Frank and Anne Warner papers, 1899-2000 and undated bulk 1933-1985
Using These Materials
- Collection is open for research. Original negatives are closed to use. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. All or portions of this...
- Warner, Frank
- 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.
12 Linear Feet
- Material in English
- Collection ID:
- Scope and Content:
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.
- Biographical / Historical:
Chronology Date Event 1903 Frank Warner born, Selma, Ala. 1917 Warner family moved to Durham, N.C., as Frank Warner's father, George Frank Warner, became General Secretary of Durham YMCA. 1921-1925 Frank Warner attended Duke University. At Duke Warner works with professor and folk song collector Frank C. Brown. 1931 Frank Warner moved to New York City to direct programs for the Grand Central YMCA 1933 Met Sue Thomas in Nag's Head, N.C.: the two traded songs informally, a precursor to the Warners' later song collecting 1935 Frank Warner and Anne Locher married 1938 Song collecting trip to Boone, N.C. and to Beech Mountain, N.C.; here the Warners met the Hicks family and Frank Proffitt, who taught them the song, "Tom Dooley" 1939 The Warners met "Yankee" John Galusha in Minerva, N.Y., and Rebecca King Jones, Crab Tree Creek, N.C. 1940 The Warners acquired a Wilcox Gay Recordio (a pre-tape recording device), which they used when they returned to Beech Mountain, N.C., to record songs at a "porch gathering" at Rena and Nathan Hicks's house. In July, the Warners met Lena Bourne Fish in Jaffrey, N.H. Other acquaintances the Warners made this year include: John and Alwilda Culpeper, Outer Banks, N.C.; C.K. ("Tink") Tillett and his family, Wanchese, N.C.; Steve Meekins, Kitty Hawk, N.C.; and Joseph Henry ("Uncle Joe") Johnson, Suffolk, Va. 1941, Summer The Warners traveled to see Frank Proffitt and family. Also met Curt Mann at Mann's Harbor, N.C. Struck up a friendship with Alan Lomax, head of Folk Archives in the Library of Congress. 1945 Death of Nathan Hicks. 1946 Joint meeting of the New York State Historical Association and the New York Folklore Society: Frank Warner presented ballads along with Alan Lomax and Huddie Ledbetter ( Leadbelly). Frank Warner's first album, Hudson Valley Songs, also issued this year on the Disc label. Pete Seeger played banjo on the album. The Warners visited "Yankee" John Galusha again in Minerva, N.Y. 1948 Dr. Louis C. Jones, Director of the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown, N.Y., established the "Seminars on American Culture": Frank Warner appointed as faculty and performed songs at the seminars 1949 Death of Leadbelly. Warners met "Colonel" Tom P. Smith in Greenwich Village, New York City 1950 The Warners again visited "Yankee" John Galusha in Minerva, N.Y.; later, Galusha died at 91. Carl Sandburg made the first of many visits with the Warners 1951 Warners met Captain Billy Payne in Nebraska, N.C. The Warners again visited the Hickses on Beech Mountain, N.C. 1952 Frank Warner Sings Folk Songs and Ballads, issued on Elektra Records 1954 Frank Warner's album, Songs of America's Wars, issued on Elektra Records 1956 The Warners began an association with the Pinewoods Camp, near Cape Cod, devoted to traditional American folk music. Also, Sam Fuller directed the Radio Keith Orpheum (RKO) Radio Pictures film, Run of the Arrow; Frank Warner had a small part in the movie 1958 Frank Warner's album, America's Singing Heritage, issued on Elektra 1961 Frank Proffitt joined the Warners at the Pinewoods Camp and again the following year. Proffitt and Frank Warner performed at the first University of Chicago Folk Festival 1963 Frank Proffitt performed at the Newport Folk Festival. Warners again visited the Proffitts at their home in Pick Britches Valley, N.C. 1965 The Warners visited the Proffitts at their home in Pick Britches Valley, N.C. Later this year, Frank Proffitt died in his sleep 1978 Feb. 27 Death of Frank Warner 1984 Publication of Anne Warner's book, Traditional American Folk Songs 1991 Apr. 26 Death of Anne Warner
- Acquisition Information:
- The Frank and Anne Warner Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift from 1985-2000.
- Processing information:
Processed by Karen Glynn and Schuy Weishaar, March 2004
Encoded by Chris Black and Paula Jeannet
Completed June 2004
Updated to include accession 2018-0056 by Alice Poffinberger, June 2018
Accessions November 22 1985, November 22 1985, June 10 1985, 90-046, 2000-0168, and 2018-0056 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.
- Physical Location:
- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
African Americans -- United States -- Music
Folk music -- Southern States
Folk music -- United States
Newport Folk Foundation
New York State Historical Association
Library of Congress
American Folklore Society
Country Dance and Song Society of America
Seeger, Pete, 1919-
Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967
Lomax, Alan, 1915-2002
Kennedy, Peter, 1922-2006
Hicks, Ray, 1922-
Fish, Lena Bourne
Hand, Wayland Debs, 1907-
Benet, William Rose, 1886-1950
Carmer, Carl Lamson, 1893-1976
New England -- Music
North Carolina -- History
North Carolina -- Music
Appalachia -- Music
Southern States -- Music
Using These Materials
Collection is open for research.
Original negatives are closed to use.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. There may be a 48-hour delay in obtaining these materials.
Some of the materials in this collection are not immediately accessible, because they require further processing before use.
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- PREFERRED CITATION:
[Identification of item], Frank and Anne Warner Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University