Collecting area: Folk music
Berkeley, Roy

Roy and Ellen Perry Berkeley Papers

ca.1954-2011
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 972

Born in New York City in 1935, Roy Berkeley’s eclectic creative career began while working his way through Columbia University (BA, 1956) as an editor for the New York Post and pseudonymous author of 14 pulp novels, and continued after graduation, working for two years at the height of the Cold War in U.S. intelligence. A self-taught guitarist, he became a stalwart of the folk music scene in Greenwich Village, performing at the Gaslight regularly and at the first Newport Folk Festival in 1959, and eventually recording three albums. In 1966, Berkeley married Ellen Perry, a writer and editor for Progressive Architecture and Architectural Forum, and one of the few women architectural critics of the time. Their time in New York City ended in 1971, however, when Ellen’s job as an editor at an architectural magazine ended. Using Roy’s winnings from his appearance on the television show Jeopardy, the couple relocated to Shaftsbury, Vt., where they led a freelance life as writers, editors, teachers, and lecturers. Roy was eventually appointed deputy Sheriff in town and became a member of the state’s Fish and Wildlife Board. After a struggle with cancer, Roy Berkeley died in 2009 at the age of 73.

The bulk of the Perry Papers consists of Roy’s research files and drafts of a never-completed history of the folk music scene, along with some correspondence, notes, and ephemera that includes both editions of his Bosses Songbook, a satirical send-up of the People’s Songbook. The collection also contains a sampling of the exceptional range of Ellen’s writing on topics from architecture to cats, cookery, to grieving.

Gift of Ellen Perry Berkeley, April 2017

Subjects

  • Architecture
  • Folk music

Contributors

  • Berkeley, Ellen Perry
Broadside (Cambridge, Mass.)

Broadside (Cambridge, Mass.) Collection

1962-1968
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1014
Part of: Folk New England Collection

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--Periodicals
  • Popular music--New England--Periodicals

Contributors

  • Wilson, David

Types of material

  • Periodicals
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
Image 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

  • Fliers
  • Posters
Frizzell, Charles

Charles Frizzell Collection

1963-2004
1 box (flat) 0.3 linear feet
Call no.: PH 081
Part of: Folk New England Collection
Image of Charlie Frizzell, ca.1963 (from Betsy Siggins Papers)
Charlie Frizzell, ca.1963 (from Betsy Siggins Papers)

Raised in suburban Boston, Charlie Frizzell became a well-known photographer of the music scene during the height of the folk revival of the early 1960s. At the age of 14, Frizzell took up photography after landing his first job at a camera shop, and he developed his talents under the mentorship of a local commerical photographer, Bob O’Shaughnessy. As a regular at Club 47 in Cambridge, Frizzell photographed the most popular performers of the era, from Bob Dylan and Joan Baez to Geoff and Maria Muldaur and Jim Kweskin. He left Massachusetts in the late 1960s for Berkeley, Calif., and according to folklorist Millie Rahn, created a sort of conduit between the music scenes in Berkeley and Cambridge. Frizzell died in Berkeley on May 29, 2004, following complications from a liver transplant.

Dating primarily from the mid-1960s, the collection includes approximately 50 prints and some negatives from Charlie Frizzell, including images of Jim Kweskin, Maria Muldaur, Bob Siggins, and Bonnie Dobson, along with images of performances at Newport Folk Festival.

Transferred from Cambridge Historical Society, April 2018

Subjects

  • Folk musicians--Photographs

Types of material

  • Photographs
Keith, Bill, 1939-2017

Bill Keith Collection

1960-2013
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1037
Part of: Folk New England Collection
Image 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 month 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

  • Ephemera
  • Photographs
Rooney, Jim, 1938-

Jim Rooney Collection

1960-2014
5 boxes 6.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1016
Part of: Folk New England Collection

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--Boston
  • Producers and directors

Types of material

  • Photographs
Siggins, Betsy, 1939-

Betsy Siggins Papers

1959-2009
5 boxes 3.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1022
Part of: Folk New England Collection
Image 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 college under 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 o 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
Simon, Peter, 1947-

Peter Simon Collection

ca. 1945-2016
10 boxes 20 linear feet
Call no.: PH 009
Image of Peter Simon in mirror photographing Jennie Blackton at the Bitter End Cafe, 1968
Peter Simon in mirror photographing Jennie Blackton at the Bitter End Cafe, 1968

Peter Simon’s life and work as a photojournalist follows the quintessential arc of the counterculture, baby boom generation. The son of Richard Simon, founder of Simon and Schuster, Peter grew up in the New York City suburb of Riverdale and attended Boston University, graduating in 1969. While a student at BU, he began documenting the political turmoil in the US when he became photo editor for the radical student newspaper, the BU News, and later as a press photographer for the Cambridge Phoenix. In 1970, Simon left Boston to form Tree Frog Farm, a back-to-the-land commune in Guilford, Vermont, and after leaving there in 1972, he immersed himself in the New Age, forming a close relationship with spiritual leader Ram Dass. Among the most constant threads connecting his work throughout these changes was music. Simon’s sisters, Carly, Lucy, and Joanna have all been involved in music, and through a partnership with longtime friend Stephen Davis and his association with Rolling Stone magazine, Simon enjoyed unique access to many of the most important musicians of his generation. He spent time on the road with the Grateful Dead; went backstage and at home with Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and many others. His early forays into the world of reggae with Bob Marley and other Jamaican recording artists resulted in one of his nine books, Reggae Bloodlines. Simon’s other photographic interests are as wide-ranging as his background. A visitor to Martha’s Vineyard since the 1950s and a resident since 1974, his work reflects the changes and cultural richness of that island; his family’s friendship with Jackie Robinson has driven his lifelong documentation of baseball, and he is in high demand for portraits, weddings, and other work for hire.

The Peter Simon Collection houses the original negatives for Simon’s complete body of work as a photo journalist and also includes many photographs taken by his father Richard, an avid amateur photographer, which documents the Simon family and life in Riverdale and Stamford, Connecticut, where the family had a summer home.

Subjects

  • Boston (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Communal living--Vermont
  • Counterculture--United States--20th century
  • Martha's Vineyard (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Musicians--Photographs
  • Simon, Carly--Photographs
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements

Contributors

  • Simon, Richard L. (Richard Leo), 1899-1960

Types of material

  • Photographs