Articles and Essays

  • Sidney Robertson Cowell, Ethnographer and Folk Music Collector Timeline of significant life events of Sidney Roberston Cowell which led her to work on the WPA (Works Projects Administration) California Folk Music Project.
  • The Ethnographic Experience: Sidney Robertson Cowell in Northern California From 1938 to 1940, while in her thirties, Sidney Robertson, ethnographer and collector of traditional American music, single-handedly organized and directed a California Work Projects Administration project designed to survey musical traditions in Northern California. The result of the project was a remarkable, and quite modern, multi-format ethnographic field collection--the WPA California Folk Music Project. Not only did the project generate a wealth of...
  • The WPA California Folk Music Project The WPA California Folk Music Project [1938-40] was the result of a joint effort of the Work Projects Administration, the Library of Congress, and the Music Division of the University of California, Berkeley. It was officially sponsored by the University of California at Berkeley and co-sponsored by the Archive of American Folk-Song, then in the Music Division, at the Library of Congress.
  • Glossary of Musical Instruments The following include a selection of musical instruments recorded, photographed, or sketched for the California Folk Music Project Collection. Information cited in quotes is taken from the WPA Final Report for the Project, entitled "A Study of California Folk Music," pp. 8-11. Browse by instrument: