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Alan Lomax Collection


Throughout the world, folksong collectors tend to dig up old bones from one graveyard and put them into another graveyard--their filing cabinets. But Alan Lomax and his father John wanted the American people to once again sing the wonderful old songs of this country which they never heard on the radio. So you who read this should know where you can get them--the American Folklife Center--and they'll live again. --Pete Seeger

The Alan Lomax Collection has finally come home to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. This sonic treasure chest represents the vivid stories, history, hopes and dreams of many cultures. Through these recordings generations will come to know what has passed before them. The Lomax Collection is a jewel in the crown. --Mickey Hart

Alan was one of those who unlocked the secrets of this kind of music. So if we've got anybody to thank, it's Alan. Thanks, Alan. --Bob Dylan

Alan was the impresario of American folk music--he was far more than a musicologist. He was inventing all sorts of ideas that sounded crazy but they were not--he saw the connections between cultures and their ballads, he had a great interest in how society behaves. His work in helping us discover blues, spirituals, and work songs were like no other musicologist I know--he is the one who came closet to capturing song--to finding the nature of folksong and folklore, to locating those common bonds of humanity. Lomax was to folk music as Diaghelev was to ballet. --Studs Terkel

It has been through these collections of music and narratives that the history of some strong, powerful (everyday) people was brought to me...Not in school, but through his collecting, did I find the strength I have inherited.

Alan Lomax's life's work will always represent the true voices of people, in particular, those who are off the map of popular media or under the radar of those often supposedly representing them. Alan reminded us, and his legacy continues to reason, that our finest national treasures are in the arts - arts of the people, by the people and for the people. A true friend to my father, he saw with his heart, and heard with his heart. He did everything he could do to inspire other's to see and hear in new ways. He heard BIG, and lived BIG, and it certainly would follow that it would take a BIG Library to house him! --Nora Guthrie

How else can we, and our children's children, go back and learn where we came from and hear of the struggles of our forefathers, but for the work and endless labors of Alan Lomax? The little man's voice was heard because of Alan's efforts. --Josh White, Jr.

Alan Lomax is a completely central figure in twentieth-century culture. Almost any line you could draw through the whole field of popular musical culture would have him somewhere on it--probably in several places. -- Brian Eno

To rescue a nation's folk cultural heritage from impending oblivion is no mean feat, and America will be eternally grateful to Alan Lomax for just that. --Stetson Kennedy

In bringing my father's work back home to the place that it began, the Library of Congress and the American Folklife Center, have embraced my father's collection in the grandest of ways, and have recognized his vision
of preserving, understanding, and honoring the soul and spirit of the world's cultures. With its world-wide recognition as a cultural institution, the Library will serve as a marvelous platform for Alan's intellectual legacy and his legendary collection. --Anna Lomax Wood

I'm thrilled that the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress has just acquired the Alan Lomax Collection. The music that Alan Lomax chronicled and documented is invaluable and deserves to be given the respect for which the American Folklife Center is legendary. --Moby


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   June 23, 2011
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