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Folk New England

Folk New England Collection

Call no.: MS 1015
Depiction of Folk New England logo
Folk New England logo

Founded by Betsy Siggins in 2009, Folk New England’s mission is to document, preserve, interpret and present the ongoing cultural legacy of folk music in all its forms, with emphasis on New England’s contribution to the enrichment of North American life. The organization continues a dialogue between New England’s distinct folk music heritage and its future, through the establishment of a regional folk music archive, robust collections development and access, multi-disciplinary outreach and education, and engaging entertainment programs for the public.

The Folk New England collections document the folk music scene, broadly construed, with an emphasis on the folk revival of the late 1950s and 1960s to the present. Although the performers and music are central, the growing array of collections also documents producers, venues, photographers, and others involved in the scene.

Gift of Folk New England, April 2018-

Subjects

Folk music--New EnglandFolk musicians--New England
Folk New England

Folk New England Ephemera Collection

1960-1973
1 oversize box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1017
Part of: Folk New England Collection
Depiction of Poster for performance by Jackie Wilson, 1964 (designed by Eric von Schmidt)
Poster for performance by Jackie Wilson, 1964 (designed by Eric von Schmidt)

Founded by Betsy Siggins in 2009, Folk New England is an organization dedicated to documenting, preserving, and interpreting the cultural legacy of folk music in all its forms, with an emphasis on New England’s contributon.

The Ephemera Collection consists of dozens of posters, fliers, calendars, and other promotional materials for musical acts collected by Folk New England. Concentrated in the years of the folk revival in the late 1950s to late 1960s, many of the posters were sent to Club 47 in Cambridge, Mass.

Gift of Tom Curren and Folk New England, March 2018

Subjects

Folk music--New England

Types of material

FliersPosters
Broadside (Cambridge, Mass.)

Broadside (Cambridge, Mass.) Collection

1962-1968
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1014
Depiction of Bill Keith on the cover of Broadside, Feb. 1, 1967
Bill Keith on the cover of Broadside, Feb. 1, 1967

When The Broadside first appeared in March 1962, it immediately became a key resource for folk musicians and fans in New England. Written by and for members of the burgeoning scene, The Broadside was a central resource for information on folk performances and venues and throughout the region, covering coffeehouses, concert halls, festivals, and radio and television appearances.

Assembled by Folk New England, the collection contains a complete run of the Boston- and Cambridge-based folk music periodical, The Broadside, with the exception of the first issue, which has been supplied in photocopy.

Gift of Folk New England, Oct. 2017

Subjects

Folk music--New England--PeriodicalsPopular music--New England--Periodicals

Contributors

Wilson, David

Types of material

Periodicals
Morey, Robert

Robert Morey Collection

1966-2002 Bulk: 1966-1975
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 082

Bob Morey photographed the folk scene in New England during the late 1960s and early 1970s, concentrating especially on Club 47 and other venues in Cambridge and Boston.

Consisting primarily of images of musicians in performance, the Morey collection contains prints of Eric Anderson, Chuck Berry, Donovan, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Frank Zappa, among others, along with a few contact sheets. Also included are an issue of Broadside and a run of monthly calendars from Club 47 dating between September 1966 and the summer 1967.

Gift of Folk New England, AprIl 2018.

Subjects

Club 47 (Cambridge, Mass.)Folk musicians--PhotographsRock musicians--Photographs

Types of material

Calendars (documents)Photographs
Keith, Bill, 1939-2017

Bill Keith Collection

1960-2013
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1037
Depiction of Bill Keith (r.) and Jim Rooney at the Newport Folk Festival, 1965
Bill Keith (r.) and Jim Rooney at the Newport Folk Festival, 1965

A stylistic innovator and influential performer on the five string banjo, Bill Keith is credited with transforming the instrument from a largely percussive role into a one where it carried the melody. A native of Boston and 1961 graduate of Amherst College, Keith cut his teeth as a performer in New England clubs during the hey day of the folk revival, often partnering with his college roomate Jim Rooney, and he spent the better part of the decade as a member of two high profile acts: Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, with whom he played for eight critical months in 1963, and the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. Adding the pedal steel guitar to his repertoire, Keith performed on stage and in studio with a stylistically and generationally diverse range of acts including Ian and Sylvia, Judy Collins, Richie Havens, Loudon Wainwright, and the Bee Gees. Keith continued performing nearly to the time of his death by cancer in October 2015.

