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date: 23 August 2019

Gordon, Robert Winslow locked

  • Stephen D. Winick

Extract

(b Bangor, ME, Sept 2, 1888; d Washington, DC, March 26, 1961). American folklorist and folksong collector. He was a pioneer in making audio recordings of folksongs on wax cylinders. He studied English at Harvard under the ballad scholar George Lyman Kittredge. He was hired by the University of California, Berkeley in 1918. While in California, he spent time on the San Francisco and Oakland docks learning sea shanties, eventually documenting over a thousand of them, at least 300 of which he recorded on cylinders. In 1923, he began writing the column “Old Songs That Men Have Sung” in the pulp magazine Adventure. In the column, he printed verses of folksongs and solicited new songs and new verses from readers. In this way, he amassed a large collection of songs and a wide network of correspondents. This did not help him in his academic career, however, and he lost his position at Berkeley in ...

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