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September2007
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How Can I Keep From Singing?

"No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that rock I'm clinging. Since love is lord of Heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?" asks folksinger Pete Seeger in his version of the 1860 hymn written by Baptist minister Robert Wadsworth Lowry. Seeger helped to make this song fairly well known in the folk-revival of the 1960s after learning it from North Carolinian Doris Plenn, whose family often sang it, and omitting much of the Christian wording of the original.

Ruth Crawford Seeger, Mike Seeger, Peggy Seeger and Charles Seeger. 1937. Concert flyer featuring Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Alan Lomax.

Pete and family, including his father Charles Seeger (1886-1979), his mother Constance, his stepmother Ruth Crawford and his half-siblings Peggy and Mike, have been at the leading edge of American music and activism for nearly a century. In recognition of their contributions, the Library honored the Seeger family during a two-day program sponsored by the Library's American Folklife Center (AFC) and the Music Division. The family was also recognized for its contributions to the Library's holdings, including AFC's Pete and Toshi Seeger film collection and some 58 collections in the Archive of Folk Culture, along with countless papers and musical manuscripts of Charles and Ruth Crawford Seeger and their family.

The April 2007 issue of the Library of Congress Information Bulletin featured a story on the two-day event, along with an overview of the Library's Seeger holdings.

The Library is also home to the Alan Lomax Collection. Lomax, another folklore and folk music proponent, worked with Ruth Crawford Seeger, who made transcriptions of his field recordings for the Library.


A. Ruth Crawford Seeger, Mike Seeger, Peggy Seeger and Charles Seeger. 1937. American Folklife Center. Reproduction Information: Reproduction information not available.

B. Concert flyer featuring Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Alan Lomax. American Folklife Center. Reproduction Information: Not available for reproduction.