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Collection Alan Lomax Collection

About this Collection

The Alan Lomax Collection includes ethnographic field documentation, materials from Lomax’s various projects, and cross-cultural research created and collected by Alan Lomax and others on traditional song, music, dance, and body movement from around the world. Lomax conducted fieldwork in the Bahamas, the Caribbean, England, France, Georgia (Republic), Haiti, Ireland, Italy, Morocco, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Spain, the United States, and Wales from the 1930s-1990s. The collection contains approximately 650 linear feet of manuscripts, 6400 sound recordings, 5500 graphic images, and 6000 moving images.

This presentation contains more than 500,000 pages of Alan Lomax’s personal papers and office files from his time at the Library of Congress (1932-1942) and from his post-Library career through the 1990s. Featured are Lomax’s writing projects such as Land Where the Blues Began (1993), the unpublished Big Ballad Book, as well as documentation of his extensive work in radio for the CBS and BBC networks.  Also included are thousands of pages of field notes and correspondence associated with his field projects beginning in the 1930s.

The 2004 acquisition of the Alan Lomax Collection was made possible through a cooperative agreement between the American Folklife Center, the Association for Cultural Equity External, and the generosity of an anonymous donor. This collection joins the material Alan Lomax collected during the 1930s and early 1940s for the Library's Archive of American Folk-Song, bringing together the entire seventy years of Alan Lomax's work under one roof at the Library of Congress.