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
At this time, the collection is partially processed. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
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.
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.
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Smithsonian Institution. Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Search this
Access by appointment only. Where a listening copy or viewing copy has been created, this is indicated in the respective inventory; additional materials may be accessible with sufficient advance notice and, in some cases, payment of a processing fee. Older papers are housed at a remote location and may require a minimum of three weeks' advance notice and payment of a retrieval fee. Certain formats such as multi-track audio recordings and EIAJ-1 videoreels (1/2 inch) may not be accessible. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at 202-633-7322 or email@example.com for additional information.
Copyright and other restrictions may apply. Generally, materials created during a Festival are covered by a release signed by each participant permitting their use for personal and educational purposes; materials created as part of the fieldwork leading to a Festival may be more restricted. We permit and encourage such personal and educational use of those materials provided digitally here, without special permissions. Use of any materials for publication, commercial use, or distribution requires a license from the Archives. Licensing fees may apply in addition to any processing fees.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 1980 Festival of American Folklife, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
The J. Scott Odell folk music collection (1945-2016, inclusive) contains AV recordings, photographs, correspondence, writings, and other materials relating to Odell's career at the Smithsonian as a musical instrument conservator and researcher of American music traditions. The collection largely consists of materials relating to Odell's research trips (often combined with personal visits) throughout the Eastern United States. Research strengths of the collection include the history of the Appalachian dulcimer and banjo, the Smithsonian Folkways project "Black Banjo Songsters," musician and poet Burt Porter, and the Bread and Puppet Theater.
The J. Scott Odell Folk Music Collection, which includes materials dating from 1945-2016, documents the research, professional work, and personal relations of J. Scott Odell (b. 1935). Odell worked at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History (NMAH) as a musical instrument conservator and traveled throughout the Eastern United States documenting a variety of musical instruments and traditions. The collection reflects his research trips and other travels; the development of exhibits and performance of music and dance at the Smithsonian; and the relationships Odell developed with the musicians, craftspeople, informants, and other people he worked with throughout his career.
Research strengths of this collection include notes, photographs, and recordings from Odell's fieldwork; extensive documentation of Odell's work on the Smithsonian Folkways project Black Banjo Songsters, in collaboration with folklorist Cecelia Conway; and materials pertaining to the Bread and Puppet Theater (based in Glover, Vermont). Significant places documented include southwest Virginia (Galax), nearby North Carolina (Shelton-Laurel), the surrounding tri-state area, and Vermont (Glover). Significant individuals represented in the collection include Odell, Burt Porter, Ralph Rinzler, and other well-known musicians. The most prominent instrument information in the collection relates to the banjo and the Appalachian dulcimer, although the American fiddle tradition and other instruments are also represented. Materials include photographs (negatives and prints), field notes, trip reports, correspondence, slides, writings, and AV materials. This collection may also be of interest to researchers of AV history and evolution. The wide variety of formats found in the collection maps the development of popular recording media. The collection includes open-reel tapes, Hi-8 tapes, DATs, mini-DV tapes, Betacam and Betacam SP tapes, VHS and SVHS tapes, cassettes, optical discs, mini-discs, and Zip discs.
This collection was initially established in 2008, when it was transferred from Archives Center at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History (NMAH) to the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives & Collections (RRFAC), Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (CFCH). (NMAH Archives Center had received the collection from the Division of Musical History.) Since 2008, the collection has been significantly expanded, more than doubling in size between 2008 and 2016. (These additional materials can be found in Series 8, Accruals.) With these deposits, the scope of the collection expanded beyond Odell's Appalachian dulcimer research and instrument conservator duties to include his banjo research, travels, relationships with musicians (particularly Burt Porter), and involvement with the Bread and Puppet Theater.
The collection is arranged in eight series as follows: (1) Correspondence, 1963-1978; (2) Folk Instruments Research; (3) Collected Publications and Ephemera; (4) Collecting Trips; (5) Publications; (6) Sound Recordings; (7) Oversize Materials; and (8) Accruals. Within each series and subseries, folders are arranged thematically, alphabetically, and/or chronologically.
Series 1-7 reflect the order of the original transfer from the Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Series 8 (Accruals) encompasses several deposits made by Scott Odell of additional materials between 2011 and 2017. Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives staff, in collaboration with Odell, imposed order upon Series 8.
