Biographies Robert Sonkin (1911-1980)

Will Neal plays the fiddle as Robert Sonkin looks on
Robert Sonkin, right, listens to fiddler Will Neal (detail from a photo of the recording session). Photo by Robert Hemmig, Arvin Camp, California, 1940. AFC 1985/001: P8-p1.

Robert Sonkin was born into an orthodox Jewish family in The Bronx, New York, in 1911. Sonkin, who held degrees from both City College (now the City College of the City University of New York) and Columbia University, founded the speech clinic at City College. He met Charles L. Todd while they were both working in the Department of Public Speaking at City College in the late 1930s. In addition to the ethnographic research Sonkin did with Todd in California, Sonkin also documented the African American community of Gee's Bend, Alabama, where other FSA work was being carried out. After the onset of World War II, he participated in an Archive of American Folk Song-sponsored project to document the man-in-the-street's opinion of the war effort. Like Todd, Sonkin was drafted into the military during World War II, where he served in the Army Signal Corps.

At the end of the war, Sonkin returned to City College, where he retired in 1976 and later became professor emeritus of speech. Todd and Sonkin once again undertook a collaborative project during this period, which resulted in a book titled Alexander Bryan Johnson: Philosophical Banker, published in 1977. Robert Sonkin died in 1980 at the age of sixty-nine.

Resources

Voices from the Dust Bowl: The Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection (American Memory).

About this Item

Title
Robert Sonkin (1911-1980)
Contributor Names
Sonkin, Robert
Subject Headings
-  Traditional and Ethnic Songs and Music
-  Songs and Music
-  Biographies
Genre
biography
Online Format
image
online text
Description
Biography. Robert Sonkin, right, listens to fiddler Will Neal (detail from a photo of the recording session). Photo by Robert Hemmig, Arvin Camp, California, 1940. AFC 1985/001: P8-p1.
Additional Metadata Formats
METSXML Record

Rights & Access

Rights assessment is your responsibility.

The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as holders of 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. There may be content that is protected as "works for hire" (copyright may be held by the party that commissioned the original work) and/or under the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations.

Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permission ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. Users should consult the bibliographic information that accompanies each item for specific information. This catalog data provides the details known to the Library of Congress regarding the corresponding items and may assist users in making independent assessments of the legal status of these items as related to their desired uses.

Items included here with the permission of the rights holders are indicated as such in the bibliographic record for each item.

In some cases, the Library was unable to identify a possible rights holder and has elected to place some of those items online as an exercise of fair use for strictly non-commercial educational uses. The Library of Congress would like to learn more about these materials and would like to hear from individuals or institutions that have any additional information or know of their history. Please contact:  Performing Arts Reading Room.

Suggested credit line: Library of Congress.

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Cite This Item

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

Chicago citation style:

Sonkin, Robert. Robert Sonkin 1911 to 1980. Online Text. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200196577/. (Accessed January 20, 2018.)

APA citation style:

Sonkin, R. Robert Sonkin 1911 to 1980. [Online Text] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200196577/.

MLA citation style:

Sonkin, Robert. Robert Sonkin 1911 to 1980. Online Text. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200196577/>.