On Bibliographies

 

Bibliographers, librarians and bibliophiles dote on them -- so much so that booksellers' catalogues announcing the sale of a collector or scholar's library command high prices when they turn up. It is not that any one collector will have gathered everything published in a given field, but rather that his or her list of holdings will provide leads to all that is or was available in a particular field at a given time.

 

Which partially explains the holding lists of Lew Becker, Norm Cohen and Murray Shoolbraid assembled here, and the addenda provided by Lani Herrmann, a formidable bibliographer and folk song scholar, and by the undersigned. The effort is to amass in one place something approaching a comprehensive Anglo-American folk song and ballad bibliography, one that includes books and articles dealing with other aspects of folklore, folk speech and folkways of the English-speaking world.

 

The basic lists were provided by:

 

Lew Becker, a bibliophile and collector who began purchasing folk music volumes in the 1970s. Now on the faculty of the School of Law at Villanova, he still meets with other Philadelphia-area folk music enthusiasts to swap songs. His book collection, conditioned by his bibliophilic instincts, has grown beyond folk music.

 

Norman Cohen, a retired physicist, is the author/editior of a number of books on folk song and related subjects, including _Long Steel Rail_ and most recently _A Finding List of American Secular Songsters._ A former resident of Venice, California, he now lives in Vancouver, Washington.

 

Murray Shoolbraid, born in Fife, Scotland, has at various times, worked as a librarian, as a university professor (Slavonic studies), and operated a children's book store in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1980 he moved to Salt Spring Island, then an artists' colony, off of Vancouver Island where he edits the journal of the B.C. Folk Music Society, composes classical music, and edits various collections of Scots folk song.

 

The Becker list is of a general collection of folk song and related materials from the English-speaking world.

 

The Cohen list is centered on folk and popular musics of Anglo-America and Black traditions in the Americas.

 

Schoolbraid's list leans heavily toward the the Scots tradition(s) he is researching.

 

The Herrmann-Cray addenda are general in nature.

 

Ed Cray

October, 2003

 

Ballad Bibliographies Home