Researchers should note that, when performing research in Series 8 (Accruals), they might need to consult multiple boxes, even when working within a single subseries where the intellectual arrangement in the finding aid does not always align with the physical arrangement of the materials. This separation between the intellectual and physical arrangement is due in part to the order in which RRFAC received each deposit, the format of the materials (i.e., papers vs. photographs vs. AV items), and earlier digitization efforts.
Jay Scott Odell (b. 1935) was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, to Adalberta Lavoie Odell and Jay Geddes Odell. The family moved frequently throughout his childhood, resulting in Odell having lived at fourteen different addresses and attending seven different schools by the time he graduated high school in 1953. When the family settled in Mamaroneck, New York, in 1950, Odell met poet Peter Kane Dufault, and musician and poet Burt Porter, two figures who would go on to strongly influence his personal and professional development. It was on the advice of Dufault, for example, that Odell apprenticed with harpsichord-maker William Dowd after college.
Odell attended Middlebury College where he met his future wife, Dorothy "Dottie" Hiebert. After graduating in 1957, Hiebert moved to France and Odell took a position on the boat of Dutch writer Jan DeHartog before joining Hiebert to travel Europe. By 1959, they had returned to the United States (Boston, Massachusetts) and married. It was at this point in their lives that they became active in the peace movement and the early Folk Revival. Odell's relationship with Burt Porter continued, and he developed contacts with other musicians including Peter and Polly Gott, Tom "Tom Banjo" Azarian, Mike Seeger, and Tracy Schwartz. The Odells also became involved with the Bread and Puppet Theater group, founded by Peter and Elka Schumann, which established its primary location in Glover, Vermont, near Porter's property.
Odell is particularly notable for his work in musical instrument conservation at the Smithsonian Institution and his involvement in the development of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. In 1963, following his harpsichord apprenticeship with William Dowd, Odell was hired by the Smithsonian as a musical instrument conservator. Under Cynthia Hoover and C. Malcolm Watkins, he established a restoration workshop for musical instruments at the National Museum of History and Technology, now the National Museum of American History. Over the course of his career, Odell served not only as a conservator but also as head of a technical laboratory and, eventually, as the first director of conservation at the National Museum of American History.
Odell was a key figure in the shifting philosophy of the musical instrument department regarding its collections and acquisition practices. With Hoover, Odell helped establish and facilitate a concert series with the mission of "[taking] the instruments out of their cases and [letting] them sing" – a major innovation in museum programming. Odell's commitment to bringing music history and traditions to life manifested in the expansion of the Smithsonian concert series, his relationship with Ralph Rinzler, and his early involvement with the Festival of American Folklife, now the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
Although his professional training was in working with historical keyboard instruments, Odell's lifelong interest in traditional and regional music had a significant impact on his career. Between 1964 and 1977, when Odell was head of the laboratory at the Smithsonian Institution's Division of Musical Instruments, he undertook a series of collecting trips throughout the Eastern United States to expand the Division's collection of traditional American instruments.
In 1964, Odell and Porter attended the Annual Galax Old Time Fiddlers Convention. Following this initial trip, Hoover and Watkins supported Odell's efforts to, in addition to acquiring objects for the collection, research and record the cultural contexts of those instruments. Over the course of these trips, Odell built personal relationships with many of the musicians and craftspeople with whom he worked, including the Melton-Russell family, Tommy Jarrell, and Fred Cockerham.
Odell retired in 1993, but continued contract work at the Smithsonian. Working for the National Museum of American History, he assisted with the care and description of the Museum's banjo collection, as well as the acquisition of the Grimes and Jeffries dulcimer collection. He has also maintained associations with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. In 1998, Odell co-produced a record through Smithsonian Folkways with folklorist Cecelia Conway titled "Black Banjo Songsters," which focused on the African American banjo tradition and featured many of the artists with whom Odell had built relationships.
Related Materials note:
Materials relating to Odell's career at the Smithsonian can also be found in the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA), particularly in the records of the NMAH Musical History Division.
Materials relating to the Bread and Puppet Theater can also be found in the archives of the Bread and Puppet Theater (via the Internet Archive); the University of Vermont; and the University of California, Davis.
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at 202-633-7322 for additional information.
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact the archives staff for information.
