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John Henry

About this Item


  • John Henry


  • Kennedy, Stetson (Collector)
  • Halpert, Herbert, 1911-2000 (Collector)
  • Halpert, Herbert, 1911-2000 (Speaker)
  • Hazelhurst, Harold B. (Speaker)
  • Hazelhurst, Harold B. (Performer)

Created / Published

  • Jacksonville, Florida


  • -  African Americans
  • -  Work songs
  • -  Songs
  • -  United States -- Florida -- Duval County -- Jacksonville


  • Songs


  • -  The singer, born in Georgia and reared in Florida, learned the song from workers driving spikes when a waterboy, aged 15-16, on a logging camp railroad in middle Florida. The song always had the same tune but the verses would vary.
  • -  Performance Note: "John Henry" (vocals) performed by Harold B. Hazelhurst at Federal Music Project Office, Jacksonville, Florida, on June 18, 1939.


  • Sound disc : analog ; 12 in.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1939/005: AFS 03143 A02

Source Collection

  • Herbert Halpert 1939 Southern States Recording Expedition (AFC 1939/005)


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • audio

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17, U.S.C.) or any other restrictions in the material in this collection, except as noted below. Users should keep in mind that the Library of Congress is providing access to these materials strictly for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other holders of rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. See our Legal Notices and Privacy and Publicity Rights for additional information and restrictions.

The Center asks that researchers approach the materials in this collection with respect for the culture and sensibilities of the people whose lives, ideas, and creativity are documented here. Researchers are also reminded that privacy and publicity rights may pertain to certain uses of this material.

A small subset of the sound recordings in this collection (44 items) are not included in this online presentation due to considerations of sound quality or other concerns. See a list of the items in the American Folklife Center's holdings but not provided here online. Researchers with an interest or need to review the entire body of material are encouraged to contact the American Folklife Center. The staff of the American Folklife Center is eager to learn more about the musical compositions and performers included in the collection and encourages the public to contact them with any information.

Credit line

Please cite the source collection title, collection number, and repository, for example:

  • Resettlement Administration Recordings Collection (AFC 1939/016), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
  • Stetson Kennedy and Robert Cook Florida WPA Recordings (AFC 1939/013), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
  • Alton C. Morris Florida WPA recordings (AFC 1939/026), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
  • Florida WPA Recordings, 1940 (AFC 1940/011), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
  • American Folklife Center correspondence files, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Kennedy, Stetson, Herbert Halpert, Herbert Halpert, Harold B Hazelhurst, and Harold B Hazelhurst. John Henry. Jacksonville, Florida, 1939. Audio.

APA citation style:

Kennedy, S., Halpert, H., Halpert, H., Hazelhurst, H. B. & Hazelhurst, H. B. (1939) John Henry. Jacksonville, Florida. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Kennedy, Stetson, et al. John Henry. Jacksonville, Florida, 1939. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.