A Spiral Way: How the Phonograph Changed Ethnography

By Erika Brady | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

I intended this book to be in part about gaps and silences -- gaps in the picture we have created of participants in early ethnography, and the ironic silence surrounding the early use of the talking machine in that work. Through the Federal Cylinder Project, I took part in the later years of that story; it would have been neither possible nor appropriate to leave myself out of the account. Now that the account is written, I want to fill in a few more gaps and silences, acknowledging some of the many others involved in the tale.

Alan Jabbour and Robert Carneal hired me as a folklorist/recording technician at the Library of Congress in 1973. Each in his way took a chance on me, and each has since provided generous support and counsel. John Howell and Michael Donaldson were always on hand to bail me out of my technical scrapes. Their fellowship made the job a pleasure.

Joseph Hickerson and the late Gerald Parsons in the Archive of Folk Culture shared the documentary resources of the Library collections and added many insights into the personalities and occasional idiosyncrasies of the early collectors. Sam Brylawski, of the Recorded Sound Section, one of my oldest friends and co-workers at the Library, came through handsomely with assistance on this work. Gerald Gibson's research uncovered many technical and historical aspects of cylinder recording.

I owe a warm debt of gratitude to the employees of the American Folklife Center, and in particular to my fellow staff members on the Federal Cylinder Project for their expertise and their continued friendship, especially Thomas Vennum Jr., Ed Schupman, Judith Gray, and Dorothy Sara Lee.

A number of folklorists commented on various stages of the research and offered encouragement along the way, including Ruth M. Stone, Hasan El-Shamy, W. Edson Richmond, Mary Ellen Brown,

-xi-

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A Spiral Way: How the Phonograph Changed Ethnography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction "Fugitive Sound Waves," Fugitive Voices 1
  • 1: The Talking Machine - A Marvelous Inevitability 11
  • 2 - Early Patterns of Response to the Phonograph 27
  • 3 - "Save, Save the Lore!" 52
  • 4 - The Box That Got the Flourishes 89
  • 5 - Bringing the Voices Home 118
  • References 135
  • Index 149
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