Archie Green Papers, 1944-2009

Creator: Green, Archie.
Collection number:  20002
View finding aid.
Abstract: Archie Green (1917-2009) was graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1939 and then worked in San Francisco shipyards, served in the United States Navy in World War II, and was active in several labor organizations. He earned an M.L.S. degree from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania. Green joined the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1960, where he was librarian and later served also 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 produced sound recordings, conducted fieldwork, and wrote extensively. He was active in the John Edwards Memorial Foundation and in the movement to establish the Center for American Folklife (1976). Green retired from the University of Texas at Austin in the early 1980s to San Francisco, Calif., where he continued to work collaboratively with many individuals and institutions dedicated to the study of folklore and the preservation of folklife. Archie Green died in March 2009. The collection includes correspondence, subject files, research materials, writings, photographs, and other materials pertaining chiefly to Green’s professional activities, circa 1955-2008. Materials reflect Green’s interests in the study of folklore; occupational folklore, with special emphasis on songs relating to textile workers, railroad workers, coal miners, and cowboys; labor history, especially the 1919 riot in Centralia, Wash.; early country (hillbilly) music; sound recording archives; folk musicians; and production and collection of sound recordings. There are also materials relating to Green’s research and teaching activities and participation in professional associations, music and folklore festivals, and the faculty labor union at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The additions to the papers of Archie Green build on and expand the topical content of the original deposit. Beyond the subjects already described, notable topics represented in these additions include Green’s lobbying efforts on behalf of the Citizens’ Committee for an American Folklife Foundation (CCAFF) to establish the American Folklife Center; songs relating to oil field, longshore, and cannery workers, and to the Homestead Strike; songs and history of wobblies and the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.); the 1913 Wheatland, Calif., riot; folk art, labor art, and artists, and artists; unions and working culture of shipwrights, pile drivers, millwrights and carpenters, loggers, and maritime, steel, sheetmetal, and timber workers; labor landmarks throughout the United States, but especially in the San Francisco Bay area; the history of federal government support for folk life; the role of public sector/applied folklore in the preservation of folklore and cultural conservation; the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Project; and graphic art representations of folklore and labor themes, including depictions of folk hero John Henry. In these projects, he worked with many folklorists, musicologists, and others. Green collected a wide variety of materials on folk and labor themes, including art and music; newsletters; pamphlets, bibliographies; work songs; work tales; and posters, clippings, and other ephemera. His papers also include the extensive collections of labor lyrics and musical scores and pamphlets on socialism and labor topics from John Neuhaus. Other materials in the additions document Green’s teaching career at the University of Texas; his participation in organizations dedicated to the study of labor history and culture, such as the Fund for Labor Culture & History and the San Francisco State University Labor Archives and Research Center; collaboration with John Neuhaus on the “Big Red Songbook” and Peter Tamony on etymology of labor slang terms; and a long relationship with the University of North Carolina, where he gave lectures, organized conferences, and led fundraising for the John Edwards Memorial Foundation Fund and an occupational folklore fellowship. There is some documentation of Green’s personal finances, especially his budget for books, records, and journals, and some biographical materials. Audio and video recordings from the original deposit and the additions are filed together in Series 10. Some of the individuals, organizations, and events represented in this collection appear as access points in the online catalog terms section of this finding aid but researchers are advised to keyword search throughout the finding aid for additional name, place and subject terms.

Repository: Southern Folklife Collection

Collection Highlights: Folders 421-424 in Series 3 (Subject Files) are entitled “African American Music and Culture”.

Folders 4444-4515 are entitled “Labor Landmarks: African American Landmarks”.

In Suberies 10.1 (Audio materials), Audiocassette FS-11486is entitled “Tape 373: African American Congregational Singing: Nineteenth-Century Roots, 1994 (Smithsonian Folkways release)”

Subseries 10.2 (Video Materials) contains a DVD entitled Plenty of good women dancers: African-American women hoofers from Philadelphia (Digital Video Disc DVD-20002/2)

The additions of 2006, 2009, and 2010 also contain many interrelated subject files with the original materials, including materials on Hudie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter (Folder 2258; 4947-53)