This small collection of photographs and ephemera documents the musical career of bluegrass legend Bill Keith, including early images playing in coffee houses and at Newport Folk Festival and images of Keith with musical collaborators throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The collection includes a series of photographs and ephemera taken during the 50th anniversary Jug Band Reunion tour of Japan in 2013.

Subjects

Folk music--New England

Types of material

EphemeraPhotographs
Siggins, Betsy, 1939-

Betsy Siggins Papers

1958-2018
6 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1022
Depiction of Betsy Siggins, ca.1959. Photo by Alan Klein
Betsy Siggins, ca.1959. Photo by Alan Klein

A key figure in the New England folk revival of the 1960s, Betsy Siggins (nee Minot) entered Boston University in the fall 1958 just at the music was taking off. Along with her college friend Joan Baez, she soon left school for the lure of the bohemian musical scene in Cambridge. At the age of 20, Betsy married the banjo player for the Charles River Valley Boys, Bob Siggins, who was also a founding member of Club 47, the most important venue for folk music in the region. For musicians from Baez and Bob Dylan to Jim Kweskin, Eric Von Schmidt, and Jim Rooney Club 47 was a career launching pad and despite the segregation of the era, it was a place where white northern audiences first encountered African American and blues musicians. Siggins worked full time at Club 47, filling a variety of jobs from office work to waitress to art gallery manager, eventually becoming program officer, arranging the schedules for musicians booked by Rooney or Byron Linardos. After Club 47 closed in 1968, Siggins went on to work for a succession of not for profit organizations, including the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife and for programs for the homeless and poor.
The Siggins Collection contains important materials on Club 47 and its successor, Club Passim, including business records, ephemera, clippings, and some remarkable scrapbooks featuring performers such Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Richard Farina. The collection contains dozens of photographs (many taken by Charlie Frizzell), showing Siggins, her friends, and musicians at home, at Club 47, and at folk festivals in Newport, Brandeis, and Monterey. Of particular note in the collection is a remarkable series of 27 reel to reel tapes of performances at Club 47 featuring John Hammond, Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, Eric Von Schmidt, Jim Rooney, Jeff and Maria Muldaur, Jackie Washington, the Charles River Valley Boys, Joan Baez, and others. Additional material on Siggins and the Minot family was retained by the Cambridge Historical Society.

Transferred from Cambridge Historical Society, April 2018

Subjects

Club 47 (Cambridge, Mass.)Dylan, Bob, 1941-Folk music--New England
Rooney, Jim, 1938-

Jim Rooney Collection

1960-2014
5 boxes 6.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1016

A producer, performer, writer, and pioneer in Americana music, Jim Rooney was born in Boston on January 28, 1938 and raised in Dedham. Inspired to take up music by the sounds of Hank Williams and Leadbelly he heard on the radio, he began performing at the Hillbilly Ranch at just 16 years old, taking to music full time after an undergraduate degree in classics at Amherst College and an MA at Harvard. As manager of Club 47, Rooney was at the epicenter of the folk revival in Boston, becoming director and talent coordinator for the Newport Folk Festival beginning in 1963, a tour manager for jazz musicians in the late 1960s, and by 1970, a producer. After managing Bearsville Sound Studios in Woodstock, NY, for Albert Grossman, he moved to Nashville, where he has produced projects by Hal Ketchum, Townes Van Zandt, Iris DeMent, John Prine and Bonnie Raitt, among others, winning a Grammy award in 1993 for his work with Nanci Griffith.
Documenting a varied career in American music, the Rooney collection contains material from two of Rooney’s books on the history of American music, Bossmen: Bill Monroe and Muddy Waters (1971) and Baby, Let Me Follow You Down (1979), his autobiography In It For the Long Run (2014). In addition to correspondence and other content relating to his collaborations with key Americana musicians and his record production career in Nashville, the collection includes valuable interview notes, photographs, recordings, and news clippings.

Gift of Jim Rooney through Folk New England, Mar. 2018

Subjects

Club 47 (Cambridge, Mass.)Folk music--Massachusetts--BostonProducers and directors

Types of material

Photographs