Anne and Frank Warner were folklorists and folk song musicians. The Anne and Frank Warner Collection, with materials from as early as 1899 to as late as 2000, documents the Warners' active life of collecting, recording, and producing music and publications associated with traditional American folk song culture, primarily from along the eastern seaboard areas, in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, and as far as New Hampshire to the north.
The Anne and Frank Warner Collection, with materials dating from 1899 to 2000, is a record of the Warners' active life of collecting, recording, and producing music and publications associated with traditional American folk song culture and African-American music traditions, primarily from along the eastern seaboard areas, in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, and as far as New Hampshire to the north. The bulk of the materials date from the 1930s through the 1980s, and are organized into six series: Correspondence; Subject Files; Folk Materials; Writings; Audiovisual Materials; and Prints and Negatives. Through handwritten correspondence with a wide variety of folk singers and musicians, subject files, printed materials, film, video, photographs, and the Warners' own studio albums of folk songs, these materials document early methods for recording and collecting songs - the 20th century development of American ethnomusicology. Moreover, as an invaluable resource for studies in traditional American folk life, the collection also includes field audio recordings and photographs of folk singers, songwriters, and musicians in their element, at home with their families, singing and playing their instruments. Notable individuals referred to in the Warner Collection include: William Rose Benet, Carl Carmer, Bill Doerflinger, Lena Bourne Fish, ("Yankee") John Galusha, David Grimes (of the Philco Corporation), Wayland Hand, Rena and Nathan Hicks, Buna Vista and Roby Monroe Hicks, Ray Hicks, Peter and Beryl Kennedy, Alan Lomax, Bessie and Frank Proffitt, Carolyn Rabson, Carl Sandburg, Pete Seeger, Charles K. ("Tink") Tillett and family, and Charles L. Todd. The Warners were actively involved with a number of organizations, among them: the American Folklore Society, the Country Dance and Song Society of America, Duke University, the Library of Congress, the Newport Folk Foundation, the New York State Historical Association, and the YMCA. The Warners published a number of essays concerning traditional American folk culture and music in Think Weekly, the Appalachian Journal, Country Dance and Song, the Long Island Forum, A Celebration of American Family Folklore, and Come for to Sing. In addition to these, Ann Warner's book, Traditional American Folk Songs in the Frank and Anne Warner Collection, 1984, remains the authoritative compendium of the Warners' research in and collection of traditional American folk music.
The Warners' personal and professional relationships with various people and organizations can be traced through materials in the Correspondence Series, 1934-1985. Significant exchanges with the American Folklore Society, the Library of Congress, with William Rose Benet, Carl Carmer, Wayland Hand, Alan Lomax, Carl Sandburg, and Pete Seeger are extensively documented in the files. More correspondence can be found elsewhere in the collection - organized topically in the Subject Series, and according to correspondents' names in the Folk Materials Series.
The Subject Files Series, 1899-1984, houses documentary materials that give a wider context to the Warners' life and work. This series includes information about the Warners' genealogies, Frank Warner's work with youth and his career in the YMCA, material germane to the lawsuit that developed over the song "Tom Dooley," information on and clips about various performances and recordings, and other materials.
The Folk Materials Series, 1938-1982, contains correspondence between the Warners and many of the traditional American folk singers and musicians that they visited; for some of the individuals there is more information than correspondence alone. This series is organized by state, city or region, and then individual or family, for example: North Carolina, Appalachia, Rena and Nathan Hicks. The states represented are: North Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Warners' correspondence with both Rena and Nathan Hicks and Bessie and Frank Proffitt comprise the most extensive files. The series materials provide essential documentation for understanding the communities and the world views of the musicians.
The Writings Series, 1938-1985, contains a variety of materials, including documents that the Warners published in journals dedicated to folk life; grant applications; materials germane to the production and publication of Anne Warner's book, Traditional American Folk Songs; words to recorded and unrecorded folk songs in the collection, including some songs by Frank Warner; and Anne Warner's hand-written field research journals and notebooks.
An extensive collection of songs, interviews, and other recordings on audio tape reels, cassette tapes, phonograph albums, and compact discs are housed in the Audiovisual Materials Series, 1940-2000. Several motion picture films and video tape recordings also document the Warners' work and performances. Many of the items in the Audiovisual Materials Series are documented in written form in the Writings Series, including the sound recordings of folk songs and interviews collected in the Library of Congress master tapes, and which are not included in Anne Warner's book, Traditional American Folk Songs.
The Prints and Negatives Series, 1933-1969, extends the Warner collection's scope to include photographic images as well. There are 239 black and white prints, which are arranged alpha-numerically into lots from Lot 1 through Lot 9E. Within the lots, the prints are identified by number. In the pictures, the Warners have captured images of many traditional American folk musicians and singers. The Warners themselves appear frequently throughout the collection. The photographic documentation of the Warners' travels contains pictures of folk singers and their homes and families, including: Nathan, Roby Monroe, Buna Vista, Ray and Linzy Hicks; Lena Bourne Fish; Bessie and Frank Proffitt; the Tillett family; Louis Solomon; and Carl Sandburg.