Abbe

Performer:
Abbe, George 1911-1989  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Instructional materials
Date:
1961
20th century
Topic:
American poetry  Search this
Poetry  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9164
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_232991

Evangeline [sound recording] : by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow / read by Harry Fleetwood

Title:
Evangeline : A Tale of Acadie by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Performer:
Fleetwood, Harry  Search this
Album cover design:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Subject:
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth 1807-1882  Search this
Physical description:
2 phonograph records : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Oral interpretations
Instructional materials
Date:
1958
Topic:
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Oral interpretation of fiction  Search this
Spoken word  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9502
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_232997

Medieval romance poetry [sound recording] : a survey of romance medieval literatures / by Dr. Mario Pei

Narrator:
Pei, Mario 1901-1978  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Physical description:
2 phonograph records : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Date:
1961
Topic:
Poetry, Medieval  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9578
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233001

Poems of Federico Garcia Lorca [sound recording] / read in Spanish by Dr. Jorge Juan Rodriquez

Performer:
Rodriguez, Jorge Juan  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Subject:
García Lorca, Federico 1898-1936 Readings  Search this
Physical description:
2 phonograph records : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Date:
1960
Topic:
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
FW09580
Folkways 9580
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233002
Online Media:

La chanson de Roland [sound recording]

Director:
Vienne, Lucie de 1902-1973  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Translator:
Sayers, Dorothy L (Dorothy Leigh) 1893-1957  Search this
Performers:
Proscenium studio  Search this
Physical description:
2 phonograph records : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Date:
1961
Topic:
Roland (Legendary character)  Search this
Romances  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
FW09587
Folkways 9587
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233003
Online Media:

Poémontages [sound recording] : petite anthologie de la poésie Francaise moderne / réalisé par Jacques-Henry Lévesque et Frederic Ramsey, Jr

Title:
One hundred years of French poetry : poemontage
Poemontages : petite anthologie de la poesie francaise moderne et les paques a New York
Performer:
Levesque, Jacques Henry  Search this
Artist:
Ramsey, Frederic 1915-1995  Search this
Cover designer:
Rosenhouse, Irwin  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Culture:
French  Search this
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Date:
1954
20th century
Topic:
Poetry  Search this
Poetry, Modern  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9595
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233004

Claire Luce - A Concert Reading [sound recording] : Woman - Wm. Shakespeare

Title:
Shakespeare's women : a concert reading / by Clair [sic] Luce
Woman : a concert reading / William Shakespeare
Performer:
Luce, Clare Boothe 1903-1987  Search this
Recordist:
Bouknecht, William L.  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Subject:
Shakespeare, William 1564-1616  Search this
Physical description:
2 phonograph records : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Instructional materials
Date:
1964
Topic:
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9650
FLP 71960
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233009

Jujus / Alchemy of the blues [sound recording] / Sarah Webster Fabio, poet, reading poems of Sarah Webster Fabio

Performer:
Fabio, Sarah Webster 1928-  Search this
Wallace, Wayne  Search this
Recording engineer:
Cohn, Fred F  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Culture:
African Americans  Search this
Americans  Search this
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Poetry
Date:
1976
Topic:
American poetry--African American authors  Search this
Poetry  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Jazz  Search this
Local number:
FW09714
Folkways 9714
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233021
Online Media:

Together / To the tune of Coltrane's "Equinox" [sound recording] / Sarah Webster Fabio, poet, reading poems of Sarah Webster Fabio

Performer:
Fabio, Sarah Webster 1928-  Search this
Wallace, Wayne  Search this
Griot:
Denianke, Leon Williams  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Subject:
Coltrane, John 1926-1967 Equinox Adaptations  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Culture:
African Americans  Search this
Americans  Search this
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Poetry
Date:
1977
Topic:
Poetry  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
American poetry--African American authors  Search this
Jazz  Search this
Local number:
FW09715
Folkways 9715
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233022
Online Media:

Kenneth Patchen reads his love poems [sound recording]

Reader:
Patchen, Kenneth 1911-1972  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Date:
1961
Topic:
Poetry  Search this
Love poetry, American  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
FW09719
Folkways 9719
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233024
Online Media:

Of poetry and power [sound recording] : poems occasioned by the presidency and by the death of John F. Kennedy / read by Irene Dailey and Martin Donegan

Reader:
Dailey, Irene  Search this
Donegan, Martin  Search this
Poet:
Ansen, Alan  Search this
Auden, W. H (Wystan Hugh) 1907-1973  Search this
Barker, Richard  Search this
Bergé, Carol 1928-2006  Search this
Berryman, John  Search this
Booth, Philip  Search this
Brooks, Gwendolyn 1917-2000  Search this
Burr, Gray  Search this
Butler, William H  Search this
Corso, Gregory  Search this
Cuomo, George  Search this
Eberhart, Richard 1904-2005  Search this
Arranger:
Glikes, Erwin A  Search this
Schwaber, Paul 1936-  Search this
Producer:
D'Arcy, Scotti  Search this
Commentator:
Schlesinger, Arthur M (Arthur Meier) 1917-2007  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Subject:
Kennedy, John F (John Fitzgerald) 1917-1963  Search this
Physical description:
2 phonograph records : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Poetry
Collections
Date:
1965
20th century
Topic:
Poetry  Search this
American poetry  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
FW09721
Folkways 9721
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233026
Online Media:

Robert Francis reads his poems [sound recording]

Title:
Robert Francis reads his poems from Like ghosts of eagles and Come out into the sun
Poet:
Francis, Robert 1901-1987  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Type:
Phonograph records
Collections
Date:
1975
20th century
Topic:
Poetry  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
American poetry  Search this
Local number:
FW09729
Folkways 9729
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233032
Online Media:

The Song of Hiawatha [sound recording] / Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ; read by Harry Fleetwood

Creator:
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth 1807-1882  Search this
Reader:
Fleetwood, Harry  Search this
Cover designer:
Clyne, Ronald 1925-2006  Search this
Subject:
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth 1807-1882  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Phonograph records
Oral interpretations
Date:
1956
Topic:
American poetry  Search this
Oral interpretation of poetry  Search this
Local number:
Folkways 9730
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_233033

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