From the Archives

By Simpson, Ethel C. | The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Autumn 2006 | Go to article overview

From the Archives


Simpson, Ethel C., The Arkansas Historical Quarterly


The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection at Lyon College

OZARK. MUSIC AND FOLKLORE have been collected for preservation and study for more than sixty years. The University of Arkansas folklore collection was described in "From the Archives" in the Spring 2006 number of the Quarterly. The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection in the Regional Studies Center at Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas, is another incredibly rich folk-music resource and comprises a wider range of popular music. A website displays information about Wolf and his collection and provides access to the sound recordings in the collection. Its URL is http:/ /lyon.edu/wolfcollection.

John Quincy Wolf, Jr. (1901-1972) was born in Batesville. An alumnus of Arkansas (now Lyon) College, he taught there briefly before joining the faculty of Southwestern College (now Rhodes College) in Memphis, teaching English literature and eventually serving as chairman of the English department. Wolf began collecting Ozark folk songs in 1941 and became one of the foremost experts on Ozark and other Arkansas music. He befriended and advised some of the performers he recorded, sometimes mediating between them and promoters. He was frequently consulted by collectors, scholars, and promoters throughout the country. Ozark and Arkansas music gained a much wider audience because of his influence with both performers and collectors.

The folk song recordings comprise the largest portion of the Wolf Collection. Using reel-to-reel tape recorders, Wolf collected performances of more than two hundred musicians, including Jimmy Driftwood and his father, Neal Morris, Apsie Morrison, and Ollie Gilbert. He is credited with the discovery of Almeda Riddle of Clebume County, considered by collector Alan Lomax "one of the most important ballad singers of our time," and recorded more than one hundred of her songs. …

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