By Ronald D. Cohen
Alan Lomax (1915-2002) started operating for the Archive of yank folks music on the Library of Congress in 1936, first as a different and transitority assistant, then because the everlasting Assistant responsible, beginning in June 1937, until eventually he left in past due 1942. He recorded such vital musicians as Woody Guthrie, Muddy Waters, Aunt Molly Jackson, and Jelly Roll Morton. A studying and exam of his letters from 1935 to 1945 demonstrate an individual who led an exceptionally advanced, interesting, and inventive lifestyles, in general as a public employee.While Lomax is famous for his box recordings, those accrued letters, many signed "Alan Lomax, Assistant in Charge," are a trove of data beforehand to be had basically on the Library of Congress. They make it transparent that Lomax was once very drawn to the industrial hillbilly, race, or even renowned recordings of the Twenties and after. those letters function a fashion of figuring out Lomax's private and non-private existence in the course of a few of his most efficient and critical years. Lomax was once some of the most stimulating and influential cultural employees of the 20th century. the following he speaks for himself via his voluminous correspondence.
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Extra info for Alan Lomax, Assistant in Charge: The Library of Congress Letters, 1935-1945 (American Made Music)
I might add that the records I have so far made are the best from the point of view of quality and low surface noise I have ever made, that is, considering the acoustic conditions. 3) [Missing] 4 & 5) The tubes were bought as spares in expectation of a breakdown far from any radio shop or from a shop where the necessary tubes could be bought. I have wasted days at a time in the ﬁeld waiting for tubes to be sent to me. 6 & 7) [Missing] 8) The old pickup or reproducing-head was always the worst feature of the Thompson recorder because it simply would not track on aluminum records.
The biggest item there will be transportation. I suppose this letter will not reach you before Christmas. Therefore a happy New Year to you. Give my best regards to Messers. Spivacke and [Edward] Waters [also at the Music Division]. S. Would you be kind enough to ask Miss Rogers [a secretary in the oﬃce] to send me some mailing labels. I would suggest, in case either you or Dr. Putman write, that you send the letter airmail. [ALC] On the same day, December 21, he also wrote to his father: I can’t recall whether I have written you before or not since I have been here, but I know that I got the ﬁrst letters I have received since leaving New York Letters, 1936 19 today.
Certainly you seem very far away, you and Revoli and Ciceron and Dodo and Saul and Madame Degras and Cecile, but now that all the worry and press and illness that followed me though the last three months of my stay there have passed, you seem very close and delightful. Cecile and new dresses and her dancing and her [ ], Ciceron and his spare intensity and honesty, Revoli and his cosmopolitan resourcefulness and charm, Madame Degras and her transformations from simple old lady to queen, and you with your Western whole-hog hospitality and camaraderie.
Alan Lomax, Assistant in Charge: The Library of Congress Letters, 1935-1945 (American Made Music) by Ronald D. Cohen