Five boxes containing sixty-four 5 inch and fifteen 7 inch open reel tapes recorded primarily by American herpetologist Charles M. Bogert from 1953-1965. This collection has two parts: the first focusing mainly on traditional music and liturgical music from several regions in Mexico: Oaxaca, Jalisco, Nayarit. Also included is music recorded in the Southwestern United States. The second portion of the collection contains amphibian, bird, and insect calls and choruses, mostly from these same regions in Mexico, the Southwestern, Western, and Southern United States, and Sri Lanka.
Scope and Contents:
The collection is divided into 2 series. Series 1 contains forty-three 5 inch and twelve 7 inch open reel tapes of musical performances by groups and individuals Bogert recorded throughout Mexico, South America, and the southwestern United States between 1952 and 1965. Series 2 contains twenty-one 5 inch and 3 7 inch open reel tapes of field recordings made by Bogert in natural settings in Mexico, Southwestern United States, and Sri Lanka. Sounds include amphibian choruses, mating calls and warnings, bird calls, and insect communication.
Tapes are arranged into two series. Series 1: Musical Performances, 1953-1965, and Series 2: Field Recordings of Amphibians, Birds, and Insects, 1954-1964. Within each series, tapes are arranged by size, followed by chronological order, with undated tapes placed at the end of each sequence.
Biographical / Historical:
Charles Mitchill Bogert (June 4, 1908–April 10, 1992) was an American herpetologist, researcher, and curator of herpetology for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and a notable early ethnomusicologist. Bogert was a major figure in twentieth century herpetology, as a researcher and as administrator at the American Museum of Natural History for 25 years, as well as a folksong collector. Bogert traveled widely--including to Sri Lanka, Central America, the Southwestern United States, Florida, and the Bahamas--in search of experimental settings and samples of indigenous frog species. He would also use these travels to record the local folk music, usually performed by informal groups and in church celebrations.
He felt especially at home in Mexico, where in addition to conducting faunal surveys he made recordings of traditional music that were later commercially released on Folkways Records. In 1955, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for a year's research; a portion of his results are in the collection.
In 1960, he became a lecturer at the University of Colorado, and began an extensive study of the Oaxaca region of Mexico. In 1966, he was given an honorary LLD from UCLA. In 1978, he became a consultant at the Los Alamos National Environmental Research Park for a year. Afterwards, he continued to travel and conduct further studies, until his death in 1992 in his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Folkways Records Releases
1954 -- FX 6122, Sounds of the American Southwest
1958 -- FX 6166 (SFW45060), Sounds of North American Frogs FW 8867, Tarascan and Other Music of Mexico: Songs and Dances of the Mexican Plateau
1960 -- FW 8870, Mariachi Aguilas de Chapala
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.
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
Enlargements of photographs made by Donald Bush Cordry during his time in Mexico. These were mounted for a 1970s Bellas Artes-sponsored traveling exhibit based on Cordry's collection of Mexican Indian costumes. Included are images of Indigenous peoples of Mexico, fiestas and dances, pottery, boats, weaving, spinning, masks, vendors and markets, churches, and shrines. Depicted groups include the Huichol, Mestizo, Tarascan, Seri, Mayo, Tepehua, Totonac, Nahua, Mazatec, Cuicatec, Chinantec, Zapotec, Mixe, Amusgo, Huave, Mixtec, Chapanec, Zoque, Tzotzil, and Maya. Additionally, there are some self portraits of Donald Cordry and his wife Dorothy.
Donald Bush Cordry (1907-1978) was an artist and photographer who studied the art of Indigenous peoples of Mexico. In 1931, Cordry made his first trip to Guerrero, Mexico, where he became interested in contemporary mask making. In 1934, Cordry moved to New York to work as a marionette designer for puppeteer Tony Sarg. While there, he contacted George G. Heye to learn more about Indigenous Mexican art. This led to a series of collecting expeditions from 1935 to 1938, during which Cordry collected Mexican masks and other artifacts for the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 87-38, USNM ACC 361232
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Additional photographs made by Cordry can be found in the National Anthropological Archives in Photo Lot 82-14.
Donald Cordry and his wife, Dorothy Mann Cordry, also donated clothing and musical instruments from Mexico to the Department of Anthropology in accessions 361232 and 355866.
The National Museum of the American Indian Archives holds the Donald Bush Cordry collection of photographs and negatives, 1933-1940, as well as artifacts collected by Cordry.
Photographs of the Donald Cordry Mexican mask exhibit can be found in the National Anthropological Archives in Photo Lot 80-3.
The Donald Cordry Mexican mask collection can be found in the Department of Anthropology in accession 355867.