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Folk Songs of Middle Tennessee: The George Boswell Collection, Charles K. Wolfe, ed.

1 Folk Songs of Middle Tennessee: The George Boswell Collection
Charles K. Wolfe, ed.
1997 208 pp, paperback / softcover, University of Tennessee Press
This volume brings together, for the first time, more than one hundred traditional songs from Middle Tennessee-a region that is synonomous in the popular mind with music but one that has been curiously neglected in folksong scholarship. The songs presented here were originally collected in the late 1940s and early 1950s by George Boswell, a distinguished scholar and field researcher who died in 1995.
While living in Nashville, Boswell scoured the city and surrounding counties for old ballads and folk songs. Sometimes using a wire or tape recorder, at other times employing a stenographer, he visited numerous singers and transcribed the words and tunes to hundreds of songs. Even after moving from Tennessee to assume a teaching position at the University of Mississippi, Boswell continued to work on his collection, annotating and comparing texts, and publishing occasional samples. In 1950, he noted that Tennessee, virtually alone among southern states, had no published collection of its folk songs. That has remained the case until now.
The songs chosen for this book are presented with musical notation and extensive backgound notes, including biographical data on the original informants (many of whom were business and professional people) and fascinating histories of each song. A number of the songs are rare and previously uncollected; others are local variants of long-popular ballads. The publication of this volume-the first major collection of southern folk songs in many years-is not only a testament to Boswell's scholarship but a marvelous contribution to our understanding of southern folk cultures and the ways in which it has interacted with popular culture.

About Author
Charles K. Wolfe, professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University, has published widely on folklore and country music and is currently the editor of the Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin. His books include Tennessee Strings and The Life and Legend of Leadbelly (with Kip Lornell).

"Folk Songs from Middle Tennessee . . . is superior to most collections because Boswell cast a wide net in his collecting, recording many items from people not usually thought of as folksingers, and because, unlike most collectors of his day, he was equally skilled at music and lyric transcription." —W. K. McNeil, The Ozark Folk Center
Price: 18.00 USD

Killing Time: Leisure and Culture in Southwestern Pennsylvania, 1800–1850, Scott C. Martin

2 Killing Time: Leisure and Culture in Southwestern Pennsylvania, 1800–1850
Scott C. Martin
280 pages, hardback, University of Pittsburgh Press
Scott C. Martin examines leisure as a "contested cultural space" in which nineteenth-century Americans articulated and developed ideas about ethnicity, class, gender, and community. This new perspective demonstrates how leisure and sociability mediated the transition from an agricultural to an industrial society. Martin argues persuasively that southwestern Pennsylvanians used leisure activities to create identities and define values in a society being transformed by market expansion.
The transportation revolution brought new commercial entertainments and recreational opportunities but also fragmented and privatized customary patterns of communal leisure. By using leisure as a window on the rapid changes sweeping through the region, Martin shows how southwestern Pennsylvanians used voluntary associations, private parties, and public gatherings to construct social identities better suited to their altered circumstances. The prosperous middle class devised amusements to distinguish them from workers who, in turn, resisted reformers' attempts to constrain their use of free time. Ethnic and racial minorities used holiday observances and traditional celebrations to define their place in American society, while women tested the boundaries of the domestic sphere through participation in church fairs, commercial recreation, and other leisure activities. This study illuminates the cultural history of the region and offers broader insights into perceptions of free time, leisure, and community in antebellum America.

About Author
Scott C. Martin is associate professor of history at Bowling Green State University.

Winner of the 1996 Phi Alpha Theta Best First Book Award

“Martin provides an excellent view of leisure in one small geographic area over a 50-year period, but he draws on larger works to reinforce that this pattern is reflective of the larger pattern of leisure development in the United States at that time. The book is easy to read and impressive in its scholarship. It will appeal to sport and cultural historians alike.”—Journal of Sports History

"Martin has added greatly to our knowledge of leisure activities for Pennsylvania in particular and the United States in general, and he has left much for us to ponder as we think through the meaning of leisure in society." —Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

"The author presents a fine analysis of leisure activities in this regional history of Pittsburgh [but] this work . . . is more than a local history. It deserves a wide audience of scholars and students seeking to understand the importance of leisure activities and the legacies of class, gender, and community."—Choice
Price: 29.95 USD


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