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Notes 60.1 (2003) 130-133

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Richard Griscom
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University (Paul F. Wells, director) has received a grant of $46,636 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support the cataloging and digitization of the Kenneth S. Goldstein Collection of American Song Broadsides. The Goldstein Collection, acquired by the center in 1994, consists of approximately thirty-three hundred broadsides, and is one of the largest such collections in the country.

Song broadsides (sometimes called "song sheets") were a common and inexpensive medium through which popular songs and ballads were commercially disseminated from the sixteenth through the early twentieth centuries. Broadsides normally contained only lyrics, as simple text was much easier and cheaper to typeset and print than was musical notation, according to Paul Wells. "They were sold to people who were not affluent enough to own a piano or who were not musically literate," Wells said. "Broadsides offer a window into the musical tastes of a different class of people than those who were buying sheet music of the same period." Most of the items in the Goldstein Collection date from the nineteenth century.

Numerous older traditional ballads were printed in broadside form, as were contemporaneous narrative songs that documented natural disasters, battles, political events, tragic accidents, and other aspects of daily life. Because much of the song material printed on broadsides was topical in nature, they provide source materials not only for the examination of the creation and consumption of popular song in the United States, but also for research into a broad spectrum of American culture. They are of interest to scholars in many disciplines including folklore, musicology, social and cultural history, popular culture, and sociology.

The Goldstein Collection was put together over a period of eight to ten years through some very active, aggressive collecting on the part of the late Kenneth Goldstein, one of the country's leading folklorists. Goldstein headed the program in folklore at the University of Pennsylvania for many years, and recognized the importance of broadsides in his own study of American and Canadian folk song.

In carrying out the grant-funded project, center staff will scan each item in the Goldstein Collection, enhance existing bibliographic records to add the full text of the song lyrics and provide subject access, convert [End Page 130] existing database records into the proper format for entry into the OCLC WorldCat database, and create a Web site that will permit access to the collection via the Internet.

The project was designed and the grant proposal written by Lucinda Cockrell, the center's archivist, and Mayo Taylor, former coordinator of research collections at the center. This project will serve as the first step in a larger plan to digitize and present materials from the center's extensive holdings through the Internet, making them more accessible to scholars and members of the general public.

For more information, contact Paul Wells or Lucinda Cockrell at 615-898-2449.

The Music Library of the University at Buffalo (UB), State University of New York (Nancy Nuzzo, director), has received a collection of miscellanea from the library of the esteemed English bibliographer and musicologist Alec Hyatt King. The collection, donated by the late musicologist's son, Edmund King, includes programs, offprints, catalogs, and other materials that complement the UB Music Library's special collections on music bibliography, music librarianship, musical instruments, and music printing.

The library also recently acquired the C. F. Peters Collection of Morton Feldman Manuscripts. The collection comprises the transparencies for sixty-nine compositions published by Peters between 1962 and 1969. Most are in Feldman's hand and several are in the hand of John Cage. Morton Feldman was best known for his association with the New York School of experimentalist musicians and was on the faculty of the UB Music Department from 1972 until his death in 1987.

The University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Music Library (Kenneth Calkins, music librarian) received a gift of 33,800 compact discs from Vivendi Universal/Net USA. About 75 percent of the gift is...


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