Happy Birthday to Archie Green

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Archie Green, Dorsey Dixon, and an unidentified MulE, East Rockingham, North Carolina, 1962, John Edwards Memorial Foundation Records (20001)

It’s Archie Green‘s birthday today, he would have been 100 years old. The photo above was taken while Green was recording Dixon’s Babies in the Mill (Testament, 1963) album.

Archie played many roles throughout his career–folklorist, archivist, field worker, professor, and public sector advocate. His constant drive to document, archive, and curate is illustrated by his remarkable collection of work, the Archie Green Papers (20002), now housed at the Southern Folklife Collection. Archie was instrumental in the creation of the SFC as well as his advocacy and vision helped orchestrate the transfer of the John Edwards Memorial Foundation collections from UCLA to UNC Chapel Hill in 1983.

Green mentored and inspired countless ethnographers and activists. Archie was constantly engaged with the field, often interviewing fellow folklorists about their work. One interview that feels especially relevant today is one with eminent folklorist Dr. Roger D. Abrahams, who just recently passed away on June 21, 2017, SFC Audio Cassette FS-20002/11163. The interview, conducted in Austin, Texas sometime in the 1970s, while Abrahams is chair of the department and Archie is a professor, includes lots of interesting content about the Austin Cosmic Cowboy scene as well as African American folklore studied. You can hear the entire interview streaming in the SFC’s digital collections

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20002/11163

Tape 8: Archie Green and Roger Abrahams, Austin, Tex. (part 1

Audiocassette

Archie (Aaron) Green grew up in southern California, began college at UCLA, and then transferred to the University of California at Berkeley from which he was graduated in 1939. After working in the shipyards in San Francisco, serving in the Navy in World War II, and becoming active in several labor organizations, Green returned to academia. He received his M.L.S. from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Archie Green and Dock Walsh

John Edwards Memorial Foundation Records (20001)

Green joined the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1960 and served there as librarian and later jointly as an instructor in the English Department until 1972. In 1973, Green took on a creative role at the Labor Studies Center in Washington, D.C., in part assisting with the Smithsonian Institution’s Festival of American Folklife and labor participation in the Bicentennial celebrations. At the same time, he was producing albums, conducting fieldwork, teaching, lecturing, and writing articles. He was active in the John Edwards Memorial Foundation (now Forum) from its inception and lobbied Congress to pass the American Folklife Foundation Act, which it did in 1976, establishing the Center for American Folklife.

Green retired as professor emeritus from the University of Texas at Austin in the early 1980s to his home in San Francisco, Calif., where he continued to work collaboratively on research and other projects with many individuals and institutions dedicated to the study of folklore and the preservation of folklife. He received an honorary degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1991. Archie Green died in March 2009.

Happy Birthday, Archie.

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Archie Green and Eugene Earle

John Edwards Memorial Foundation Records (20001)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Slim the Lone Cowboy says “Eat your Coco Wheats”

Big Slim the Lone Cowboy with horse: Portrait: Publicity photograph for Coco Wheats, undated, PF20001_208_John Edwards Memorial Foundation Records (20001) Southern Folklife Collection, UNC Chapel Hill

In consideration of the #librariesofinstagram‘s themed #westernwednesdays, the Southern Folklife Collection pulled some of our favorite cowboy images from the John Edwards Memorial Foundation Records (20001), including this picture postcard featuring Big Slim the Lone Cowboy, aka Harry C. McCauliffe, call number PF20001_208. Likely born near Bluefield, WV around 1899, McCauliffe had a career as a cowboy and railroad man before appearing on the radio in Pittsburgh in 1929. He recorded for Decca as “Big Slim Aliff,” notably making the first recording of country standard “Footprints in the Snow.”

In 1937, McCauliffe joined WWVA and remained there for most of the remainder of his career. Along with the fine portrait of McCauliffe, the postcard is also an endorsement for Coco Wheats, a the first flavored-hot cereal introduced by Indiana company Little Crow Foods in 1930. So thanks to everybody for your continued support of Big Slim and Coco Wheats.

Stay tuned for more Western Wednesday posts throughout this month and be sure to follow UNC Library on Instagram to experience materials across our collections.

Big Slim the Lone Cowboy with horse: Portrait: Publicity photograph for Coco Wheats, undated, PF20001_208_John Edwards Memorial Foundation Records (20001) Southern Folklife Collection, UNC Chapel Hill

Merle Haggard, April 6, 1937-2016

Merle Haggard at Memorial Hall for SFC25. Photo by Mark Perry Photography.

Merle Haggard at Memorial Hall for SFC25. Photo by Mark Perry Photography.

The world lost another giant today when Merle Haggard left this earth for honky-tonk heaven. The Southern Folklife Collection was privileged to welcome Mr. Haggard at our 25th anniversary celebration in 2014. Seeing him perform at UNC’s Memorial Hall is an experience that will not be forgotten. It was a spectacular performance and I was practically giddy when Haggard picked up the fiddle.

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At the SFC, we would like nothing better to spend the foreseeable future exploring the collections for Merle Haggard content to geek out on and reminisce about the first time we heard one song or another, but, and I think Merle would agree, we have other work to do; other fiddle players to celebrate and mountains of music to share with the world. I discovered countless artists through Haggard, not the least of which was Bob Wills. Even though I come from Texas, it was Merle who introduced me to the “best damn fiddle player in the world.” But for today, I’ve got “Rainbow Stew” on the deck and I pulled out these pictures I have looked at many times from the John Edwards Memorial Foundation Records (20001) documenting the recording sessions for Bob Wills’s final album, For the Last Time. Sessions, produced by the legendary guitarist Tommy Allsup (another former Cricket like Bobby Durham), took place just outside of Dallas on December 3 and 4, 1973.

Haggard drove all night from Chicago to participate on the final day after begging permission from Wills to attend. Sadly, Wills was unable to complete the session after suffering a severe stroke on the night of December 3 and slipping into a coma the following day never to retain consciousness. Haggard and the band, the first reunion of the Texas Playboys since Wills disbanded the group in the 1960s, pressed on with noted successor of the Bob Wills sound Hoyle Nix stepping up into the boots of his hero to lead the group.

We are not positive, but we believe the photos above include Haggard, fiddlers Keith Coleman and Johnny Gimble, steel guitarist Leon McCauliffe, and the back of guitarist Eldon Shamblin’s head.

Rest easy, Merle. Hope the music is as good in the next place as you made it here.

Little Jimmy Dickens, 1920-2015

Little Jimmy Dickens, portrait, 20001_pf0566_0001, John Edwards Memorial Foundation Records (20001), Southern Folklife Collection, The Wilson Library, UNC Chapel HillLittle Jimmy Dickens in one of his trademark suits, image from the John Edwards Memorial Foundation Records (20001), one of many images of country, folk, and traditional musicians now available for research online. He started as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1948 and became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry. Dickens passed away in Nashville on January 2, 2015.

Nice boots, Tater, nice boots.