File consists of photocopies of empty folders. File titles include: International Spirits, National Council of Teachers of English, Lillian North, Postal Envelope Co, All Records Distribution, Another, De Terra, Children of Paradise, Anthropology Museum Shop, Artichoke Music, Armo Exporting, Argus Communications, Armchair Books, Aron's, Asia Foundation, Axelrod Music, Auroria Book Center, Audio Visual Methods, Brooklyn Heights Community Bookstore, Beerman's Music, Bee Gee Records, Bee Beep Toy Shop, B + M Enterprises, Baltimore County Public Schools, Ball Music, Baily's Music Rooms, Beautiful Book Co, Amazon Bookstore Inc, Alta Distribution Co, Alphabet Station, Allied School & UFFC Products, Natl Audubon Society Expedition Institute, Bearly, Kids, Bawa Muhaigalla Fellowship, Barrio Bilingual, Barefoot Books, Balsteins, Benerly Record Shop, A Bette's Story, Board of Education WI, Board of Ed VI, Board of Ed UT, Board of Ed OH, Board of Ed NC, Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Bill Buchanon's Church & School Supply, Bryn Mawr, Bruce Magpie Prod, Concord Music, Concertina Newsletter, Concept Visual Inc, Columbia College, Colony Books, Children Mercantile, Children's Bookstore MD, Children's Bookstore OR, Children's Bookstore MT, Children's Book Shop, Children's Book Center, A Child's Place, Cheslow Music, Brown Toy House, Brooklyn Public Library, George Britton Folkshop, Stuart Brent Books, College Store Assoc, College of, Co-Op Bookstore, Co-Op Store, The Book Bag, Backhandel de Hermies, Afro-Art Foundation, Adventure Teaching Supplies, African Forum, African Music, Afro-American Bookstore, Acoustic Music, Chimaera, China Books, Christine's Cauldron, Christmas County Dance School, City Hall Records, City School Distribution, American Montessori Society, Pied Piper, Philadelphia School Distribution, Classic Encounters, Community Bookstore, Community Schools, Mr. Click, Scholastic RRRD, Popular Cultural Scientific, Smuggler's Shop, School Daze Cal, Simon Music Store, Shoppers World Plaid and Crest, Pinocchio Books, Pied Piper Records & Tapes, Polyglot Productions, Polish Bookstore, Poets Audio Center, Pooh Corner, Old Fogey Dist, Stallman Records, Stacun Music, Speyer School Service, So State School Supply, Southern Music, Southeastern Film & School Supply, So. Md. School Supply, Sound Warehouse, Sound Warehouse TX, Sound Good Records & Tape, Record City, Willie Dordill, Solant Music Stores, Snakeroot Productions, Lefter Music, Left Hand Books, Left Bank Books, Lee's Educational Center, Learning Tree RI, Learning Tree IL, Learning Tree GA, Learning Tree CA, Learning Tree MN, Learning Shop Inc OK, Learning Shop Inc IL, Meyer Music House, Metcalf Record, Mein Back Records, Memphis Public Library, Memphis Community Bookshop, Melton Books, PAF Playhouse, Pacasette Inc, Palm Record Tape Dist, FH Pence Co, Parnassess Books, GAMCO, Galperin Music, Galley Music, Grammaphone NYC, Gonernous State University, Goodman's Hebrew Books, Ginter Gretz, Greenwhich Village Disc, Green Grass Cloggers, Great Brown Oval, Gray's Dist, Granny's Place, Grand Music, Gramophone Shop, Alexandria Fuciana, Holmer Luther & Sons, Los Angeles Unified Pck. District, London Records, Long Island Comm, Lektronic Products, Little People Records, Linden Tree Children's Books, Lions Tale, Lincoln Music Co, Light House Christian Supply, Lift Budge Book Shop, Liberty Music, Liberation Information, Superior Records, Superior Music, Superintendent of Schools, Sunny Mountain Records, Sugar Loaf Folk, Sugarloaf Dulcimers, HJ Strickling, The Storybook Stores, Stop Look & Learn, Stop & Grow Book Shop, Stone's Southern School Supply, Stewart's House of Music, Starkman Book Service, Star Educational, Stanford Books, Stanfield Assoc, Standard Records, Stan's City Records, Grant Music, Get Smart Educational Shop, Gessler Pub, Gersten Enterprises, Gerry Dadds Records, Gerber Music, George's Song Shop, School Products, School House Equipment, School Equipment Co, School Board of, Sea Education Assn, Scotch House, Scottish Shopper, Scott's Music Center, Science Museums of Minnesota, Seeds for Knowledge, Sea Research Foundation, Sea Heritage, Shawnee Mission Unified School Dist, 1975 New Releases, Brigants Ed, Brics Tallahassee FL, Record Disp Atlanta GA, Publicity Letters, S Misc Speechphone, U Misc Speechphone, V Misc Speechphone, Yale Coop, Ronald Clyne, Returned Checks on Birch Tree Group, American National Choral Society of Boston, Lehman College, Eighth Ave Record Shop,
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for additional information.
