Lacquer disc of the week: Dorothea Joan Moser, “Swannanoa Tunnel”

FD20005_537_Dorothea Joan Moser_Artus Moser Papers_Southern Folklife Collection

Excited to walk into the John M. Rivers recording studio at the Southern Folklife Collection this afternoon and observe the transfer of lacquer disc, FD-20005/537 from the Artus Moser Papers (20005). Possibly recorded to provide supplementary materials for folklorist Dorothea Joan Moser’s Fulbright scholarship application, we were excited to hear Moser perform an acapella version of “Swannanoa Tunnel,” a tune we were only familiar with as performed by Bascom Lamar Lunsford. Moser’s version may be closer to that sung by African American convicts that were conscripted to perform the dangerous work of digging the tunnel. By the tunnel’s completion in 1879, 125 men had lost their lives to cave-ins, mudslides, and mistreatment.

20025_FD537_Dorothea Joan Moser_Artus Moser Papers_Swannanoa Tunnel_