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

ArchitectureFolk music

Contributors

Berkeley, Ellen Perry
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
Econosmith

Econosmith Collection

1969-2019
1 box, digital files 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: PH 089
Depiction of Pete Seeger, 2006
Pete Seeger, 2006

A wife and husband team of photographers based in Provincetown, Mass., Maxine Smith and John Economos, known collectively as Econosmith, are photographers of the folk music scene, social action, and the landscape and people of outer Cape Cod. Social activists themselves, the Econosmiths were photographers for Pete Seeger during the last decade of his life and headed up the photography team at the Clearwater Festival, giving them unusual access to dozens of performers.

With compelling images of musicians in performance, the Economsmith collection is a rich visual record of the contemporary folk scene, with a special focus on Pete Seeger and the Clearwater Festival (also known as the Great Hudson River Revival). Over 90% of the images were born digital, with the remainder split between color negatives and 35mm. slides. The collection also includes photographs of antiwar demonstrations sparked by the Iraq War and images of the scenery and people of Provincetown and outer Cape Cod.

Gift of John Economos and Maxine Smith, April 2019

Subjects

Cape Cod (Mass.)--PhotographsClearwater Festival--PhotographsDemonstrations--New York (State)--New York--PhotographsDemonstrations--Washington (D.C.)--PhotographsFolk musicFolk musicians--PhotographsIraq War, 2003-2011--Protest movements--PhotographsPeace movements--PhotographsSeeger, Pete, 1919-2004--Photographs

Contributors

Economos, JohnSmith, Maxine

Types of material

Photographs
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
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
Frizzell, Charles, 1941-2004

Charles Frizzell Collection

1963-2004
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: PH 081
Depiction 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
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
Kweskin, Jim

Jim Kweskin Papers

1907-2018 Bulk: 1960-2018
57 boxes, flat files 85 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1064
Depiction of Jim Kweskin playing guitar at Fort Hill, 1967
Jim Kweskin playing guitar at Fort Hill, 1967

The Jug Band visionary Jim Kweskin was one of the major lights of the 1960s folk revival, and an influential figure in Americana music since. A native New Englander, Kweskin was born in Stamford, Conn., in 1940. As a student at Boston University, he was drawn into the Boston-Cambridge folk scene and inspired to learn the guitar, developing a ragtime-blues fingerpicking technique that he inflected with jazz and blues that became a bedrock style of the folk revival. Following a sojourn in California, he returned to Boston in 1963 and formed the Jug Band with Fritz Richmond, Geoff Muldaur, Bob Siggins, and Bruno Wolfe, later joined by Maria Muldaur, Mel Lyman, Bill Keith, and Richard Greene. The Jug Band developed a national following performing pre-World War II American music, laced with a sense of humor and 1960s sensibility. At the height of their popularity, the Jug Band dissolved in 1968. For several years in the 1980s and 1990s, Kweskin was relatively removed from recording, but he resumed work as a soloist, as a member of the U & I Band, the Texas Sheiks, the Jug Band; and as fellow performer with a long list of artists.

A rich record of eclectic musical tastes and a passion for American music, the Kweskin collection offers important documentation of a major figure on the folk scene. The collection includes scrapbooks, newsclippings, concert posters and fliers, and ephemera from throughout Kweskin’s career, along with hundreds of personal and prozfessional photographs of Kweskin, the Jug Band, U and I, and later collaborations. As an historian of American music, Kweskin also assembled discographies of major arists and labels and built a library of works on blues, country, and other forms of popular music, along with hundreds of 78 rpm records, 45s, LPs, and compact disc recordings. Finally, there are hundreds of reel to reel, cassette, CD, and DVD recordings of Kweskin from throughout his career.

Gift of Jim Kweskin, 2018

Subjects

Blues (Music)Folk musicians

Types of material

Open reel audiotapesPhotographsSound recordings
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
New Song Library

New Song Library Collection

1974-2018
16 boxes 24 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1043

Founded by Johanna Halbeisen in 1974, the New Song Library was a collaborative resource for sharing music with performers, teachers and community activists, who in turn shared with a wide variety of audiences. Based initially in Boston, the Library was devoted to the music of social change and particularly music that reflected the lives and aspirations of workers, women and men, elders and young people, gays and lesbians, other minorities, and Third World people.

This collection contains over forty years of organizational and operational records of the New Song Library along with hundreds of sound recordings, primarily audiocassettes made at concerts, music festivals, song swaps, and gatherings of the People’s Music Network. The Library also collected newsletters and magazines on folk music, and most importantly dozens of privately produced songbooks and song indexes.

Gift of Johanna Halbeisen, 2017-2018

Subjects

Folk music

Types of material

Audiocassettes