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
FL 9865 St. John of the Cross - Volume II, Translated by Roy Campbell, Read in English by Khigh Dheigh, Arranged and Directed by Martin Donegan, Poet's Theatre Series No. 11 Reproduced by Scotti D'Arcy
London Library of Recorded English was a 6-volume Anthology of English Literature, consisting of poetry spanning 16th-20th century England, read aloud by well-known British poets, scholars, and actors. The first four recordings were edited by poet-scholars V.C. Clinton-Baddeley and Joseph Compton, and when it was acquired by Britam Agencies in 1955, Clinton-Baddeley stayed on to create two more releases. The collection contains 6 LP recordings, as well as the business papers associated with the creation and management of the Anthology.
This collection is arranged in two series: 1. Papers, 1949-2010, arranged alphabetically by subject and chronologically thereafter, and 2. Audiorecordings, 1956-1965, arranged chronologically.
Biographical / Historical:
The London Library of Recorded English had roots in V.C. Clinton-Baddeley's 1937 recordings of poetry broadcasts with W.B. Yeats for the BBC. In 1940, during World War II, Clinton-Baddeley helped prepare British propaganda on gramophone discs for the use of foreign radio stations. A portion of these recordings were dedicated to "cultured propaganda," and this included recordings of English poetry produced by Clinton-Baddeley and read by himself and other well-known readers.
During the war, Clinton-Baddeley was speaking to Joseph Compton, a prominent specialist in English literature education, about the propaganda records. Compton believed that recordings of literature would be in demand in schools. When the war ended, E.J. Vetter, a recording engineer told Clinton-Baddeley that he would be setting up a small recording studio where it would be possible to make some poetry recordings. Compton soon got on board, and the recording studio, which was a part of United Programmes Limited (UPL) of London, England, would support the production of the recordings.
The first four volumes (called "books") of the anthology were made with UPL in the late 1940s. These were directed by Clinton-Baddeley and engineered by Vetter and J. Bramhall. Compton made selections and provided literary criticism. Both Clinton-Baddeley and Compton were considered editors of the series.
UPL went into receivership and in 1950, Edgar J. Grande, receiver for UPL, appointed Britam Agencies, Inc. (Britam) sole agent in the U.S.A. and Canada for the sale of the recordings (twenty-four 78rpm records per set) to be imported from England. The recordings were sold to schools, colleges, and libraries.
In 1955, UPL and Grande arranged with Britam to purchase the LLRE free and clear. Britam re-engineered the recordings and converted them into 4 LPs, manufactured by Columbia Records and sold under the Alpha Records label.
In 1963, Clinton-Baddeley and Irwin Breslauer of Britam agreed to a plan to produce two additional LP records (Books V and VI). All six volumes were marketed as a package, and later, as a set of six cassette tapes. The LLRE then went dormant, with no effort being made towards sales, as the principals of Britam, Irwin Breslauer and Norman Breslauer were occupied with other business.
The collection was donated to the the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in 2010.
This collection was donated in memory of Lewis R. Breslauer to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings/Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in January, 2010. The donation included all right, title, and interest in and to the recordings, papers, and historical materials, as well as all intellectual property rights.
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at (202) 633-7322 or email@example.com for additional information.
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff at (202) 633-7322 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Restrictions may apply concerning the use, duplication, or publication of items in these collections. Consult the archivists for additional information.
Narrative poetry, English
English poetry -- 19th century
English poetry -- 17th century
English poetry -- 18th century
English poetry -- Early modern, 1500-1700
London Library of Recorded English records, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.