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Collection Alan Lomax Collection

Guides to Lomax Family Collections

The Lomax family materials at the American Folklife Center comprise more than 100 separate archival collections. This online presentation aims to facilitate seamless access to the work of American folk music’s best-known family. The breadth of Lomax activities necessitates the following guides describing singular aspects of the materials, sometimes across multiple collections.

  • Coahoma County, Mississippi, Field Trips, 1941-1942: A Guide

    In 1941 and 1942 the Library of Congress and Fisk University of Nashville, Tennessee, jointly undertook a sociological study of African American communities centered in Coahoma County, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta region. The project resulted in a number of manuscript documents, sound recordings, and motion picture footage now held in several collections at the American Folklife Center and at other institutions. This guide provides comprehensive timelines and inventories from that project.

  • Lomax Family Audio Recordings, 1908–1991, A Chronological Guide to Field Trips and Recordings: A Guide

    This guide documents recording sessions and field trips made by members of the Lomax family, 1908–1991. Information sources include the original recordings and manuscripts in the Lomax collections, as well as secondary sources such as Nolan Porterfield’s Last Cavalier: The Life and Times of John A. Lomax, 18671948 (1996). More than 200 entries provide detailed information about each event providing a chronological look at the output of an exceptionally influential family for American 20th century ethnography. Anchored by the work of John, Sr., during the 1930s, and continuation of that work by Alan Lomax from the 1930s to the 1960s, it includes contributions by John’s second wife, Ruby Terrill Lomax, and his children, Bess and John, Jr.

  • Alan Lomax Discography: A Guide

    This guide documents Alan Lomax’s published audio recordings through more than 250 discographic entries, 1943 to 2016. The list is broken into three large categories that illustrate Lomax as recordist, compiler, editor, and performer: individual issues of recordings (78 albums, LPs, CDs, or downloads), series of publications, and recordings of Lomax performing. The overwhelming majority of entries feature field recordings that he made from 1933 to 1962.

  • A Subject Guide to Lomax Family Collections: A Guide

    The Lomax family materials at the American Folklife Center span more than 100 collections. These materials have been carefully cataloged using subject terms that provide access across collections. This guide defines and describes those access points.

  • Performance Style and Culture Research Guide, Alan Lomax Collection (AFC 2004/004): A Guide

    This guide documents the conception, development, and implementation of Alan Lomax’s Performance Style and Culture Research projects. Building on observations from the field, Lomax developed the basis for this work in the 1950s and the resulting project continued into the 1980s. He and his associates studied the work and methods of various anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, ethnologists, and physicians and developed new methodologies for documenting and comparing aspects of folk song style (Cantometrics), dance (Choreometrics), and speech (Parlametrics).

  • Alan Lomax Radio-Related Materials 1939-1969: A Guide

    Radio exerted a powerful influence on American culture in the mid-20th century. It changed the nature of the mass and popular culture, broadcasting national and international sensibilities directly into homes in a way that earlier media could not. It also created opportunities for ethnographers and cultural brokers, individuals such as Alan Lomax, to share regional and ethnic traditions. The American Folklife Center holds documentation for 339 radio programs created by Alan Lomax as a writer and broadcaster for CBS, BBC, Armed Forces, Mutual, and NBC networks, from 1939-1969. This guide describes Lomax’s radio activities at the program-level.