Fonds PR2563 - Folkways Records fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

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Folkways Records fonds

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    • Source of title proper: Title based on the content of the records.

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    • 1960 - 1968 (Creation)

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    Physical description

    5 audio discs

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    Name of creator


    Administrative history

    In 1948, Moses Asch (1905-1986) and Marian Distler (1919-1964) founded Folkways Records & Service Co. in New York City. Folkways sought to record and document music from around the world and every musical genre.

    Between 1948 and 1987, Folkways' small staff released 2,168 albums in areas such as traditional, ethnic, and contemporary music from around the world; poetry, spoken word, and instructional recordings in numerous languages; and documentary recordings of individuals, communities, current events, and natural sounds. Artists featured on Folkways recordings include Woody Gurthrie, Pete Seeger, and Lead Belly.

    Following Asch's death in 1987, the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in Washington, D.C., acquired Folkways Recordings and the label's business papers and files in order ensure future access to the recordings. As a condition of the acquisition, the Smithsonian agreed that virtually all of the firm's 2,168 titles would remain "in print" in perpetuity. To fulfill this commitment, the Smithsonian provides custom order service to the Folkways catalog. Since acquiring the Folkways label, the Smithsonian has released over 300 new recordings.

    Access to the Folkways catalog is also available from the University of Alberta via collaboration between the Smithsonian and the University of Alberta.

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of records from the Folkways catalog including Canada's Story in Song (Folkways Records FW 3000, 1960), Folksongs of Saskatchewan (Folkways Ethnic Library FE 4312, 1968), Songs and Ballads of Northern Saskatchewan and Northern Manitoba (Folkways Records FW 8764, 1960), and Peter LaFarge Sings of the Cowboys(Folkways Records FA 2533).

    The fonds also includes Indian Music of the Plains (1961, Ethnic Folkways). The recording captures the music of the Cree, Assiniboine, Kainai and Siksika First Nations.

    Notes area

    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    In 1966, Melody Lane Ltd. donated the material comprising PR1966.0187 to the Provincial Archives of Alberta. In 1969, the Provincial Archives of Alberta received material comprising PR1969.0219 from the Provincial Museum of Alberta.


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        Language and script note

        The material is in English and Cree.

        Location of originals

        Availability of other formats

        Restrictions on access

        Audiovisual records must be digitized prior to use.

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.

        Finding aids

        Inventory is available.

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        Further accruals are not expected.

        General note

        Information for the administrative history/biographical sketch sourced from: Smithsonian Folkways,\_folkways/history\_mission.aspx (Accessed July 10, 2008). Please visit Folkways Alive for more information on Folkways Records, (Accessed July 10, 2008).

        General note

        Includes accessions PR1966.0187, PR1969.0219.

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